Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 8

Although the eighth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm lacked a strong central storyline like the show had in previous years, it was still strong enough to be one of the show's best, just by pure funniness. Larry David still has story credit on every episode, but this is the first time he's shared it with anyone, and I think a bit of help coming up with ideas, plus having the character be completely free from marriage and thus able to be as big an asshole as possible, just made it the right situation for some of the best laugh-out-loud material in the series' run. The lack of a plot holding the show together made it more obvious when threads would come out of nowhere just for a gag, sort of like we were looking behind the scenes at an unfinished version where it hadn't all been properly tied together yet. The primary goal of the show though is to be funny, and in that, I think season eight did better than at least the couple that preceded it.

If you're just looking at Larry's performance, I think this was his best work. He managed to be as big a jerk as ever, but it was about things that didn't really matter, so it seemed harmless, in contrast to some of his other actions. He's just kind of mastered the angry indignation at meaningless minutiae that we've all come to love about him, and he's just fun to watch bumble through life. It was a great year for J.B. Smoove's Leon, too, getting more screen time than I think he did last season, and reestablishing himself as the king of foul-mouthed rants that almost, but don't quite make sense. The one real story thing that happened this year was Larry moving back to New York for a couple months just to get out of spending time with disabled children, and while leaving LA for half the season meant no Richard Lewis or Marty Funkhouser during that time (Ted Danson was unfortunately nowhere to be seen at all), it did provide opportunities for great appearances by people like Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox, and Mayor Bloomberg. Larry has always seemed pretty enigmatic about the show, never sure if he wants to keep making it or not. I suspect it will come back at least one more time, maybe in a couple years, and I expect it to be as enjoyable as ever.

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