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November 24, 2014

Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm - Officer Krupke

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 9th 2009 8:06AM
Larry David(S07E08) "Some guy told me to go 'f*ck my face' once. He went to jail." - Officer Krupke

With the Seinfeld reunion coming up quickly (next week's episode is "The Table Read") things kicked into high gear last night on Curb -- especially when it came to the role of Amanda, George Costanza's ex-wife.

It came down to Cheryl and a busy, very popular actress named Virgina Sloane (played by Elisabeth Shue). Right off the bat, that creates a huge conflict since Larry assured Cheryl that she had the role. But beyond that, there were a lot of issues with how "Officer Krupke" played out in terms of conflict. Curb works best when the laughs are organic and too much of this episode felt forced and manufactured.

Start with Cheryl. It makes perfect sense for there to be tension regarding whether or not she'd actually get (or take) the role of Amanda. The introduction of Virgina and her husband Dennis (John Schneider) brought about the threesome joke, Larry's assertion that you can only get a neck injury from a car accident or cunnilingus, and it led to the unnecessary scene with Jeff wearing a neck brace (the prior scene was a much better ending, but I'll come back to that).

However, did that really give you any doubt about whether or not Cheryl was going to get the role? No, of course not. Since we know the outcome (just like a "how we met" story), why not play off the real tension? Cheryl is reading a script that depicts stories about her past (like the TiVo guy); about why she left Larry in the first place. For that to not dredge up some past memories and bitter feelings between the two of them was a huge misstep and had that fight taken place, Cheryl's role in the reunion would have actually been questionable.

Anyway, back to my earlier point, the scene prior to Jeff in the neck brace was a much better ending. The "Larry wears women's panties" joke ran through the whole episode. It evolved as Larry and Jeff continually tweaked Larry's "story" and the final moment when Larry was forced to remove his pants revealing his pink panties was flawless. Fade to black. Done. Should have ended right there.

A few more thoughts --

  • Jeff's affairs have been pretty prevalent in the plot this season (Bam Bam, talking about it on the golf course, the panties, the neck brace) and hopefully it'll pay off with Susie busting him by season's end. If she doesn't, why all the effort to highlight Jeff's infidelities?
  • I don't buy Larry wearing around pants with a security tag still on them. Going into stores, constantly setting off alarms -- there's no way he would have put up with that. The store clerk's argument about the differences of "lost" vs. "gone" was pretty funny thought.
  • Anyone else notice Ben Affleck leaving the store behind Larry during the fire alarm?
  • I'm surprised Jerry still hasn't caught on as to why Larry wants Cheryl for this role so bad. Jeff figured it out seconds after Larry proposed the idea.

So, as I mentioned, next week is the table read for the reunion and make sure your DVR's are set -- the episode, and the following week's finale, are both set for full hours on HBO's schedule (so they'll probably run 40-ish minutes each). Any predictions? I'm still praying for a Leon/Michael Richards encounter.

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Ted Lasky

The red woman's undies as the final scene? Are you joking? Stick with your daytime blog job. Without that ending, all the talk about 'how you can hurt your neck, the looking at Shue's car, etc., the threesome,' etc. would be meaningless. In other words, without the ending it had, most of the show would not make sense.

The neck brace scene at the end, with Jeff, was one of the funniest wrap-ups I've ever scene in a comedy.

Larry has some incredibly tight endings, where things wrap-up in a neat and humorous package; and this episode was one of the absolute best...unlike tonight's ending which was OK, but nothing like last week.

I married a T.V. comedy writer, my father-in-law was a T.V. comedy writer. I'm not one, but with all that family conversation over the years, I know a little bit, and the neck brace scene was, as they say, "on the nose."

November 15 2009 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
connguy

I still want to know why didn't Shue play herself? Every other real high-level/mid-level actor on the show has always played himself (unless I'm wrong) so Shue definitely could have. What gives? Everyone knows the Karate Kids girlfriend!!

November 13 2009 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to connguy's comment
Scott

Did you happen to notice that JOHN SCHNIEDER was in this episode? An actor much, much more famous than Elizabeth Shue. From all the years on "Dukes of Hazzard", from many musical roles on Broadway, and from at least 4 or 5 seasons on "Smallivlle". And he was playing a character, not himself. It's ironic that you make this argument during the very episode that disproves your theory.

November 22 2009 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CurbFan

The end, with Jeff in the brace, couldn't have been more perfect. Any other show would have left it at the panties scene, Curb goes that little bit further and that's why it's the best show on TV. Plus Larry being right about something so ridiculous about "the only two ways to hurt your neck" thing is much more fun.

Also, I think it would have been a bit odd if they had Cheryl bring up the original Tivo incident, obviously Larry didn't have a problem with it back then and wouldn't now, so why risk pissing him off and not getting the part?

Another great episode by Curb, very pleased to read we're getting two hour long episodes next.

November 12 2009 at 7:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JR

The pants part was what I tend to hate about Larry David plots. He takes things too far. I can suspend disbelief enough to buy that he wore the pants the second day so he could retun it. But why was he wearing them AGAIN at the end, other than the joke at the end? It was a forced gag to make you believe that a man worth a quarter billion dollars would wear the same pair of pants three days in a row.

As far as Jeff's infidelity..it is nothing new this season. Every seaon is filled with Jeff cheating on Susie, or at least trying to.

November 10 2009 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

This has not been the best season, but a great season nonetheless. I've actually found the non-Seinfeld episodes to be my favorites. When Larry wheeled Denise (?) Handicapped into the closet and slammed the door shut, that was one of the greatest moments in the Curb history.

Interesting thing (to me at least) is that some of the sillier things that have been done on Curb this season seem like things that would have been done, and worked better, in the more surreal world in which Seinfeld played out. Like the restaurant guy sending the cops after Larry for taking too many napkins. That gag would have totally worked on Seinfeld with George as the napkin thief.

Curb is my all-time favorite show, but one thing that has always baffled me, especially for a show that sprung from the mind of a comic genius like Larry David, is that a lot of the gags that haven't worked over the years, or felt forced, seem like things that could have been easily remedied with a few little tweaks. When we look at something and say, no way would this person or that person have done that, I always felt like a small tweak would have given the person a completely believable reason for doing it.

Nice insight on the part of the reviewer to notice the missed opportunity for Cheryl and the dredged up past.

November 09 2009 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkny

one of the best of the season by far - it was just funny and isn't that the point

November 09 2009 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ClaireZ

I bet Affleck stole the pants!

And FWIW I think this season has been great. Very silly but that's OK by me.

November 09 2009 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alan

I've seen every season, and this has without a doubt been the best so far imo.

The Vehicular Fellatio, The Bare Midriff and Denise Handicapped are three of the all time funniest episodes they have ever done. All the guest stars have been incredible this season too, Seinfeld, Ted Danson and Super Dave especially.

November 09 2009 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dgreens

Sorry, but I thought it was one of the funniest episodes I have seen. The themes woven with lots of laughs and the final scene, priceless.

November 09 2009 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MJL

How many times have we already seen Jeff beg Larry to bail him out of some sort of trouble with Suzie? Stale plot device.

Also, if Larry left the store with the pants he'd been trying on, how come he had his wallet and keys in them? He took his wallet out to pay for the lemonade; does anyone put their personal effects in pants they haven't even bought yet?

This season has been incredibly weak compared to prior seasons. In fact, Ben Affleck as an extra last night was probably the high point of the season for me thus far.

November 09 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to MJL's comment

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