Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Larry vs. Michael J. Fox" on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Seventh Season     Last night, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm ended season eight with "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox." Larry (Larry David) finally runs into his upstairs neighbor, Michael J. Fox (himself, The Good Wife, Rescue Me), and begins to suspect Michael is faking some Parkinson's symptoms in order to get back at Larry for a possible tiff. Unfortunately for Larry, no one believes him. Nor does his girlfriend, Jennifer (Ana Gasteyer, Saturday Night Live, The Good Wife), believe that her seven year old son is gay, and so is offended when Larry buys him a sewing machine for his birthday. In the end, Larry must flee town to escape his detractors.

     Larry's problems in Curb Your Enthusiasm always stem from misunderstandings. Or Larry taking a stand when he thinks something isn't right. Either way, Larry causes many of his own problems, and certainly does little or nothing to help himself. "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox" is no different.

     Larry is trying to do right by Jennifer by buying her son a sewing machine. The kid raves about Project Runway and fashion, and thus, it seems fitting. Yet Jennifer and Susie (Susie Essman) rip into him, since it's an effeminate gift. Since the kid loves it, and it aligns with his interests, what's the harm, really? Perhaps Larry doesn't know him well enough to take such a bold step, but it makes the kid happy, and isn't that what's important? It's not really Larry's fault that the kid sews Susie a swastika after seeing Larry doddle it. He can't control what the kid likes.

     Everyone loves Michael J. Fox in the world of Curb Your Enthusiasm, just as in real life. Larry is on Fox's turf. Does he really think he will be able to turn Fox's friends and neighbors against him, just because he has a beef with Fox, that may or may not be real? Larry speaks with Fox man to man, but it still doesn't clear up his suspicions, especially when more possible offenses keep happening. At this point, Larry should just drop it. But that's not in his nature, soinstead, he goes to the building's board, which, of course, sides with Fox. Then Larry inadvertently insults Michael at his charity event, leading Mayor Michael Bloomberg (himself) to call on Larry to leave town, to rousing cheers.

     It's worth noting, Larry is in New York City, his home town, the latter half of this season, because of lies and trouble back in Los Angeles, his current home. Yet, it takes very little time for Larry to upset the people in NYC, and soon they send him packing again, this time to Paris.

     If "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox" does turn out to be the series finale, as no additional season has yet been ordered, it leaves some loose ends, especially concerning Larry's relationship with ex-wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). But the episode does contain the perfect ending scene, with Larry and Leon (JB Smoove) walking the (obviously fake) streets of Paris, as Larry rants about the same offense he so recently rants about in LA. No matter where Larry goes, he never changes. And that's the beauty of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

     Curb Your Enthusiasm also stars Jeff Garlin, and may or may not return to HBO for a ninth season.

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     To catch up on Curb Your Enthusiasm with DVDs and streaming episodes, please click here.

Article first published as TV Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm - "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox" on Blogcritics.

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