Curb Your Enthusiasm S08E07 Recap: "The Bi-Sexual"
It's a little disheartening that season 8 of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has been falsely built as the season where Larry David is single and doesn't really care about dating or women as much as he used to. Season 7's main storyline arc may have centered around the Seinfeld reunion, but one of the main subplots of the show was Larry's pursual of, well, pussy.
Recently separated from his longtime wife and a fixture of the show, Cheryl, Larry seemed to have a new girlfriend every episode, usually with some sort of quirk, ironically and conveniently much like his buddies from the old show that they were rehashing.
But at the beginning of season 8, Larry had once again screwed up the rekindling of his romance with Cheryl, and in the midst of a seemingly amicable divorce proceeding, declared that he was now happily single. But it didn't seem as if he was saying this because he was free to see other women, but because he didn't really care for it.
It wouldn't be long, however, before Larry started to think with his penis. Our lovable protagonist has had more girlfriends this season than we could probably count. From an anti-Semitic Palestinian, to a girl who texts with too many smiley faces, to, now, a Bi-Sexual, Larry's had more action in half a season than most of us have had in a lifetime.
I'm not trying to say that it's unrealistic that Larry David gets some action. After all, even if he is a bumbling, bald, grumpy old man, the dude is loaded and seems to have a quirky charm to him. But there's a point where it becomes too much. "Seinfeld" spent nearly a decade trying to convince us that George Costanza and Jerry Seinfeld had a different girlfriend every week, and we bought it because it was funny. But Curb spent the better part of the next decade trying to convince us that a single woman, and a pretty hot one at that, would stick by Larry David no matter the crap he tried to pull.
Well, the crap got to be too much for Cheryl, so I guess it's actually more realistic to see Larry pick up a girl and pretty much force her to angrily dump him all in the course of a 28 minute episode.
But this week, in "The Bi-Sexual", it kind of stopped being entertaining.
In this latest episode, Larry and the returning Rosie O'Donnell manage to pick up the same woman, and then compete in a series of dates, to determine the fate of their respective sexual orientations. David has never strayed from tackling the issues of homosexuality and lesbianism in the past, but he adds a twist this time by comparing it all to baseball.
Larry -- and the returning Leon, which we're REALLY happy about -- claim the male advantage lies in their "bat and balls", versus the "glove" that women are meant to catch them will. Larry goes on to "juice" in his competition with Rosie by taking a pill before sleeping with his new girlfriend. All of this cushioned by an actual softball game played between Larry's team and Rosie's team.
This isn't the first time this season that Larry has tackled a hot-button issue with a twist. In "Palestinian Chicken", he satirized the very serious Middle Eastern crisis mixed with the completely ridiculous Ground Zero mosque issue, by making the whole thing about some delicious chicken. Now, he takes the issues of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, and uses them to make a point about bi-sexualism. The only problem is that in this case, it felt entirely too forced and unnecessary.
The funnier parts of the episode were the two subplots, where Larry explores the nature of Japanese bows and blows off an acquaintance for lunch. At a Japanese restaurant, Larry is upset to find out his container of soup wasn't properly sealed in his takeout bag, which leads him to, of course, ask for an apology from the maitre d'. The Japanese fellow takes an immediate dislike to Larry, something that's rare even for him -- it usually takes a while for people to start hating him -- but bows to him apologetically, something that Larry is very impressed with. Larry then sees some Japanese folks at the park, where one bows to the other apologetically as well, but with a near-90 degree bow. He investigates, only to find out that the bow the maitre d' gave him was dismissive, and, as the Japanese fellow -- Alan Muraoka from Sesame Street, who also guested on last week's episode of "Louie" -- put it, it was a "shit-bow". Larry then returns to the restaurant to confront the dismissive maitre d', who again apologizes to him.
Larry also sees an acquaintance, Duckstein -- former SNL writer Alan Zweibel -- at that restaurant who offers to have lunch with him, but Larry refuses because, well, they aren't really friends. What's hilarious is that while the maitre d' of the restaurant they meet in automatically hates Larry the first time they interact, Duckstein can't bring himself to hate a person who has such an obvious disdain for him. It was a very "Seinfeld" thing to do.
In the end, Duckstein chokes on a sandwich having lunch by himself, while Larry ruins his relationship with Jane when his pills fall out of his pocket while bowing 90 degrees. Guilty, he visits Duckstein in the hospital, where he's goaded into having his first lunch with his new, unwanted, annoying friend.
It was a well-structured episode, but not the best of the season. Everythnig tied in nicely as it usually does, but "The Bi-Sexual" was missing certain elements that usually make Curb great, and it's tough to really put a finger on it. The funniest parts of the episode were the interactions between Larry and Rosie, especially at the beginning when they realize they both just picked up the same woman. Both of them share their disdain for bisexualism, citing that it's unfair that someone gets their pick of more than 50% of the population.
But in this case, Leon's return -- which included a cross-country drive in a beaten-down Prius, in which he shared a ride with 8 people and a baby -- takes the cake. Maybe it's the fact that he was gone for half a season, maybe it's my man-crush on J.B. Smoove -- one that Larry doesn't share (“Do you think I’d go out with a guy wearing a green wifebeater?” ) -- but his lines this episode was as solid as always.
Maybe I'm missing something here, or it's just the fact that I'm sick of every episode being about Larry dating another quirky girl, because I liked a lot of things individually about "The Bi-Sexual", and I thought the whole thing was very well put together, but overall, this latest episode of Curb kind of let me down.
Line of the Night: Leon (who else): "I'm livin' large. I just had a croissant filled with mother f**king champagne."
- Larry on the subject of "balls, bats and gloves": “Too bad I don’t have a daughter, I would like to impart that knowledge on her.”
- Rosie: "You know what a lesbian brings on a second date? A U-Haul."
- Larry: "Lesbians have kind of an advantage in a way." -- Leon: "They some tricky mother f**kers."
- Larry: “Do you think I’d go out with a guy wearing a green wifebeater?”
- Leon: “You can’t go into a f*ckfight with no goddamn weapon, jump rope hanging from your pants.”
Awkward Moment: Larry bluntly telling Duckstein that they weren't friends.
Goat of the night: Larry David, for letting Rosie win the battle of the sexes and having to endure lunch with Duckstein.
"Only Larry David:" Argue with a Japanese person about the degree of a bow.
"I can relate:" "As a restaurant that offers takeout you only have two jobs. Make sure the order is right, and secure the food." -- I'm sure I'm not the only one who's arrived home with half-spilt soup.
Overall: A lot of good elements, the triumphant return of Leon, some good interactions with Rosie O'Donnell and "classic Larry" antagonizing Japanese people, but something felt off in "The Bi-Sexual" and I can't quite put my finger on it.
Next Week: "Car Periscope" -- "Larry and Jeff weigh an investment opportunity; Wanda Sykes preempts Larry’s training schedule, Cheyenne Jackson guest stars as Larry's personal trainer."