Curb Your Enthusiasm recap: Larry is beloved? This can't last.

Susie Essman, Larry David
Susie Essman, Larry David
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Uh oh: Larry got some positive attention. This whole violating the Election Integrity Act thing has landed him in jail for a brief spell, and thus made the guy a “liberal darling.” In the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, we got to see how craven and Trumpian old Larry could be, concocting multiple simultaneous schemes to get out of trouble for having his backyard pool unfenced. Now it seems the show’s creators have laid the groundwork for Larry to redeem himself after being such an asshole over the years, if he so chooses. It’s final season kind of stuff, if you think about it—the end to an overall arc, a way to end things in a different place from where they began. It’s comforting to watch him be a shithead, in a way, but is it possible to allow him to evolve while keeping things interesting? We’ll find out.

Anyway, we start things off with him in a holding cell, giving a guy named Emmett some dietary advice (to avoid lactose) and telling him about some bougie snacks he loves—and in the process, befuddling the man. Then along comes an attorney who busts him out: one that looks and sounds exactly like Mocha Joe, just with a bushy mustache. Jeff had hired him sight unseen, but recognizes the resemblance instantly when they come face-to-face outside of the precinct upon Larry’s release. This guy’s not going to last long—especially if he starts going on and on about coffee beans for some reason. (He does and he’s fired by the end of the episode.)

Meanwhile, Jeff is still dyeing his hair (something revealed last episode), and Susie has secured them an Airbnb so they can stay in Atlanta through Larry’s first day in court. They learn a few things at this spot: first, Fhat there’s a distasteful Black lawn jockey statue out front; second, that Larry is all over the news for giving Auntie Rae that water and thus violating that law. Joe Scarborough is comparing him to Jesus, then Stacey Abrams pops up to say “Larry David is about action, not words.” Bruce Springsteen says Larry’s middle name is involvement, “Larry ‘Involvement’ David.” People suddenly think Larry’s a good guy, and he’s a little bit in love with it. “This Larry David guy they keep talking about seems like quite a fellow,” he observes.

C+

"The Lawn Jockey"

Season

12

Episode

2

Now here’s where it gets a little out there, even for Curb. Leon shows up and his outrage at the statue convinces them all to at least move it out of sight. And oops—they end up breaking it. Susie’s furious at the thought of having to lose out on the security deposit over this and demands that the boys replace it. (One wonders, can’t she afford to eat the cost?) Then, it’s Susie’s birthday the next day, and as the guys are shopping for her, Larry takes a big dump in a store bathroom, but refuses to purchase something, which would have qualified him as a paying customer, entitled to toilet privileges. Can’t he also afford to just buy a little thing there? I guess maybe the point is that people who have the cash will go to such extreme lengths to avoid paying for things, and that’s fair, I suppose, but it does get in the way a little and makes this feel a little forced.

So Jeff tries to buy Susie two b-day gifts (one as a backup in case she doesn’t like the first) and gets caught via home security cam snatching the hidden second gift to return it, pissing her off. Larry buys a white lawn jockey from a garden supply shop, angering the Black salesperson who helps him there as he asks for black paint or shoe polish to alter its skin color. Larry and Jeff make do painting the jockey’s with Jeff’s hair dye, which fools Susie briefly, until extreme heat cause drips of brown-tinted sweat to fall down the sides of Jeff’s and the jockey’s faces, Giuliani-style. Then they’re off again to find a more accurate replacement for the broken lawn jockey. Larry’s jail buddy Emmett, thrilled with his new dairy-free lifestyle, hooks Larry up with one, satisfying Susie’s demands, but Auntie Rae’s church friends, all set to praise Larry when he shows up at their church barbecue with the jockey in tow, discover the awful statue while placing yummy leftovers in his car, prompting them to turn on him immediately. He hates that.

Turns out being a good guy is inconvenient. It means owning having broken the racist statue in the front yard of your Airbnb rather than hustling to replace it to get the security deposit back. It means giving gifts in the proper spirit and not hoarding a backup to offer if the first gift doesn’t go over well. It means not being a cheap bastard. Larry pleads “not guilty” to help Georgians fight that dumb law, when everything in him wants to just plead guilty and go home, all because he didn’t like how it felt to have everyone mad at him at Auntie Rae’s church’s barbecue. Is this a new Larry David? Succumbing to social pressure and doing the right thing? Probably not, but it’s definitely going to make for an interesting final season.

Stray observations

  • Larry keeps telling everyone he sees about something he read in Scientific American: that because humans have been using their index finger as a shoehorn for thousands of years, it’s going to evolve to become more like a shoehorn. Does that article exist? Nope, but I found something weirder that’s shoehorn related. Will this shoehorn/finger thing come back later this season? Absolutely.

  • Marcona almonds with truffle oil and sea salt does sound “tremendous,” even if that guy Emmett who was in the holding cell with Larry didn’t know “what the fuck” he was talking about.

  • Susie claims that had she not been born, the world would be shit. Larry counters, “If this was that movie with Jimmy Stewart [It’s a Wonderful Life]... and the angel was taking you around, nobody would give a fuck.”

  • Leon’s response to the lawn jockey is pretty good. “Did you fist bump this motherfucker?” he asks when he walks up to the house and sees Jeff and Larry just letting it hang out in the front yard without doing anything about it.

  • “What do you buy a person who already has bullshit like this bullshit?” is a very good Leon quote.

  • The guy Larry pisses off at the garden shop is Lionel Boyce, a.k.a. Marcus from The Bear! We love The Bear! And Boyce is great playing off of Larry in this scene.

  • Auntie Rae smells something burning, and says to Leon, “You better not be throwing no spaghetti up in my ceiling.” His response? “I’m doing the best I can with just Heinz ketchup and spaghetti!”

  • Larry’s little waving-around-the soap maneuver that he does when washing his hands post-poop can’t actually work to cover the stench, right? Have you tried it? Weigh in!