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Monday, July 11, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm goes through "The Divorce"

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Seventh Season     Season eight of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm begins with "The Divorce." As the title implies, Larry (Larry David) and Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) make the decision to end their marriage. The half hour begins right where season seven ends, and their bickering causes them, many months later, to dissolve the union. Larry has a great attorney (Paul F. Tompkins), but when he learns the man is only leading people to believe he's Jewish, Larry fires him. Which leads to Larry hiring a Jewish, but much worse, lawyer, who gives Cheryl the house. After an inadvertent comment by Larry, Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) also decides to get divorced. Larry also cancels a girl scout cookie order after misunderstanding with the girlscout's father (Gary Cole, The Good Wife, Entourage).


      Divorce hangs heavy in "The Divorce," but rather than be a bad thing, it is celebrated. Larry and Cheryl manage to remain friends, and are happy they will no longer be together. Funkhouser embraces the freedom from his boring union. Even Jeff (Jeff Garlin) wishes to end his marriage, but his wife, Susie (Susie Essman) would make the process far too painful for him to seriously consider it. Why does Curb Your Enthusiasm embrace such a bleak outlook? Perhaps it is the central character's attitude that influences the most. While Larry loves Cheryl, he tends to roll with the punches, and stay relatively happy. He gets frustrated, but his belief that he almost always right usually keeps him from being too upset. With Larry getting divorced, rather than have the character sink into sad depression, he weathers it as he does everything else.

     The humor comes from the problems that Larry gets himself into. These problems fall into one of two categories: misunderstandings, and the things he brings on himself with his inability to let anything go. "The Divorce" has examples of each. Firmly in the misunderstanding category is the disagreement Larry has with the girl scout's father. While at Larry's house to sell him cookies, the girl (Kaitlyn Dever, Justified) begins her first period. Larry assists her to the best of his ability, while also keeping a door between them. Her father doesn't understand what happens, and so he denies Larry box seats to a sporting event.

     From there, things go into the Larry's fault side. Larry decides that if he's not on good terms with the girl's father, and not getting the favor he desires, he won't do any favors back. He cancels his cookie order, which the girl scouts are flummoxed by. It goes from bad to worse when not just three girl scouts, but a whole troop of them show up at his door. Larry trying to close the door on a bunch of angry young girls is hilarious!

     Larry's divorce problems are also his own fault, since he fires a perfectly competent lawyer to prove a point. This backfires, and Larry ends up with no home, as does Leon (J.B. Smoove), who still lives with Larry. It would not be a good episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm unless the ending was not in Larry's favor, and having twenty-four hours to vacate his home certainly isn't. It will be very interesting to see what happens next.

     Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

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