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'Curb Your Enthusiasm': Reunited and It Feels So Good

Curb_seinfeldgang And just like that the gang was back together again.

This week's episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" did what many people thought was impossible: It brought together the cast of "Seinfeld," more than 10 years after the series went off the air, for a reunion show. Sort of, anyway. 

In true "Curb" tradition, there's more than meets the eye here as the "Seinfeld" reunion itself is wholly fictional, a fantastic display of meta-theater that will only be glimpsed in tiny pieces this season on "Curb." Just as Jerry and George once pitched NBC a show about "nothing" on "Seinfeld," so too is Larry back at NBC doing a "Seinfeld" reunion as a deeply layered show-within-a-show.

And, yes, some uncertainty about the way that "Seinfeld" ended its series run is brought up as well, at least by the "Seinfeld" actors, even if Larry seems to be content with that downer of an ending.

The kumquat and the quail. The "Seinfeld" gang -- Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, natch -- are back together and, well, it feels so great. Yes, there were rumblings of trouble among the quartet (fans will remember those arguments over DVD royalties, and then there was Richards' brush with notoriety a few years back for some racially insensitive remarks), but there's a sense of frisson at seeing them back together on the set of Jerry's apartment that's really indescribable. It's nostalgic and comforting and exciting all at the same time, even if it's just a fantasy sequence. (I think I cheered when they all ran in.)

But this is "Curb" and the course of, well, everything never did run smooth. So there's a whole bunch of obstacles standing in Larry's way to mounting a "Seinfeld" reunion, not least of which is his lack of desire to do a "Seinfeld" reunion -- even with NBC champing at the bit (and, yes, it IS champing, no matter what Julia says) for a cash cow like this. 

Despite the distaste Larry has for reunions, there is an ulterior motive at work, namely the mere whiff of possibility of reuniting, not with the "Seinfeld" cast, but with ex-wife Cheryl, who is impressed by Larry's newfound attitude about returning to work. Cheryl's hedging for a part in the "Seinfeld" reunion, and Larry promises her the role of George's ex-wife whom -- in a meta-theatrical twist of its own -- George is attempting to woo. Not that Larry has checked this fact with Jerry, who has plans of his own for the role, offering it to Meg Ryan, who cheerfully accepts.

D'oh.

Masters of their domain. Each of the former "Seinfeld" cast members gets a plot line in this episode, from Jerry's pitching of Meg Ryan to Larry, Jason and Larry arguing over splitting the tip at a restaurant, Larry accusing Julia of lying about taking her daughter to a birthday party, and Michael... Well, Michael Richards doesn't get much of a storyline, sadly. There's a subplot involving Michael getting distracted by some blatantly erotic photography at a lunch meeting with Larry to the point that he agrees to do the reunion without hearing what Larry's actually saying. It doesn't quite pay off in any meaningful way and feels somewhat tacked onto the rest of the action.

Richards himself seems smaller in this episode than he ever did as the flamboyant Kramer on "Seinfeld," as though he's still doing penance for his brush with infamy; there's a quiet solemnity to him here that's at odds with the colorful and larger-than-life personality he played for so many years on television. Or that's what we're meant to believe on "Curb," anyway. Despite the fact that they're portraying themselves, there's definitely some acting going on here, so it's hard to really get a read on Richards.

The benefit of the doubt. As always, this week's episode also presented a moral dilemma for Larry David. After correctly diagnosing Susie's mystery ailment as Lyme disease, Larry is faced with a hell of a quagmire. After he's humiliated by the president of NBC, Sandy Goodman (Todd Stashwick), who gave him lousy Lakers seats to "celebrate" their deal for "Seinfeld" and screens his call, Larry curses him out only to be forced to apologize when he realizes Sandy has Lyme disease. He can either save this man's life by diagnosing him ... or gloat at his funeral. Decisions, decisions.

Despite his general misanthropy, Larry's not evil. He saves Sandy's life and saves the "Seinfeld" reunion to boot. But any shot of reconnecting with Cheryl go up in smoke when he learns that her part has been snatched by Meg Ryan. Those of you who think Cheryl's going to give Larry the cold shoulder can raise your cup above your teapot ... now.

What did you think of this week's episode? How great was it to see the "Seinfeld" cast together again on TV? Is there any shot for Larry and Cheryl now? And would you have coordinated the tip? Speak up in the comments section below!

-- Jace Lacob (follow my musings on television, food, and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)

Related:
Larry David talks about putting 'Seinfeld' back together for 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Larry David on the 'Seinfeld' reunion and shaking hands

Photo: Yada, yada, the "Seinfeld" gang reunites on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Credit: Doug Hyun / HBO.

 
Comments () | Archives (35)

While I enjoyed the show, I thought it was a little flat by the show's normal standards. The dialogue between Larry and the Seinfeld cast came across as kind of stiff, unfortunately. Is that because our expectations were so high? Or perhaps because the premise for this series of shows is just getting started?

I would have probably watched it if michael richards wasn't on it. I love all the other actors, but I'll sit this one out.

To Ralph:

Your comment that none of the original Seinfeld cast has had a "major success" since the show went off the air 10 years ago made me laugh.

Julia Louis Dreyfus has had one of the funniest shows on TV for the last five years, and several Emmy nominations.

The world of TV sitcoms is generally pretty ephemeral. Very few talented comedic actors go on to star in show after show after show. They all have enough money to never have to work the rest of their lives - put your bitterness aside and learn to enjoy life's little moments.

My favorite part of the episode is when Larry conducts a silent debate to choose the more satisfying fantasy - reuniting with Cheryl or going to Sandy's (much deserved in his opinion) funeral. True Larry David form! But he chooses the love story, so he's not all that bad.

I always coordinate the tip.
The cast looked old- especially Jerry.
He always looked youthful.
Weird part for Meg Ryan but at least
her lips are back to normal.

Michael Richards get the racist viewer/ Faux News demographic.

I have watched every episode of both Curb and Jerry ... and I found the reunion episode of Curb to be very fitting and funny. The dialogue was just right for people just "talking" and not reading from a script. I was grinning the entire time. But I have to admit that the last episode of last season was kick butt ... when Vivica Fox told off that obnoxious Susie, I nearly died. That was HYSTERICAL. The cancer story line was bad and a downer, but I loved how he got rid of everybody. I don't want them to get rid of Leon (is that his name?) because I see that as a perfect setup for Michael Richards ... does he pull a Larry and speak his mind or does his apologize? I mean, why else keep Leon living with Larry? And you KNOW that when Cheryl finally gets some kind of job on the reunion show of Jerry, it will end up being a disaster for Larry that will just be too wonderful to even consider. Anyway, I had been looking forward to watching these reunion episodes, even if they are low-key. The best part of Curb is the messes that Larry gets into, not how fantastic the Jerry cast is.

Delightful....how wonderfully twisted is the mind of Larry David? Amazing how he continues to entertain...his way!

SEINFELD worked because it was an ensemble cast, all characters necessary for the show to work. After Seinfeld ended, each of the actors went in a different direction and , IMO, none made it individually. Julia's new show is awful, Jason failed, Michael...may he RIP, Jerry....he just gave up, and then Larry ..... CURB is brilliant. So while it was fun to see the cast together (I'm sure Michael would have rather been having a root canal), they're a part of history, not the present, and I highly doubt the future.

Lisa - you are something else. Do you have a life of your own? However, it would be no criticism at this stage of life's game, from my point of view, where having watched every episode of Curb and Jerry now becomes something to be admired and desired. Lisa should be an audience subject matter expert for the show.

I was never a "Seinfeld" viewer and have only vague memories of that show. This so called "reunion" seem forced and phony to me. It lacked any real laughs (unlike the previous week's show which was hilarious). You folks who yearn for this reunion- get a life- "Seinfeld" was the most over rated show back then and who the hell cares about it now...Jim

Curb is great and regardless of what anyone thinks of the actors from Seinfeld, it was great seeing them together in the old sets.

Those 4 characters (actors) along with Newman and the many other supporting characters, made for great television; something we don't have a lot of nowadays.

Well, first off, I'm still laughing over Bam Bam Funkhouser (Catherine O'Hara) and her tryst with Jeff Garlin. That was incredible... BAM BAM? Really? LOL.

As for the whole Seinfeld sidebar, the guy who played the waiter in that scene with Larry and Jason did a great job. That was classic Curb. The rest of it was a little off for me, but I was still thrilled to see it all start to take shape. It's only going to get better.

Knowing this show isn't scripted, it seemed to me that most of the edits/cuts where where Jerry and the gang just couldn't keep a straight face over the whole thing. I'm sure there's a great outtake reel there somewhere.

Ha!
someone suggested we watch New Adventures of Old Christine if we wanna see Julia on tv these days, as my first line says, this is truly laughable, what a shockingly bad tv show. That aside, shame on all you people who have given out about Seinfeld, how it was boring and how the cast are all past it now et. etc. It was the best show on tv and prob is the best show ever on tv. Curb is great, dont get me wrong, but Larry David's true glory days will always be his time spent on Seinfeld. Great to see them back together.

What is the point of this column? My guess is that the population of Curb fans who 1) want to know play-by-play what happened in each episode but 2) don't happen to own a television - has got to be pretty small.

For something approaching a useful recap paired with some kind of analysis, any type of perspective - christ even a hint of context - see many of the other fine Show Tracker threads.

LAT do Curb a favor and assign someone else to this show. A less awkward command of English would be a plus.

 
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