‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by

curb your enthusiasm season 8 premiere review ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

It’s been two whole years, but Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm are finally back with Season Eight and the premiere episode “The Divorce.” As Leon Black would say: It’s time to bring the ruckus.

Curb has, these long seven seasons, been at its best in the off-the-cuff, totally unscripted moments as created by Larry David, Jeff Garlin, and whatever guest star happens to be appearing in a given episode. When everything comes together in these moments – and everything has come together on so many occasions – sheer artistic beauty is crafted in the form of semi-improvisational comedy.

On the other hand, Curb’s least successful moments are the ones that are scripted to the point of being ham-fisted, too coincidental, totally implausible, and frankly, not all that funny. These moments are basically Seinfeld shot with shaky-cam.

This was one of the biggest problems with Season 7: it felt too scripted, too contrived. While there were moments of brilliance and some quality episodes, there were far too many gimmicks and just too much plot for the show’s own good. “Larry decides to do a Seinfeld Reunion for the sole purpose of getting Cheryl to love him again.” It just felt too typically “sitcom-y” for a show known as the “anti-sitcom.” Worse still, it was a downright disappointing follow-up to the perfection that was the Season Six finale. What’s more perfect than the recently-separated Larry David – who has always been socially incompetent when it comes to black people and culture – ending up with the beautiful Loretta Black (Vivica A. Fox) and her family?

But I digress.

The point being: Curb is at its best the less ridiculous it is. And that’s precisely why the first episode of Season Eight – “The Divorce” – works so well. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s one of the better season openers in the show’s history. If there was ever any doubt that Larry David was still at the top of his game after working on this show for over a decade, it’s gone within minutes of watching the season 8 premiere.


larry david and marty funkhouser in curb your enthusiasm ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

After a brief recap of Season 7′s final moments – Cheryl David (as played by Cheryl Hines) leaving Larry for the last time ever – we flash-forward approximately a year into the future to find that Larry is finalizing the divorce. This is welcome news for the audience, because watching Larry continuously scheme his way back into Cheryl’s life would get really boring, really fast.

Thankfully, the regulars are all back in some capacity, including Jeff, Susie, Cheryl, Marty Funkhouser – played by Bob Einstein  (A.K.A. Super Dave Osborne A.K.A. Larry Middleman from Arrested Development) – and, maybe most importantly, Leon Black (J.B. Smoove).

As is typical with episodes that even partially involve the guy, Leon basically owns every scene he’s in here. Despite the fact that his sister, Loretta, left Larry over a year ago, Leon is still living with him in one of the guest rooms. And even though it’s difficult to pinpoint why, there’s just something genuinely heart-warming about seeing Larry and Leon cohabitate together. In some ways, they’re an even better team than Larry and Jeff.

As far as plot and story go, “The Divorce” actually feels somewhat subdued – in a very, very satisfying way, mind you – especially coming on the heels of the “Seinfeld Reunion.” Even the moments that are more “scripted,” artificial, and plot-heavy, feel pretty well polished. One such moment, which involves a girl scout coming to Larry’s house and getting her first period, is just the right amount of awkward and hilarious all rolled together as Larry attempts to talk her through it outside the bathroom door.

Indeed, the season 8 premiere feels kind of like how every few years James Bond goes “back to the basics” by removing all the over-the-top humor and focusing on the grittier, more barebones aspects of the character. This season, Larry David is playing the Daniel Craig/James Bond equivalent of Larry David.

larry david and leon black in curb your enthusiasm ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

J.B. Smoove and Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

There’s even a plot thread that recalls one of the best jokes from Season Three, where Larry hired a chef based solely upon the fact that he, like Larry, was bald. When Larry found out that the chef, in public, hid his baldness under a toupee, he fired him immediately  – leaving Larry and his fellow restaurant investors without a chef at the last minute.

Similarly, in “The Divorce,” Larry believes that he has the best Jewish lawyer – named Berg – in all of L.A. The guy is the best lawyer…he’s just not Jewish. Eventually, Larry finds out that Berg actually went to a Catholic school and has been implying for years that he’s Jewish just to get big clients like Larry. Long story short, Larry fires his Gentile lawyer and hires the nearest Jewish lawyer he can find – landing the worst possible divorce settlement as a result.

All in all, the episode isn’t perfect but it’s an excellent set-up for the coming season, which will take place primarily in New York. At this point, it’s unclear why exactly Larry feels compelled to return to the place of his birth, but I suppose we’ll find that out when we’re meant to.

Expect guest appearances from Ricky Gervais — one of Larry’s favorite comedians — Rosie O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes, and Michael J. Fox, as well as a story that at least partially involves Larry re-entering the dating world.

curb your enthusiasm larry david suspicious stare ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 8 Premiere Review & Discussion

Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sundays @9PM on HBO.

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

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  1. What the hell is this?

    • One of the best comedies on TV.

      • Never heard of it before….:S Is it American?

        • Um, yes Curb is american. It’s a sort of mock documentary of Larry David’s life. He is the creator of Seinfeld (another American sitcommy show from the 90′s) but has been doing this show for the past decade or more. He plays himself. The other characters are mostly fictional (although some of the main characters keep their real first names.) The whole premise is that Larry David has everything but still manages to live an awkward and frustrated life. He is constantly getting himself into social trouble by doing and saying things that most of us wouldn’t (but may want to.)

          • Ok cool. Kinda like Lead Balloon ;)

            • But much much funnier. Definitely recommend it.

  2. Really liked the review. I think its probably the most interesting and spot-on review I’ve ever read about this show. Long Live Larry!

    • Thanks, Detective!

    • I agree. Great review and I can’t wait until he comes to NYC.

  3. Great Review Ben! This episode was HYSTERICAL! and as you pointed out I could not be more THRILLED that they kept moving forward in time, especially in regards to the Divorce settlement. Also like you said, I was not exactly appreciative of how the ending of Season 6 was brought into the beginning of Season 7, although it did lead to one of my favorite Leon/Larry moments when Larry expects Leon to leave too and he’s like “I’ma go upstairs, and eat my chinese food, IN MY ROOM!” and again like you said (we agree on so much) the Leon/Larry dynamic is beyond hysterical. There is definitely some kind of incredible comedic chemistry between those guys. They could have a sitcom all their own.

    I am so looking forward to future episodes. Especially since they were shot here in my hometown! :)

  4. I’m 15 and never watched the show and didnt reeally know who larry david was until last night.My dad and I watched it and laught so much really great show.

    • I envy you that you have so many episodes to catch up on for the first time! I have seen some seasons like 4 times and every season at least twice. You can get through a whole season in an afternoon(10 half hour episodes per season). In fact I think I will start over at season 1 for my cardio viewing pleasure while at the gym!

  5. It’s a really terrific show. The season 8 opening was hysterical, Larry at his usual disfunctional self. I can’t wait to see what disasters he’s going to inspire in New York, it should be really interesting.

  6. Just like with Seinfeld, very few of the main characters have skyrocket careers (besides Jerry) in the world outside the show. Jeff Garlin was booked in a comedy club on a Saturday night in La Jolla last year, and there were maybe 20 people there. His recent star-turn with Sarah Silverman (another true modern mystery- as in “why is this person allowed near a camera?”) in a rom-com was like absorbing a slo-mo gunshot wound. BUT on “Curb”, he’s great. Really great. Precisely because his big-hearted doofus schtick really works in an endearing way next to Larry’s self-obsession, and the dreaded Suzie’s mishegoss, as a very cool “normalizer”. Larry creating a new season is a mitzhav. Here’s hoping it rawks.

    • Hey! Jeff Garlin was in Wall-E!! He’s doing more than just stand-up. lol

  7. The FunkMan is awesome! The episode had its moments. “Interested does not mean ticket….” Hehe

    Glad Leon is still around.

    Jeff is a big Macher. :-)

    Love curb. So happy it is back.

  8. You really had me on this review when you said, “Curb is at it’s best the less ridiculous it is.” Then you lost me when you said the season opener was an example of this. A girl gets her period and tells Larry and he walks her through using a tampon? He gets divorced and doesn’t participate in the proceedings? I love Curb and have loved every episode because it is so funny and clever. I even own most of the dvds and watch them all the time! But this first episode was my least favorite in 8 seasons. It was weak and contrived. But, I will be watching the whole season in hopes for improvement! P.S.: I loved the Seinfeld reunion season!

    • To each his/her own, but having Larry walk a girl through putting on a tampon isn’t the kind of ridiculous I’m talking about. That’s what Larry should be getting into. I agree that him not being involved with the divorce proceedings was a bit of a stretch, but as far as Curb ridiculous goes, that’s on the more believable end of the spectrum.

  9. Curb=Seinfeld rated R. Good review and a real nice season opener.

  10. Not funny. In poor taste. Struggling to offend. He needs to retire or show Seinfeld re-runs. Yeech!

    • Prude.

  11. While I love “Curb,” and am thrilled it’s back, the young-girl-getting-her-period plot line totally creeped me out. I just found that having a 60+ year old man talking a young girl-a stranger-through using a tampon very weird. I watch “Curb” because so much of it IS in bad taste, or pushes the limits, and says aloud what many of us think, but really, I didn’t want those images of that girl with Larry coaching her, in my head.

    • There was something way worse in the previous season, about a rash… you didn’t watch that?

      • funniest show in the history of television.

        • The awkwardness and element of the human condition is what made it funny. Seinfeld and “Curb” are all about the human condition, rules of behavior- shatting where you eat etc.

  12. Just watched the episode “Mister Softee”. My side is still hurting. How can this show keep getting even funnier? I love it.

  13. Bill Buckner episode was the the funniest ever! Tears! Being a Cubs fan. Love Buc!

  14. By far my favorite show on TV. Seinfeld was great but “Curb” is absolutely stellar. The semi-improv format and the semi hand-held cameras give it a real sense of reality. Unfortunately our local station (San Francisco) which has been running daily repeats of past seasons appears to have taken it out of the line up. NO! NO! NO! This cannot be!! What will I do for my Larry fix?! And to think I had never even heard of the show until this year. Anybody know if all the past seasons are available on DVD somewhere? I see HBO has some past seasons but I didn’t see a full collection.

  15. IMO, folks, the absolutely funniest episodes of Curb ever were two from this season. The Palestinian Chicken episode should be must viewing for every American, Israeli, Arab, international diplomat, citizen of the world, & topic for discussion by all member states & interested member states of the UN. It’s an episode where Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) just may have uttered the funniest line in television history when he meets up w/Jeff & Larry for lunch. To fully appreciate the episode, you must be familiar w/the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic center/mosque in downtown Manhattan a few blocks away from the WTC site. If you’re hep to that, tune in & enjoy. I haven’t stopped laughing since viewing the episode several weeks ago. It pops up into my head at random, sometimes awkward moments, & I just lose it.

    A very close second episode requires you remember Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger before a congressional committee & insisting he never used steroids as that is a linchpin to fully understanding & appreciating this 7th episode of season 8 entitled “The Bi-Sexual.” Clearly, baseball fan Larry David takes issue w/the “leveling the playing field” rationalization so many in baseball engaged in during the performance enhancing drug (PED) years, & mines it for another episode that belongs on the Mt. Olympus of comic television viewing. Rosie O’Donnell is the perfect compliment & foil for this 21st century tale of confused & confusing ethics & gender roles. Highest rating: 5 Sheetbows

  16. Great season,
    thank you Larry,

    funny, funny, funny….

    But what about Mac notebooks, a little bit too much, dont you think so.

    Having said that, still a great, great show.

    Greetings from Croatia. Keep up the good work

  17. L.D. should publish a CURB magazine. I could be a great success. I have the experience and successful story behind my sugggestion. Please contact.

    Love Curb. Glad you’re back but it’s Saturday, Feb 16th and your’e not there. Where are you????? I thought your new series was supposted to start today.