Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm 8.6 'The Hero'

“I wonder what Sully would have done if he was in my shoes…” – Larry


The subject of far more hype and advertising than Curb usually gets on these shores due to the Ricky Gervais guest appearance, ‘The Hero’ was probably the most anticipated episode of Curb’s eighth season on both sides of the pond, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The episode kicked off where we left off at the end of last week’s episode, with Larry on the plane opposite Jeff and Susie shovelling fro-yo in to his mouth. Predictably, at least in the post divorce era, for Curb who should end up sat next to Larry but an attractive woman who, again predictably, he didn’t exactly hit it off with straight away.

I love the fact that even when presented with a beautiful woman, Larry won’t let something as trivial as her drink being on his half of the arm rest slide.

Coupled with his ice-breaking discussion about his long shoe laces, Larry wasn’t exactly winning over his glamorous seat neighbour; that is until he went to the toilet and ended up inadvertently tackling an abusive drunken passenger.

How else would Larry end up doing something that heroic other than by tripping over his aforementioned shoe laces? Of course Larry was then revered by the passengers and the stewardess as a hero and as one would expect, he milked it for all it’s worth.

Donna, his seat neighbour suddenly found Larry a lot more appealing and once they touched down in New York they began seeing each other. It’s kind of wrongly appropriate that Larry was being hailed a hero in the city that has seen thousands of them.

The remainder of the episode was filled with Larry clashing with Ricky Gervais, playing an even more pretentious version of himself than the one he often portrays during interviews and the like.

Jeff was keen to sign Gervais but Larry and then Susie managed to conspire to ruin his courtship with a little help from a nosy waiter played by ex-Daily Show correspondent Dan Bakkedahl.

The scenes with Larry and Gervais were just great and the instant spark in their verbal jousting was a joy to watch. Of course everyone knows that Gervais holds Larry David as one of his all time heroes so hearing him call Seinfeld “broad comedy” was very funny.

Gervais appeared to be channelling a bit of David Brent as he and Larry constantly clashed over money, with Gervais brilliantly telling Larry at one point “you gave me wine, I gave you art” after Gervais made Larry pay for his ticket to the play he was in.

As soon as the waiter appeared next to Larry and Jeff as they talked about disturbing Gervais during his play it was obvious it would be him who informed Ricky and scuppered Jeff’s chances, but although that felt like the end the actual end was one of those surreal moments of genius that make Larry David the comedy God that he is.

Spotting Gervais out with Donna, Larry followed them clutching the Italian bread that everyone, especially Gervais, had previously mocked at Susie’s dinner party. Upon seeing them being mugged what else could Larry possibly have used as a weapon to fend off the mugger than the hard bread?

It would have been wrong for any episode of Curb to end with Larry getting the last laugh though so as he stood proud talking down to a cowering Gervais it felt kind of poetic that his shoelace was caught in the subway car door.

‘The Hero’ was another fantastic episode from a season Curb that has largely been nigh on perfect.

Ricky Gervais was a brilliant guest star, throwing himself in to the role of the accentuated version of himself with great gusto and really proving a worthy adversary to Larry.

It’s good to finally see Larry in New York, and with regular characters like Jeff and Susie also there, having pretty much destroyed LA over the previous seven and a half seasons there are surely a plethora of new people for him to offend in the Big Apple.

If episode one of the Curb New York run is anything to go by then this relocation for Larry David could incredibly make season eight even better than it already is.

A Hail of Bullets:

- A lot of people would have obviously been excited to see Ricky Gervais in this episode, and great as he was, I was actually more excited to see Chris Parnell show up.

Unfortunately though Parnell was given very little to do and I felt more could’ve been built on his and Larry’s interaction at the dinner party other than having his wife yell at Larry for his inappropriate questions.

- In addition to Gervais, Parnell and Dan Bakkedahl, other notable guest stars in this episode were Michael Mulheren who used to play the chief on Rescue Me and Samantha Mathis as Donna who was in Broken Arrow and played Princess Daisy in the dire Mario Bros. big screen adaptation.

- Larry’s social rule enforcement wasn’t that strong in this episode really. I appreciated his correction of the location of Donna’s drink when she “encroached” on to his side of the arm rest and he was right to pick holes in the logic of Susie’s pretentious dinner party but beyond that it was really only his battle of wits with Gervais that occupied his time.

As covered above, Gervais was the perfect foil for Larry and Curb excels when everyone on the show can’t see Larry’s problem with something but as an audience we can. Gervais was clearly in the wrong socially right from the start, but as the antagonist he has to be; Larry being right but unable to convince everyone else of it is the comedy utopia the show strives for and it works so well when they get it right.

- How awesome was that view of New York’s famous skyline from Larry’s bedroom window? That’s a view I dream of having from my property one day.

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


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