Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Black Swan
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 2nd 2009 1:10AM
(S07E07) "Look, it may have been an accident, but you're a murderer." - Marty
Blame is a funny thing. In the absence of facts, the owner of the blame (i.e. the person at fault), is about one thing and one thing only -- public perception. Spin a good yarn and you can make 'em believe whatever you want. However, when you're Larry David, getting past the hurdle of your own reputation can be an issue. If you listen to even half the stuff that Larry says, why would anyone want to believe a guy like him?
That fact alone right there is why "The Black Swan" worked so well. It may not have been the best episode of the season, but it was as true to what Curb Your Enthusiasm is all about as we've seen all season. Curb has always been at its best when the box that Larry puts around himself comes back to affect him negatively, and we saw plenty of it here.
Larry claims introducing everyone he knows is a meaningless and dated social courtesy? Fine, then be prepared to say plenty of inappropriate things in front of people you aren't introduced to, like the stonemason. It works even more satisfyingly when Larry's foolish pet peeves aren't being used against him, but he thinks they are, like when the waiter appeared to be shaking Larry down for a big tip, but actually had no idea about the swan killing.
And, speaking of the swan, who's to say it isn't what killed Norm? Larry's theory about the swan perhaps being the reason for Norm's heart attack could actually be true. Maybe it did run at him and startle him, same as it did to Larry? But, here's where that hurdle comes into play -- Larry's reputation makes him an easy target for the blame, and as long as he keeps the act up, it's probably always going to be that way. Besides, anyone who can somehow be vilified for offering to send his cousin's kid to college but not his cousin's wife to cosmetology school isn't going to get a win soon anyway.
- It was great when Marty referenced the "beloved aunt" fiasco (remember, the "a" was replaced with a "c" in the paper's obit) by telling Larry to have his mother's grave say just "beloved moth."
- How ridiculous were Andy's wife Cassie's hats? I saw that pink cowboy hat and thought, "who'd wear that?" The stonemason, apparently.
- And speaking of Cassie, if she thinks those hats look good, should she really be going to cosmetology school? I wouldn't let her get within ten feet of me with a make-up brush.
- The whole scene at the club after the swan killing was incredibly tense, but funny. They all wanted to get the truth out in the open. Sort of like Very Bad Things. Terrible movie, but same idea. Bunch of friends kill a hooker, bury her, then have to lie about it.
- We finally got the first stare-down contest of the season between Larry and Mr. Takahashi. It was much shorter than we've seen these last in the past, though.
- Always great when Shelley Berman reprises his role as Larry's dad Nat. He was hilarious in that scene at the cemetery. "Past" instead of "Passed" to save $50? No wonder Larry is the way he is.
One final thought -- I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts on this. In the world of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the pseudo-Hollywood that's been created, is Larry the asshole or is everyone else an asshole to him? Take Norm, calling Larry inconsiderate for asking to play through. Norm is clearly being the asshole, yet Larry is made out to be the jerk. I feel like there's a real deep discussion here, like the chicken or the egg or a square is not a rectangle and vice versa. Who's to blame?