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Curb Your Enthusiasm Review: November 1, 2009

by  Eddy Friedfeld

November 2, 2009 | 3:04 am

This week’s relatively tame installment begins at the cemetery where Larry is at his mother’s grave with his father and cousin Andy (the great Shelley Berman and equally great Richard Kind).

The tombstone reads “Past Away.”  “I know how to spell it-it’s $50 a letter- I wanted to save money,” Larry’s Dad tells him.

Larry offers to spring for the 100 bucks to remedy the error.

At their golf club, Andy orders the omelet with the well done onions against Larry’s direction and the extra ten minutes causes them to lose their foursome spot to a slower team.

Caught talking on his cell phone in violation of club rules, Larry lies about his father having quadruple bypass surgery to Mr. Takahashi, the owner of the club.

Yet another debate over tipping ensues, with Larry protesting an 18% percent built-in tip included and doesn’t want to add an extra tip

“Don’t make me do math at the table,” Larry says.

“So you’re protesting math,” the waiter says.

Larry’s foursome, which includes Jeff, Andy, and the fabulously droll Funkhauser, is stuck behind the slow team, which prompts a yelling match with Norm (the legendary Paul Masursky in a fun cameo).

Back in the locker room, Larry is admonished, “You don’t yell at someone with high blood pressure- they die.” Which is exactly what happened to Norm.

“I heard so many stories about you when I joined this club and I can’t believe that so many stories were true about one person.”

“You’re a murderer, Larry, at least guilty of Manslaughter,” Funkhauser tells him.

Andy’s wife makes hats so she can pay for her daughter Skylar to go to college.  Larry graciously offers to pay Skylar’s college tuition.

A subsequent phone debate with stone mason devolves into whether Derek Jeter is overpaid.

Back on the golf course, Larry swings his club at an approaching swan and kills it.  The swan is Mr. Takjahashi’s pet. 

Takahashi interrogates the standing foursome and gives Larry Larry’s own patented stare of incredulity.

You’re stupid,” he tells Jeff.

“I’m not stupid.”

“Yes you are- you marry a big mouth wife.”

Andy asks Larry if he would put his wife through cosmetology school.  “She’s great with lotions.”

“A generous offer to pay for daughter’s college education and now you’re asking me to pay for cosmetology school.”  (I find it better when Larry is the rare reactor, not the instigator of socially inappropriate behavior).

And of course, at Norm’s funeral Larry badmouths the stonemason in front of the stonemason.

Larry gets an email from Jeff- he wants him to come clean about the swan.  At Norm’s funeral service Larry can’t turn cell phone off and tosses it to the back of the room.  The phone is retrieved by the waiter who reads Jeff’s email and which is followed by an 18% tip shakedown.

“A man who can give such a generous tip can never kill a swan,” Takahashi says.

And just when Larry is about to get away with it, there is a great close- to the newly altered tombstone by the vengeful stonemason.

For die-hard sitcom trivia fans- Takahashi was also Arnold’s real name from Happy Days.

See you next week.

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.

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