Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Seventh Season (DVD Review)4 Jun, 2010 By: John Latchem
$39.98 two-DVD set
Stars Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards, Julie Louis-Dreyfus.
The idea of a TV reunion is always a double-edged sword. Fan interest in a new installment of a popular show can be a relentless clarion call. Yet creatively, it often proves best to leave well enough alone.
The sentiments are summed up best by Jerry Seinfeld during a guest appearance in the seventh season of HBO’s critically acclaimed “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
“We already screwed up one finale,” Seinfeld says. “We can’t do another.”
Yes, the overwhelming storyline of season seven is the infamous “Seinfeld” reunion show that could only be done within the meta-reality of “Curb,” which focuses on the everyday misadventures of “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, who plays a caricature of himself.
Certainly, many fans felt the 1998 coda of the classic sitcom “Seinfeld” left a lot to be desired, which is where “Curb” comes in 12 years later. It’s something of a spoof of the reunion-show concept, really.
Larry agrees to do the reunion as an excuse to create a part for his ex-wife (Cheryl Hines), hoping to impress her enough to get back together with him. Then the floodgates open, as the original “Seinfeld” cast signs on.
The only question is whether the unfortunate tendencies “Curb” has of meandering ad-libs and awkward beats would get in the way. For the most part, “Seinfeld” fans won’t be disappointed, as the zany spirit of the old show is ever-present. They rebuilt the old sets and give us about five minutes of new “Seinfeld” material. The so-called plot involves George being ripped off by Bernie Madoff and trying to get back with his ex-wife so he can recover some of the money he lost to her in a divorce. It’s just enough to get a sense of an update without officially selling out.
Not surprisingly, the “Seinfeld” motif dominates the DVD, with no less than four behind-the-scenes featurettes devoted to the premise.
But the master stroke has to rank among the greatest in-jokes ever portrayed, as Larry David briefly finds himself playing George, a character that was based on him. The scenario defies you to wrap your mind around it: It’s Larry David the actor-writer-comedian playing the “Curb” version of Larry David, doing an impersonation of Jason Alexander playing George, who is an echo of the original Larry. In some bizarre universe, I guess that counts as coming full circle.