This week’s entry of Curb is a fun introduction to next week’s big finale. With the cast of Seinfeld at the rehearsal table, it feels like old home week- a renuion of friends you missed. You not only enjoy seeing them, you’re intrigued by how they have changed.
Curb begins on a perfect recreation of the Seinfeld set.
“I didn’t know Cheryl was an actress. What’s she done?” Julia asks.
“She’s done some stuff. I don’t know exactly what,” is Larry’s awkward reply.
“This is strong stuff- you done good,” Jason Alexander tells Larry about the script, and he is also curious about how Larry’s ex-wife Cheryl got the part as George’s ex-wife.
“Cheryl was the best,” Larry says.
“Who was second best?”
The plot of the reunion, which is presented in snippets, is fun: George talks about an I-Phone that locates a bathroom anywhere in the world that he invented. But the perpetually ne’er do well George invested and lost all his money with Bernie Madoff.
“You gave Madoff all your money?”
“All of it.”
They are at their best when they take life’s great tragedies and poke fun at them.
Even recurring character, bad comedian Kenny Bania (Steve Hytner) is affected by the recession- he tells Jerry- “it’s tough out there.”
“You weren’t working in the good economy,” Jerry snarkily replies.
“Ex-wife Cheryl explains that she met Madoff on the street. “He was wearing a quilted jacket with collar up- it creeped me out- so I withdrew all the money. I did quite well”- which infuriates George who claims that it was half his money.
Larry is unnerved by George’s constant scratching with the pen he borrowed from Larry. “The pen was in every orifice of your body,” he tells George. “You don’t loan Jason anything that can be inserted,” Jerry tells Larry.
When Larry demands a replacement pen and George gives him a regular pen, the banter between Larry and Jason continues with subtext abounding:
“It’s not an eye for a lesser eye, it’s an eye for an eye,” Jason says.
“This pen is almost blind compared to my eye,” Larry replies
Watching the two of them go at each other is like watching Larry in stereo.
The snippets of dialogue of the “reunion show” were fun as well:
“It would help if he knew who his real father was,” Elaine tells Jerry.
“Clark Kent didn’t know who his father was till he was 16,” Jerry says.
“His planet was destroyed,” she replies.
And no Seinfeld reunion would be complete without a “Hellooooo Newman!”
Kramer brings in a black hooker who will get him into the carpool lane (art imitating reality imitating art, perhaps).
In another subplot, Michael Richards believes he has a disease and cannot focus on the show. Larry knows someone who has the same disease, Danny Duberstein, and offers to introduce him to Richards. When Larry learns that Duberstein passed away a few months ago, he gets Leon to pretend to be Duberstein.
In a laugh out loud moment, Richards opens the door in horror to see Leon.
“Please don’t hurt me. It was three years ago, I didn’t mean it,” referring to his racial slurs at a comedy club and the appropriate retribution he still receives for it.
“Duberstein, that’s a Jewish name?”
“I was adopted by some lovely Jews.”
“And you were bar mitsvahed?”
“Three times. The last time in Atlantic City.”
“I thought you only get one bar mitsvah when you’re 13?
“No, you get one every 13 years, so you can recharge your batteries.”
“Everything I ate tasted like peaches and I forgot how to multiply,” Leon tells him about the disease.
And we close with Larry about to get falsely arrested for child molestation.
See you next week for the big finale.
Eddy Friedfeld is a film and entertainment journalist and the co-author of “Caesar’s Hours” with Sid Caesar and teaches the history of comedy in America at Yale and NYU.