A while back I said that the best Curb episodes, like this season's "Vehicular Fellatio," form a complete full circle. Those episodes are almost like a comedy ourobourous, and, for me at least, they're usually the best to watch: surprising, funny, inventive. The fun in the ourobourous episodes is that you know the snake is going to eat its tail—you know that vacuum-sealed packaging is going to surface again at the end of the episode, for example, or you know that you'll see Officer Krupke again—but you're just not sure exactly how it'll happen. Tonight's episode was just one of those full circle episodes, but something about it just felt, well, off.
I think my disappointment in the episode hinges on the fact that so much of the episode hinged on the "I'm Larry David and I enjoy wearing women's underwear" joke. Much of this depends on an individual's personal humor barometer, but I just don't think seeing Larry David in pink panties is that great of a comedic payoff. It's a gag that sounds funny, that in theory seems like it would be funny, but then when you see it, eh, it's just kinda silly. The sight of Larry David in pink panties just fell flat—which is a shame because as soon as Fat Boy told Larry that, in order to keep Susie's wrath at bay, Larry had to pretend to wear women's underwear, we knew that the image of Larry in ladies panties was going to pop up on our TVs before the half-hour was up.
In fact, I found the build-up to the grand finale sight of Larry in all his be-pantied glory much funnier than the sight itself. There were a lot of hilarious exchanges in that build up: Susie's look of complete disgust when regarding Larry's behind; Larry fidgeting his underwear in front of Susie; The acting pep talk that Fat Boy gave Larry ("You're Larry David and you like comfort in women's panties.")
And there were a lot of hilarious, non-panties-related exchanges in this episode as well. In general, when it comes to plotlines about things that Larry wears on the lower half of his body, I thought the Banana Republic pants plotline to be a funnier one. From "Seriously, what's worse than trying on pants?" to Larry wearing the pants to the Seinfeld reunion auditions the next day, to Jerry commenting, "Why hold a hat when you could just wear the hat?," to Larry's spectacular fight with the Banana Republic sales clerk ("I won't call you Hester!" is the ultimate Scarlet-Letter-related comeback and should be used in all future fights that reference The Scarlet Letter), it was clearly the more hilarious plotline. Even the sight of Larry wearing khakis with the security tag still attached is somehow funnier than Larry in hot pink panties. Go figure.
But, of course, tonight's episode wasn't all about pants and panties. It was also about Larry meeting a real-life Officer Krupke, giving him an excuse to sing West Side Story at the top of his lungs while tooling around in his Prius—also a pretty funny sight. And it was also about Larry "pissing on the buds" who were running a lemonade stand by Jeff & Susie's house—although the way those kids cursed ("Bald asshole!") at Larry during their fight, those buds are pretty much already soaking in urine anyway. Exposure to an asshole like Larry probably only made those asshole kids stronger.
And then there was Cheryl, and the auditions, and the alleged threesome, and Virginia's mysterious neck pains. It was nice to see a lil' bit of advancement on the Seinfeld non-reunion, especially when it involves seeing Cheryl audition for the part of George's wife using a script from her own life with Larry. And it was weird to see Elizabeth Shue play an actress named Virginia instead of an actress named Elizabeth Shue. (Jerry's "It's not a real plane. It's not a real show. It's not a real story!" rang very true.) Still, maybe Elisabeth Shue didn't want to play "Elisabeth Shue" because then Larry would have theorized that "Elisabeth Shue" hurt her neck performing cunnilingus on Cheryl—and sometimes, when it comes to slightly risque things like threesomes, and part-trannie proclivities, it's easier playing a character than it is to play yourself. Just look at the character of "Larry David," noted panties-wearer ("I'm Larry David. I happen to enjoy wearing women's panties.").
—Cheryl's nice and all, but I miss Leon.
—"'Hey, Officer Krupke, Krup you!' Has anyone ever said that to you?" "No. Some guy told me to go fuck my face once. He went to jail."
—Incidentally, Larry should release a one-man West Side Story album. I bet his version of "I Feel Pretty" is phenomenal.
—"We all know there are only two ways to hurt your neck: One is a car accident. The other's cunnilingus."
—So if Elizabeth Shue doesn't exist, in the world of Curb Your Enthusiasm who starred in Adventures In Babysitting?