Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Recap: "Larry VS Michael J Fox"
As the dust begins to settle, I think it's finally fair to say that Curb Your Enthusiasm's eighth season may have been among its best. From "Palestinian Chicken" to "The Hero", to last week's "Mister Softee", Larry David has given us some of his best this year.
This past Sunday night was the final episode of the season, titled "Larry VS Michael J. Fox", and it certainly managed to live up to the impressive bar the show had set for itself in the nine previous episodes.
After spending half the season wondering how David would write himself into a trip to New York, we spent the second half wondering how he would write himself out of it. In a brilliant show of writing, the show came full circle, using the same excuse that brought Larry to New York in order to get him out.
But we've got plenty to talk about before we get to that.
The episode opens with Larry visiting his girlfriend Jennifer (Ana Gasteyer) for a date. While she gets ready, he meets Greg, her young son who happens to be, well, a little fruity. Greg expresses to Larry his love for Project Runway, while Larry tells Greg who Hitler is, and all about the Swastika -- because apparently, rummaging through people's magazines and doodling Hitler in them is acceptable social behavior.
Larry: "He started a war. He didn't really care for Jews. He thought they were a bit much."
Greg: "Get a life, Jews!"
Later on, it's Greg's birthday, so Larry gets him a sowing machine, which he loves, but his mother doesn't -- oblivious to the fact that he's a little fruity, or as Larry later puts it, "pre-gay". Susie forces Larry to get him another gift, but he and Jeff decide against a slinky, since it's a little like handling balls. Larry decides to get him a violin, but when he presents it to Greg, Greg reveals a pillow sham he made for Susie, which happens to have a Swastika on it. There goes that relationship.
Larry accompanies Jennifer to her job playing background music in a bar, where he proceeds to shush everyone in order to hear her, including Michael J. Fox, who also happens to be Larry's neighbor from above. He doesn't take too kindly to the shushing, so he gives Larry a head shake -- which of course gets chalked up to Parkinson's by most.
Larry gets home and hits his floor on the elevator, but soon decides to go one up and encounter Michael J. Fox, which irks the other man in the elevator -- The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi -- who proceeds to get into the prerequisite ridiculous argument, and ends with the two pushing all the buttons on the elevator; which only really affects Mandvi, who has to go higher than Larry.
Larry meets Michael, where he proceeds to apologize for the shushing, but MJF blames the head shake on Parkinson's. While Michael is answering the phone, Larry draws a Hitler mustache on what turns out to be Michael's father in law, which irritates him yet again. Michael shakes up a bottle of soda which Larry asks for (blame it on the P-p-p-p-pa-Parkinson's), and proceeds to annoy him by wearing loud boots and clomping all night long. Confronted yet again, Michael blames the Parkinson's, so Larry gives him the classic stare and an "okay".
Michael J Fox: "Let me get that. I'll be back in two shakes."
Michael even goes as far as to bump into him, which makes an enemy out of the doorman for Larry and gives him his "second strike" with building management (the first being the elevator incident). Larry is forced to go to a fundraiser being held by Michael, where he's talking with Jeff. He gets shushed by the doorman while Jeff's asking him what he got Greg, so Larry begins to do a violin motion. Of course, everyone assume Larry is mocking Parkinson's which leads Mayor Bloomberg --- nice little cameo here -- to banish him from New York.
Mayor Bloomberg: “Wait a second, Mike. Let me, let me handle this — I’m the mayor. Larry, let me tell you something, this guy’s trying to put Parkinson’s out of business, and I’m here to put you out of this city.”
Larry once again bumps into MJF, who says they have a clean slate, but asks Larry to attend an event for sick children. Remember why Larry came to New York in the first place? Larry, of course, can't make it, so we find him next in Paris, where Leon is eating Taco Bell, and of course, Larry gets into an argument with someone for double parking, bringing everything back full circle.
This season, we've seen Curb tackle some serious issues such as performance enhancing drugs and the middle east conflict, but Larry David pushes the envelope further than he ever has before, introducing a gay child and basically mocking Parkinson's disease. But it was so brilliantly crafted and written that he pulled it off and made it hilarious. Michael J. Fox was on the money as he always is, but the performance of the night may have belonged to young Greg, who more than convinced us that he was a "pre-gay" -- again, a situation eerily similar to the first episode of the season, where Larry teaches a girl scout how to put in a tampon.
But nothing beats Larry travelling halfway across the world to avoid interacting with sick children, only to have to travel the other half just to avoid a second, awkwardly similar situation. Everything came back to bite Larry in the ass this season -- quite literally for Jeff, thanks to some bullet-sized suppositories -- and it was amazing. We're used to seeing the show tie everything up nicely every week, but to do so over the course of 10 episodes is an amazing feat.
Line of the Night: Larry - "Mr. Parkinson would be appalled if he knew how Mr. Fox was behaving."
- "This shit don't happen in a black neighborhood."
- "Michael J. Fox bout to be Michael J. fucked up in a minute."
- "Shaky motha fuckers like that, ya know little kids and shit, old people, motha fuckers who can't defend themselves, and you. That's perfect. You two face off, that shit is even steven."
- “If I could wrap this shit in French toast, I would”
- Larry: “Was it pissed or Parkinson’s?”
- Larry: “Hitler really ruined that mustache for everybody. It’s really an interesting mustache, but now, no one can wear it.”
- Larry: "As a cynic it kinda sickens me, but he'd take a bullet for her. "
- Larry: "Just having Parkinson's doesn't give you carte blanche to take advantage of the non-Parkinson's."
- Larry: "He will be gay. He's pre-gay."
- Jeff: "I took a bullet for ya." / Susie: "Well it was a bike, technically."
Awkward Moment / Goat of the night / Only Larry David: All of this belongs to everything that Larry did this episode. A new level or ridiculousness.
Overall: Absolute masterpiece this week, 10 out of 10.
That's it for Curb recaps. Season 8 is over. No one knows whether there will be a season 9, but it'll definitely be hard to top. It's been an amazing season, and Larry David services a hell of a lot of credit.