Curb Your Enthusiasm S09E08 Recap: "Never Wait For Seconds!"

In some ways, this ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm has been a test of whether or not Larry David's comedic sensibilities are suitable for 2017. Larry has in no way changed since the show was on the air, and other than in esoteric ways, in terms of presentation, neither has the show, really; that much is obvious after eight episodes. The truest test so far came in "Never Wait For Seconds!", an episode which, for some, may stretch the credulity of what the show is capable of getting away with. However, if you're able to get over that initial hump, it may wind up standing as the best episode of the revival.

"Seconds" succeeds not only with bringing back two of Larry's foils from previous episodes this season (Elizabeth Perkins reprising her role as Marty's girlfriend Marilyn from the other best episode of this season and Lauren Graham as Larry's budding flame Bridget from last week's episode), as there was clearly more earth to scorch with both of those characters, but offers some totally crazy developments with regards to the Fatwa storyline that may allow this episode to go down in the Curb history books.

As Larry, the aforementioned women and Marty are waiting in line at a breakfast buffet to get their food, a man cuts in line to get himself some potatoes. You think that Larry will get in this guy's face, but the episode subverts what we know about Larry in a subtle but hilarious way, as he stands up for the man, since he is getting seconds and only wants some potatoes, while everyone else is waiting for their eggs to be prepared. There's no reason for him to have to wait ten minutes in line for something he may not want by the time he gets it. Larry courageously helps the man and saves him from being proverbially trampled. Little does he know that this man, portrayed by Homeland's Navid Negahgan, is a devout Muslim and a connected man who knows who Larry is and decides to try and help him get the Fatwa lifted.

What seems at first to be an afterthought turns into a completely unexpected foray into many notable highlights from the show's eight previous seasons. The man interviews figures from Larry's past, ranging from the prostitute Larry hired to use the carpool lane to Krazee-Eyez Killa himself, as the man gages Larry's actions over the years. In a hilarious twist, in every case, he finds Larry to be in the right. From the nurse with the big vagina to Larry dating multiple women in wheelchairs, it all lines up perfectly, even in some unexpected ways, like how he was unwilling to acquiesce to an Orthodox Jew or how he had relations with a Palestinian woman. It's a sequence of events that already being compared to the Seinfeld finale, but for all the right reasons. Larry brings back all the people he's had confrontations with, but instead of it being dour and tireless the way it was in Seinfeld, it's refreshing, unexpected and subtly subversive. Even the tribunal scene with all the Muftis is hilarious, even if it may seem like something that may strain credulity. It's ridiculous, but Larry leans into it and makes it as ridiculous as possible, so it works.

This could easily have been a great finale to the season and potentially even the show, but the fact that it comes with two more episodes to go, not to mention a promise of Lin Manuel Miranda potentially doing the damn Fatwa musical after all that's transpired makes it even better. As does the fact that it's all underplayed and interspersed with the usual array of storylines; Larry balancing his disdain for Bridget's probably-not-autistic son with his desire to have sex, Larry failing once again to get along with Marty's girlfriend, and the tip flip fiasco with his work's handyman. That stuff all works to varying degrees, but the Fatwa resolution takes it to another.

"Never Wait For Seconds!" is an instant Curb classic, and it gets 10 shadowy Mufti cabals out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • What's even more impressive is that this episode manages to be as good as it was without an appearance from Jeff, Susie, Richard or Leon.
  • Definitive list of the classic Curb characters this episode revisits: Monena the prostitute, Denise Handicapped, Yoshi (the son of the fake Kamikazi), the Big Vagina nurse, the Orthodox Jew from the ski lift, the Palestinian Chicken lady (in name only, although we've already seen her this season), Krazee-Eyez Killa, and even Michael J. Fox himself, who outright admits what we've known all along about exaggerating his Parkinson's.
  • One of the things that makes Curb such an amazing show is the fact that it's never exploited Krazee-Eyez more than it has. Larry interacting with black people is one of this show's best assets and it's never shied away from using Leon a lot, so the fact that Krazee-Eyez has only been in two episodes is kind of insane.
  • Larry bullshitting to the board of that private school about Eddie is kind of perfect. He manages to get him in despite all the bullshit he spouts, but then ruins it by asking them to host Cesar's pool party.
  • Another great week for guest stars, including the aforementioned familiar faces: Lauren Graham, Elizabeth Perkins, Navid Negahgan, Michael J. Fox, Chris Williams, Mo Collins, Usman Ally.
  • Larry Tackles The Issues Of The Day:
    • Tip Flipping.
    • Excessive ketchup usage.
    • Public Displays of Affection (PDA).
    • Tap water (redux)
    • Spectrum diagnosis.
    • Line cutting for seconds.
    • Types of apologies.
    • Trick or treating.
    • And the bevy of girlfriend concerns he raises when asked about his relationship with Bridget.
  • Larry: "You're allowed to be happy, but not in front of me."
  • Larry: "I’ve never had gratitude sex, mainly because I’ve never done anything that someone could be grateful for."
  • Larry: "You said let’s live it up. I would never live it up, I live it down, I don’t live it up."
  • Cesar/Larry: "Why are you a member of a racist club?" " They’re all racist, that’s the way they operate."
  • Morsi: "I still don’t understand how your father can be a kamikaze pilot if he’s still alive."
  • Morsi: "But wasn’t the real issue the big vagina?"
  • Morsi: "So he refused to follow the tenets of Jewish orthodoxy?"
  • Larry: "Girlfriend I don’t know, but she does have tampons at my house."
  • Larry: "Little Cesar befouled the pool!?"
  • Mufti: "Ah yes, home fries, a nice compliment to the eggs."
  • Mufti: "Tricking or treating. This is all so very confusing."
  • Muftis: "Is there a shortage of ketchup I am not aware of?" "This is why i have been advocating for packets, but no one will listen!"