Is there a line Larry David won’t cross for the sake of some laughs?
If it’s not Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s, a seven year old’s sexuality, or the Hitler mustache, I doubt that Larry even notices that there’s a line anymore. What would normally be unacceptable behavior in today’s hyper-sensitive society, Larry David dares you to laugh out loud. And I’m much too weak of a person to not laugh.
The season finale, like most Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, wrapped up rather nicely, coming full-circle by recalling an earlier joke — the whole “I need a convenient excuse to get out of a charity event at the Children’s Hospital”. Yeah, they brought it back to much comedic effect.
After introducing us to Greg, the sexually ambiguous son of the woman Larry was seeing last week, and a brief lesson in Nazism, Larry David gets the ball rolling in socially questionable behavior. Let’s start with Greg, an unquestionably effeminate boy who just so happens to be a huge fan of Project Runway, and how Larry shows us just enough to get us thinking about the future orientation of this young boy. It’s been my experience that I’ve found boys with that nice a haircut and that well-spoken at 7 years old are most likely to find themselves liking dick. I’m not judging, I’m just saying.
By teaching this kid the nuances of the Hitler mustache and the Swastika, Larry David plants the seed for a joke that you know will be coming back much later in the episode — much to your delight. And this is how I will remember the genius of this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. The way Larry David and his team were able to craft an episode around 2, maybe 3 social miscues that snowball into some crazy awkward catastrophe, it’s pure gold.
Larry’s date is a pianist. For a piano bar. She’s not really performing, but Larry don’t tell Larry that. Would Larry really not get the difference? I don’t know. I wasn’t really buying this. But anyways, it’s here on this date where Larry has a very unfortunate run-in with everyone’s favorite disabled actor, Michael J. Fox. Not really getting the fact that playing the piano at a piano bar is not the same thing as performing, Larry feels the uncontrollable urge to “shush” all the disrespectful patrons at the venue while his date is banging away at the ivory and black. And that everyone includes Michael J. Fox.
Michael J. Fox, an outspoken leader for Parkinson’s research, humanitarian, philanthropist, and genuine nice guy, doesn’t take too kindly to getting shushed. Larry notices that, but can’t really tell. “Is it the Parkinson’s?” Body language cues are a great way of communicating in today’s society, but what do you do when the person communicating with you is a passive-aggressive shit with uncontrollable shakes? Well, if you were Larry David you make sure you go out of your way to confront the man!
With Leon having become Larry’s go-to advice giver, Larry proceeds to get into “an even-stevens, fair fight” where Michael J. Fox uses his “sickness of his brain” as a convenient way to excuse his passive-aggressive behavior. This doesn’t really hold up to LD’s “eye-test”, but what’s he to do? Can’t physically hurt the man. He’s handicapped! Not to mention he’s got the entire world on his side. No one, and I mean no one, seems to have anything against Michael J. Fox. Larry quickly finds himself on the losing side of that battle.
And for the final thread, we have Jeff trying to convince Susie that he would indeed take a bullet for her. Of course, Susie doesn’t believe him. Also, she doesn’t think the birthday gift Larry got the maybe gay Greg was acceptable. Larry got the kid a sewing machine. That’s pretty gay. So Larry decides to try again and get him another gift, probably a musical instrument — “Definitely staying away from the harp and maybe the flute”.
In the end we see Larry tie up all the loose ends in a hilarious sequence of crash and burn. It’s all very funny and for the final hat-trick, Larry somehow finds a way to get run out of the only city where loons are welcomed with open arms. Even Mayor Bloomberg makes an impassioned plea for the much-maligned LD to leave.
And leave he does. Off to Paris, with a beret rocking Leon!
And let me not forget to mention the elevator scene. This was by far one of my favorite scenes of the season. So true to real life and yet it pushed it to the limits because who actually has an argument with the asshole who pushes two buttons on the elevator? Ha!
And good for Michael J. Fox for making us laugh at his disease.
Until next season, LD!