Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm - Seinfeld (season finale)
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 23rd 2009 8:38AM
(S07E10) "It's the Seinfeld reunion! That's a big deal!" - Cheryl
Yes, it is a big deal. A little over eleven years after we saw Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George behind bars, the reunion we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. I'm not sure if this even counts as a category to classify TV shows, but last night's Curb Your Enthusiasm season finale was easily the best "show within a show" episode I've ever seen... of any show.
Jane was kind enough to step in for me and write up last week's penultimate ep and I actually waited until last night to see that one as well -- I watched them back to back. I was struck by how well it all flowed together; how much it actually felt like we were watching a real episode of Seinfeld, even during the table read. However, seeing it play out, scene by scene, in the finale? Talk about nostalgia.
I don't know about you, but with the way my local Fox affiliate plays Seinfeld re-runs, I can't tell you how many times I've seen each episode. Many of them, I can quote flawlessly they're so ingrained in my memory. So to see so many scenes of this show and have them be completely new was really special. I'm sure I'll miss some key highlights as I write this up, but I was too busy smiling instead of taking notes for most of the episode.
So, let's talk about the Curb side first. I didn't really like the ongoing feud with Mocha Joe. More often than not, the rest of the world holds Larry to some unobtainable standard and that's why the humor works. I found this twist on that theme annoying.
Clearly Larry was on friendly terms with Mocha Joe -- no tip was required because taking the jumper cables was a simple favor, especially considering the fact that Joe was heading in the right direction anyway. Joe's favor, on the other hand, was ridiculous to even ask. It wasn't a fair trade-off! I could keep going, but I'll move on. This was the only part of the episode that didn't work for me. Larry "releasing the hounds" was funny though.
The "wood detective" plot was far more enjoyable and had a perfect payoff that tied right in to how Larry initially felt about the Seinfeld reunion -- can George (Larry) really just end up with Amanda (Cheryl)? Is it that simple? Of course not. Larry spent the whole episode trying to figure out who didn't use a coaster at Julia's and after accusing Susie and then Jerry, the truth comes out -- it was Cheryl. He destroyed their romantic moment and potentially wrecked their chance at getting back together by having Cheryl call Julia to fess up.
If the show comes back for an eighth season, I'm sure Larry and Cheryl will have worked it out. But considering how Larry did so much to win her back, it's hilarious that he was so oblivious to his own self-sabotage.
A few highlights from the Curb parts...
- Watching Larry and Jerry argue is brilliant. Even though George is based on Larry, at times it feels like Larry and Jerry are like two mirrors just screaming at each other. The icing on the cake was Jerry giving Larry his own squinty-eyed stare down.
- Jason's... well, what is it? A book or a pamphlet? I was hoping someone would say "leaflet." That thing was thin.
- "Do you respect wood, Susie?"
- What's everyone's read on this -- was Cheryl in her car, behind the tinted windows, when Larry admitted his true intentions to Jeff on the phone? Did she hear why he did it? Or was his absence on set the biggest impetus for her coming over at the end?
- Personally, I thought Larry played a pretty good George Costanza. That being said (I use that phrase all the time -- shoot me), I can understand why Larry was so concerned why Cheryl might fall for the fake Larry, aka Jason acting ("without acting") like George who's Larry. Get it?
On to the reunion. Overall, it worked very well, from the set-up (having Larry watch it only to have us as viewers then get the full-screen treatment) right down to the script. From last week's run through to the actual episode, all the jokes Larry recycled from his own personal experiences (napkin etiquette, hooker in the HOV lane, etc.) were all very funny. But just seeing Seinfeld, Richards, Louis-Dreyfus, and Alexander in action was brilliant. At no point, did any of them miss a beat.
Some thoughts on the reunion...
- My one disappointment? I was hoping for more minor characters. We saw Bania, Estelle, and Newman last week but it would have been nice to see them (or a few other fan favorites) worked into at least one of the scenes in the actual aired finale.
- Let's just be honest -- Virginia (Elisabeth Shue) was a better Amanda than Cheryl.
- How does everyone feel about Jerry donating sperm to Elaine? I thought it was a perfect resolution to their ongoing non-relationship.
Final verdict? It was real and it was spectacular, but I have one final question. What happened to them during that year in prison? I ask because it obviously didn't help, but that's a good thing. This much is true though -- fans finally got the Seinfeld ending they've always been hoping for.