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Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm - Seinfeld (season finale)

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 23rd 2009 8:38AM
Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld
(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.

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The Actual Seinfeld show wasn't great at all, George was too angry, the guys seemed a bit rusty and over the top in trying to be their old character. It wasn't spot on. As for Curb, great job putting it together, showing the behind the scenes stuff, table reading, the door into the hallway outside Jerry's room, where does it go? That was cool.

Mocha Joe, some people thought it was stupid, but that actor was brilliant, he was good, I liked that.

I thought Cheryl was in the car, that's why they had him talk there. What I'm wondering is, were Cheryl and Jason messing around in Jason's room? Why did he bolt out of there?

Jason seems like a bit of a jerk on Curb...

I really liked how we were able to peek into their old Seinfeld world, from all different angles.

The best part of the whole season was Jerry and Larry going back and forth, it was so natural. Especially the scene where Larry is accusing Jerry of leaving the ring on the table... Jerry's line was classic, something about respecting the coffin more than the life... if he just ad libbed that, Curb style, that was great, genius, very funny...got to see comedy outside Seinfeld from Jerry...oh and Leon, haha, that actor is hilarious, he couldn't multiply anymore, if he was ... 6 women 7 days a week, he didn't know how many.... oh man. great.

January 01 2010 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Larry David and gang are outstanding. Everyone is perfect in their roles. The humor is priceless. Larry David's mediocre efforts still bring more laughs than most situation comedies.Larry David

December 31 2009 at 1:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This Reunion episode has really provided a great end to the season. It was really nice to see Jerry in the show. I missed it on the original airing but watched it later from http://seinfeld.download-tvshows.com/ .I am really excited about the next season. The show has been great so far and
I hope that it will continue in that way.

December 15 2009 at 4:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The reunion episode was "ok". Better than expected but
mostly the jokes were forced and felt like a madtv parody of seinfeld where seinfeldian banter was the goal rather than a cohesive storyline. Richards was stiff. Surprisingly Jerry was consistently tight and true. Richards did very well in the Curb last week addressing his real life issues, so he gets a pass.

November 26 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grant Buell

Of course Cheryl was in the car.

I thought every sentence that contained the words "Mocha Joe" was funny.

November 23 2009 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Grant Buell's comment

I agree on both counts. And it's great to see, for the first time that I can remember at least, Curb leave something like that up to the viewer's imagination.

Having said that, I found the show good but not particularly funny. But they did mention something about doing something a little different. Still worked for me overall. Loved the ending.

And having said all that, it seemed like they had a good idea for the Seinfeld episode, so I would like to have seen the full episode.

November 23 2009 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just one question please what is the make/model of larry's blue car?
thank you to anyone who can help me with this.

November 23 2009 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dee's comment

Toyota Prius, 2nd generation, 2004-2009.

November 27 2009 at 2:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
steve u

couple of points:

--you didnt mention one curious thing...why did jason run out of cheryl's trailer?? given all of the hostility between larry and jason, it would be silly to think that jason would run from larry.
--I agree on the mocha joe stuff....the favor exchange was not close to equal and it was ridiculous to even think Larry would do the beans pick-up.
--all in all very well done. readers are expecting too much....great to see the cast together again.

November 23 2009 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to steve u's comment

My take on Mocha Joe (other than the repetition of his name being funny) is that he was the "Doctor Smith" of this episode.
He was just there to make things go wrong. If everything worked out all the time, you wouldn't have a show. I recently viewed the pilot of Lost in space and there was no Dr. Smith; Lo and behold, it was a show about nothing. I then viewed the pilot with Dr. Smith and it gave the show all it's uumph.
Having said that, the favor thing was ridiculous.

November 25 2009 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder if L.D. and Jerry actually shot a full Seinfeld episode. Would be a good tie-in.

The season was very good albeit a little uneven. That being said . . .

November 23 2009 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Larry was hoping she was in the car. The whole season was about Larry scheming From the ladies underwear to bail out Jeff, to bringing the reunion together just to get her back. Maybe she's in there maybe she isn't but Larry would take a shot!

The show wasn't amazing but it was very good and great to see them all together.

November 23 2009 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think if the show came back for an 8th they would be dating, wouldnt they? Or does one just jump right back into marriage in that situation?

November 23 2009 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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