‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: Can’t take my eyes off of you

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This week’s episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ had Larry once again encountering some ethical land mines in pursuit of (his own) happiness, but Larry isn’t always on the side of the angels, even when he attempts to do the Right Thing.

Let’s take a look at the little things that got under Larry’s skin this week and whether it was Larry or the rest of humanity who was truly at fault.

The Airplane Shorts. Larry took offense to the clothing choice of his seatmate on a recent flight, berating the man for wearing shorts and forcing Larry to stare at his hairy legs during a five-hour flight. Sure, airplanes are claustrophobic spaces; we’re forced to spend time surrounded by strangers and those people can get on our nerves in unexpected ways. But I think it was totally wrong for Larry to say something to Mr. Shorts, who defended his sartorial choice by saying that they’re comfortable. It’s not like the man was deliberately provoking Larry or causing him physical discomfort through his actions. No-brainer on this one. Larry: 0. Humanity: 1.

Dialing Dr. Morrison. After burning his hand on an airplane hot towel (those things are killer), Larry forced his doctor (guest star Philip Baker Hall) to give him his home number, saying that it would make him feel better. Reluctantly, Dr. Morrison agreed, with the stipulation that Larry not ever call him at home. One cellphone misdial later, Dr. Morrison screamed at Larry for disturbing him at home after he clearly told him never to call there. Which is understandable but, hello, Larry called him by mistake. There was no reason for Dr. Morrison to freak out the way that he did and Larry was clearly in the right here. Larry: 1. Humanity 1. (That said, Larry showing up at Dr. Morrison’s house later on was decidedly not OK, so our total sinks back down to Larry: 0, Humanity 1.)


A Gift From the Heart. Poor Sammy. Jeff and Susie’s daughter got an earful when her caterwauling -- a rendition of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You’ that happened to be Jeff and Susie’s anniversary present to Ted Danson and Mary Steenbergen -- sent Larry up the wall in a state of auditory agony. Was Larry in the right when he cut off Sammy, no matter how poor her singing skills? Hell no. Especially given that she’s a kid and the entire incident mortified her, a situation compounded when he started swearing at her to shut up later in the episode. A major shocker. Larry: 0. Humanity: 2

The Anniversary Present. Once you give someone a present, it’s out of your hands, even if the giver in question is the curmudgeonly Larry David. His generous anniversary gift to Ted and Mary -- a $300 gift certificate to an Italian restaurant where they sing operatic arias during dinner -- was just that: generous. But there are no strings attached with gifts. One can’t expect the recipient to take you to dinner and Ted and Mary were totally justified to take Jeff and Susie out for dinner on Larry’s dime. His meltdown at the restaurant was totally uncalled for and just plain rude. Larry: 0. Humanity: 3.

Christian vs. the Caviar. If there’s one thing Larry excels at, it’s keeping track of when other people break moral or ethical rules of conduct. I’m siding with Larry on the issue of the overindulgence of caviar and, while I may not have confronted Christian Slater directly, Larry is correct: It’s rude to stand over the most expensive item on the buffet and gorge at the expense of your hosts. As for telling Mary, she confronted Larry and asked him if he was the one scarfing the caviar like it was going out of style, so why shouldn’t he point the finger of blame to the true culprit? Score one for Larry. Larry: 1. Humanity: 3.

The Angry Boyfriend. This week, Larry reconnected with an old flame, Mary Jane Porter (Sherry Stringfield), and reentered the dating scene after his breakup with Loretta. While he had some trouble picking up his old tricks (it’s not easy to unhook a bra with a burned hand), he didn’t quite expect that Mary Jane had a boyfriend and a jealous one at that. Here, Larry is completely in the clear; Mary Jane should have told him that she was in a relationship, even if he didn’t ask her directly. What followed was an attempt on Larry’s part to escape bodily injury at the hands of MJ’s beau, an effort that led him to Dr. Morrison’s house, Ted and Mary’s, and finally Jeff and Susie’s. And then back at the Italian restaurant, he’s sold down the river by a vengeful Christian Slater. Ouch. Larry 2. Humanity: 3.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Was Larry in the wrong or in the right for the most part? And would you have freaked out at Ted and Mary? Speak out in the comments section below!

-- Jace Lacob (follow my musings on television, food, and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)

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