Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm 8.5 'Vow of Silence'

“…This is chaos, society can’t function like this…” – Larry


It’s taken half the season but finally it looks as though Larry is off to New York in the much anticipated move a lot of this season’s hype centred around.

And in typical Larry David fashion his trip to New York is born entirely out of a lie and his attempt to avoid a charity event, so instead of giving up one afternoon of his time he’s having to alter three months worth of plans and relocate – that’s our Larry.

Larry’s willingness to take his lie to the extent he did may seem unreasonable but for the most part during the rest of the episode Larry made a lot of sense.

His frustration at a driver parking over two spaces I think everyone can empathise with as that is also a pet hate of mine. His analysis of a woman performing a “cut and chat” at a buffet line was spot on and evoked brilliant memories of the “stop and chat” Larry coined back in the show’s infancy; and his irritation with Lewis for insisting on a confirmation even though they’d made plans seemed completely justified.

Of course there was also his inappropriate line of questioning to Jeff’s vet’s wife, the fact he and Jeff made Jeff’s poor dog Oscar miss his last meal and ultimately driving Vance to break his vow of silence, so I guess these things kind of balance out in the end.

Everything came together spectacularly in those final few moments yet again as every one of the episode’s threads knotted together and really elicited a big laugh which made the episode end on a high that it never really got close to previously.

We’ve been spoiled so far with a couple of outstanding episodes such as ‘Palestinian Chicken’ and last week’s ‘The Smiley Face’ but ‘Vow of Silence’ was quite low on the laughs for the most part until those closing scenes.

Maybe that’s because the episode did have a job to do, unlike most Curb episodes, as circumstances had to conspire to get Larry on that plane to New York with Jeff and Susie and perhaps mapping that progression out took away a few opportunities for jokes and punch-lines.

When a show has maintained a level of consistency like Curb has for so many years your expectations are obviously sky high every week but it also means you can also forgive the odd blip, such as a largely laughless episode like this.

Given the episode’s title and the time spent establishing his vow of silence it was clear Vance would be integral to the episode in someway as it reached its climax and it didn’t disappoint. I would’ve never pegged him as the offending parker but it all tied together beautifully as he took great delight in breaking his vow to grass up Larry and Jeff for eating Oscar’s last meal.

All of which was followed by a great cut from Susie expressing her relief that moving to New York would mean no Larry for three months to Jeff and Susie on the plane with Larry – eating another tub of Oscar’s beloved Pinkberry no less – sat directly across from them.

As if that wasn’t enough the final shot of the episode was Richard Lewis sat alone in the restaurant stood up by Larry after being promised of Larry’s attendance.

New York next week then, it may have taken a while but surely Larry’s return to the Big Apple will be worth the wait.

A Hail of Bullets:

- Always great to see the legend that is Michael McKean in anything but it’s especially great when it’s something as fantastic as Curb.

I like it how they brought back the Tessler character without bothering to dole out loads of exposition to remind you who he was, it felt like a nice way to reward long term fans of the show.

It certainly felt like Tessler knew Larry was lying to him and was intentionally sticking it to him by renting Renny Harlin’s apartment to him for his stay in ‘New York’, which is not only a satisfyingly karmic way of getting Larry to NYC, but a nice nod to the show’s long history as well.

- Also guest-starring in ‘Vow of Silence’ was Rich ‘Harry Crane from Mad Men’ Sommer, although he didn’t really have that big of a role in the episode which surprised me. The way he was introduced seemed to suggest that he’d be a big part of the episode but ultimately didn’t appear much at all.

- I’m going to have to agree with Larry in questioning how Sammi managed to get in to Juilliard – I certainly haven’t forgotten that performance in season seven’s ‘The Hot Towel’.

- No Leon again in this episode and he didn’t appear to be on the plane with Larry at the end of the episode – I certainly hope that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of him this season.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 continues in the UK Sunday @ 11.05pm on More4.


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