I didn’t realize how much I’d missed Curb Your Enthusiasm until Larry David greeted a Girl Scout who asked if he wanted to buy some cookies with a genial, “I find them abhorrent but come on in!” It was as though he was beckoning us to join him as well. Back for another season of intentional insults and carefully constructed accidents that result in Larry’s agony, Curb began its eighth season with a few superb mix-ups and at least one classic moment.
Yes, Larry was still in the process of finalizing his divorce from Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). Yes, he was still hanging out with Jeff (Jeff Garlin), and putting up with Jeff’s abrasive wife Susie (Larry to Susie, entering wearing a chic camouflage print dress: “Good afternoon, General Petraeus”). Yes, Larry was still inadvertently making life miserable for Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein). And, yes, Larry continues to trade in stereotypes so deeply ingrained in the character that by this point, it barely seemed offensive that our hero would simply assume that discovering his lawyer wasn’t Jewish, but merely passing as a Jew was an automatic disaster. (Nice job, Paul F. Thompkins.)
But the stand-out, ultra-Larry moment in the season opener proved to be the scene in which Larry was compelled to instruct the Girl Scout, played by Justified’s Kaitlyn Dever, how to use a tampon. Everything about the scene worked. The perfectly silly but logical set-up that ended up placing the kid behind a bathroom door as Larry shouted instructions to the 13 year-old girl getting her first period was impeccable. (This was HBO’s truest blood this week.)
David’s physical and verbal fumbling throughout the scene was that marvelous combination of half-amateur-actor, half-comedy-pro performance style that can make him funnier than comic actors far more smooth and skilled.
If David can sustain the fine asperity he mustered here for the rest of the new Curbs, we’ll have a season that might match the Seinfeld reunion episodes last season, and carry Larry to new highs of lowness.