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'Curb Your Enthusiasm': Wendy Wheelchair

October 19, 2009 |  7:22 am

Curb09_04 This week's episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" found the master misanthrope, Larry David, in fine form as he attempted to maneuver himself out of all manner of ethical quagmires.

Whether it was coming to physical blows with Rosie O'Donnell over a check, insulting Ted Danson over a piece of pie, nearly letting Jeff and Susie's daughter drown, or substituting one disabled woman for another, Larry once again proved that there's no one he can't manage to insult or aggrieve.

Once again, I'll be exploring the little things that got under Larry's skin this week and whether it was Larry or the rest of humanity who was truly at fault. (And this week, it did seem like Mr. David was on a tear.)

The Asker or the Toucher. It's a common enough situation: Friends meet up for a meal, and there's the uncomfortable moment when the check arrives. Who should pay for the meal? Larry believed that, as the person who invited his guest -- in this case, Rosie O'Donnell -- it was his responsibility and his pleasure to pick up the check. Rosie, on the other hand, vehemently believed that as the person who physically picked up the check, it was incumbent on her to pay. Who's right? Honestly, I'm not sure. Granted, there is some level of responsibility on the part of the person who instigated the meal, but if the check is in someone's hand, it's therefore their right to pay for the meal. Certainly, it shouldn't turn into a physical altercation or a restaurant-set wrestling match as what passed between Larry and Rosie. Especially because that Rosie is one tough brawler. Given Rosie's reaction, I'm calling this one a stalemate. Larry: 0. Humanity: 0.

Incorrect (Kelsey) Grammar. I truly believe that Larry cannot help himself; he clearly didn't mean to insult the Fowlers, the parents of adopted Asian baby Kelsey. In addition to riffing on the girl's name ("Kelsey Grammer" and "Frasier" being Larry's go-to nicknames), he then insulted her parents further by (A) asking if Kelsey was proficient with chopsticks because she was "Chinese" and (B) wondering aloud if one of her biological parents was psychotic or schizophrenic. The entire encounter resulted in Larry getting dis-invited from the Fowlers' private Chee-Yun recital. Insulting racial stereotypes? Oblivious to people's reactions? This one is all on Larry. Larry: 0. Humanity: 1.

The First Impression. Larry and Denise meet cute in a coffee shop. They bonded over their shared love of the music of Chee-Yun. Larry invited Denise to the Fowlers' house and organized a pre-date date, unaware that Denise was in a wheelchair, a fact he learned when she wheeled out from behind the table she was sitting at. For her part, Denise felt Larry misled her by wearing a hat and concealing his baldness. Showing signs of maturity and social responsibility, Larry went ahead with the date even after learning of Denise's disability. Could it be that he's finally growing up? Doubtful, though the scene with him attempting to kiss her -- resulting in a series of over-the-top positions -- had me in hysterics. I'd give this one to Larry, who decided to break up with Denise due to a lack of spark ... until he saw the special treatment she received everywhere they went, including complimentary Champagne and priority seating, as well as special parking spaces. It turns out that leopards don't change their spots after all. Larry: 0. Humanity: 1.

The Unwanted Pie. Should Larry have taken a bite of the pie that Ted Danson sent over as a nice gesture even though he was full? Absolutely. I'm going to side with Ted here. Even if Larry and Denise were as full as they said they were, it's only courteous to make a gesture of enjoying the gift bestowed upon you. Larry's refusal to follow even the most basic of social conventions resulted in an escalation of hostility between Larry and an irate Ted. Badly done, Larry. Larry: 0. Humanity: 2.

The Precious BlackBerry. Adding injury to insult, Larry nearly let Jeff and Susie's daughter, Sammy, drown in the ocean rather than ruin his BlackBerry. Despite the fact that he was tasked with keeping an eye on Sammy (and instead played BrickBreaker), Larry didn't rush into the ocean to save the drowning girl but instead ran back to his blanket -- not once but twice! -- to make sure his BlackBerry was safe. Sammy was  rescued by her parents, and Larry's BlackBerry still ended up in the ocean, courtesy of Susie. There's no way around this one; Larry's definitely at fault. Larry: 0. Humanity: 3.

The Handicap Assumption. Following the destruction of the data on his BlackBerry, Larry was left with no way to get in touch with Denise, even though the duo had been re-invited to the Fowlers' private concert (the result of a chance encounter between the couple and Larry and the disabled Denise). A drive around town with Leon later (after bonding over their shared use of mobile mnemonics), Larry spied another disabled woman, Wendy, and got out of the car to see if she knew Denise, figuring that all disabled people would know each other. Ouch. Wendy, of course, like Denise and Larry, was a major fan of Chee-Yun. Uh-oh. Larry: 0. Humanity: 4.

Wendy Wheelchair. With Denise out of the picture, Larry opted to invite Wendy instead, perhaps figuring that he could show up with any disabled woman, even if it wasn't Denise. It was a rather large blunder, as Denise showed up on her own, having gotten the Fowlers' number from information after Larry failed to call her. Making matters worse, Larry shoved Wendy in the coat closet, resulting in an awkward scene between Denise when he gets a call on his new BlackBerry from "Wendy Wheelchair." The resulting chase through the house -- and a beat-down from an already-irate Rosie O'Donnell -- provided perhaps once of the most raucous and surreal "Curb" closers in recent weeks. Given how monumentally wrong Larry was on this front, Humanity got five additional points, just for good measure. Larry: 0. Humanity: 9.

All in all, another hilarious episode of "Curb" that brought the awkward, the uncomfortable and the shockingly tasteless. I wouldn't have it any other way. Watching Larry squirm his way out this week's collection of scenarios is, after all, my pleasure.

What did you think of this week's episode? Was Larry in the wrong or in the right for the most part? Speak out 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
Complete 'Curb' coverage on Showtracker

Photo: Misanthrope Larry David offers a sour expression when faced with society's niceties. Credit: Doug Hyun / HBO.

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