Josh Reviews Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 11
I thought for a while that Curb Your Enthusiasm was over (there was a loooong wait between seasons eight and nine, and about a two and a half-year pause between seasons nine and ten). And yet here was season eleven, coming relatively quickly after season ten, despite the pandemic. I’m delighted that this show continues to exist.
Yes, I freely capitulate that the best days of Curb Your Enthusiasm seem to be in the past. I miss the precision comedic timing of the show at its best, when all of the storylines would beautifully weave together by the end of each episode. The show is much shaggier now and less consistent.
It was definitely a problem for me that the main storyline this season did not work for me at all. I did not at all care for the outlandish story that carried through the season (in which a burglar dies in Larry’s pool, which results in Larry’s getting blackmailed by the dead burglar’s brother to cast his unable-to-act daughter in Larry’s new TV show). First of all, it was way too outlandish. Curb, like Seinfeld before it, is best when it’s exploring the agonizing minutia of every0day life. I don’t mind the show going big (my favorite season involved Larry’s starring in The Producers, which isn’t exactly a slice-of-every-day-life story). But I have to feel like the story is remotely plausible, and this didn’t for me. The whole set-up of a burglar dying in Larry’s pool felt way too out-there, and then I didn’t buy that Larry would meekly allow himself to get talked into casting this catastrophically bad actress in his TV show. Also, I think the show imbalanced the story by making this young woman and her dad so annoying and unlikable. Rather than my enjoying seeing Larry squirm, I was impatient for him to get rid of them and for them to get their comeuppance. (The show seemed to realize that by the end, because the finale gave us the unusual for Curb extended dream sequence in which Larry finally DOES get to throw them off the set of his show, while everyone around him applauds. It’s like the show realized that the audience was desperate to see that.)
But. Despite the failure (for me) of the season’s main storyline, there was so much comedic gold still to be found in this show this season! Let’s start with the end of the season: Larry’s stealing shoes from a Holocaust museum was an all-time great/horrifying premise that floored me. What a brilliantly wrong notion. I love that the show can still be so hilariously offensive this late in its run!
And there were so many other very funny moments this season, including but by no means limited to: Albert Brooks’ fake funeral; Leon and his many Mary Fergusons; Larry’s offense when a woman prefers to bring her leftover steak home for her dog rather than sharing it with him; Jeff’s pretending to have cancer so people will take his advice; Larry’s quest to find a laundromat willing to clean the robe of a white supremacist; Larry’s misappropriation of the Japanese sushi chefs’ “irasshaimase” greeting; Stan the prop master being tortured by a full-of-himself actor; and the fantastic and very funny involvement of Alexander Vindman in the finale.
And I haven’t even mentioned Larry and Seth Rogen’s all-time great scene in which they argue about Larry’s opinions on which sexes should do which types of jobs and whether either one of them is an everyman. Jump to 2:15 in the video below to (re)watch this right now:
Come on, that is an all-time great scene.
After enjoying the late, great Bob Einstein’s work for so many years in the show, it was a pleasure that his brother Albert Brooks finally made an appearance. I loved all the business with Mr. Brooks in the season premiere. (I’m just a tad disappointed we didn’t get to see him again! I’d expected him to pop up again towards the end of the season.) I loved Vince Vaughn’s work as a new Funkouser, Freddy Funkhouser, in season ten, and I was glad Mr. Vaughn was back for more fun here in season eleven (such as tangling with Larry after Larry ruins the shirt Freddy lent him). Jon Hamm was my favorite new addition in season ten, and I was happy he was back (albeit only very briefly in the season premiere). It was fun to see Tracey Ullman playing the hideously unappealing Irma Kostroski — she had a surprisingly major role in the back half of the season!! Josh Gad was fun as a doctor with ugly underwear, and Bill Hader was hilarious as three identical men of apparently Eastern European descent: Igor, Timor, and Gregor. (“Shplendid!”)
While I didn’t love her storyline on the show, I was impressed by how well Keyla Monterroso Mejia played the unable-to-act Maria Sofia!! She was so weird and out there! What a hilarious and impressive performance.
I wish we’d seen more of Cheryl Hines and Ted Danson this season, but I enjoyed their scenes. (Watching Cheryl attempt to give acting lessons to Maria Sofia was great.) There was a LOT of great stuff this season for Susie and Jeff, which made me happy. (Though I do continue to find it odd that, in 2021, Jeff can continue to cheat regularly on Susie without suffering many consequences.)
I can’t believe this show started 21 years ago!! May it continue to run for many seasons more.
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