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Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The Black Swan"

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"Mother of Larry, an asshole and a swan-killer"

In tonight's episode, Larry steps away from the Seinfeld non-reunion and into the world of his country club, a world where we quickly discover he's something of a don. He plays by his own rules—taking calls in the cell-phone-free dining room, refusing to add an additional tip to the gratuity-included bill, yelling at the slow players on the green—and is given a wide berth by most of the other members. But while a don would be given special treatment out of fear of retribution, Larry is allowed to do basically whatever he wants because he's so unpleasant, no one wants to deal with him.


Then, as a don would, Larry kills Norm. Well, not exactly. Larry yells at the glacially-paced Norm on the golf course ("You're inconsiderate!"), causing Norm to yell back ("No, you're inconsiderate!"), which raises Norm's blood pressure, precipitating the heart attack that kills him. At least, that's the theory Norm's friend posits to Larry in the locker room after Norm dies on the course. Does Larry have remorse for yelling at Norm? Uh, no. Just as a don would, Larry has no remorse for his victims. ("Did you even like him?" the friend asks. "No. I thought he was a prick.") And according to Fat Boy, Funkhouser, and Andy, Norm very much is a victim of Larry's—maybe the first person to be killed by assholery! In a hilarious exchange, Fat Boy, Funkhouser, and Andy all trade off absolving then condemning Larry in a single sentence: "Look, it may have been an accident, but you're a murderer." "It's involuntary manslaughter. You didn't mean to kill him, but you killed him." "Look, I'm not pointing fingers but you killed him." Ha.

But Larry does have some remorse. Just a smidge. Perhaps still stinging from being called an involuntary manslaughterer, and from appearing ungenerous to the waiter at breakfast (math really does ruin everything), that night at dinner Larry tells Andy and his amateur milliner wife that he'll gladly pay for their daughter Skylar to go to college (after all, the hats certainly aren't gonna pay for it). Larry's generous streak is shortlived, though, because by the next afternoon he's (hilariously) killed the black swan, forced his friends to help him bury it (which they do, under a sprinkling of leaves), and sworn his crew to complete secrecy. "We're a foursome here. We're in this together. No wives."

As any don would, Larry leads his crew with an iron fist, or, more accurately, a harsh whisper, a butter knife, and a steely raised eyebrow. When Andy is wavering at lunch, sickened with the thought of their swan-killing, Larry admonishes him in a whisper-yell, "Swan killers leave. People who aren't swan killers stay, enjoy themselves. Get to know the members. Socialize a little!" And later when Mr. Tagahashi rounds up the David crew for a line-up in his office ("What else you not respect…beautiful black swan?!"), Larry makes sure that Funkhouser keeps his mouth shut by glaring at him.

Of course, no one takes Larry the swan-killing crime boss seriously. By the next day, Jeff is sending Larry an email about confessing, Andy's already told his wife, and there are shakedowns left and right. First, Andy and his wife attempt to shake down Larry for cosmetology school tuition, because, see, what if Skylar becomes a drug addict or something, and Andy's wife has such a talent for lotions, and non-swan-killing people would do it! Larry threatens to kill Andy's wife's closet full of hats ("The blue one. The orange one. The one with the cockleshells. The red one you're making for that goddamn stonemason." Is there a better litany of hat types?) if she breaks her silence about the swan-killing. That's not the only attempted shakedown of the day for Larry, though. At Norm's memorial service, the waiter finds Larry's blackberry (complete with incriminating email) after Larry throws it across the room, and then gives it back to Larry saying, "I hope you like my service." At lunch, Larry throws math woes to the wind and leaves a $500 tip on top of the 18% gratuity.


In the end, though, the truth about Larry's swan-killing doesn't come out because of the betrayal of one of his crew members. Well, not directly anyway. No, Larry's swan-killing comes to light because of a Derek-Jeter-hating stonemason, a vengeful milliner, and Larry's own rule about the stupid social convention of always introducing everyone to everyone else (Larry's rule? No introductions.) "Mother of Larry, an asshole and a swan-killer." And to think, Larry could have saved $100 just by having the stonemason write, "Moth of Larry, an asshole and a swan-killer."

Stray Observations: (Almost all-quotes edition)

—"Past Away." Even before the stonemason's revenge, Larry's mom's headstone was hilarious. And sad.


—"Would you please finish shoveling that shit in your fucking face?"

—Larry is at his best when interacting with waiters: "Don't make me do math at the table." "So you're protesting math?" "Exactly."


—"How's your wife?" "Fuck you, Norm!"

—"I'm gonna make you a thank you hat!" "Don't make me a thank you hat."

—Andy muttering "Oh it's horrible. It's horrible" as they were carting off the dead black swan was hilarious. That whole scene was hilarious.


—"You lost a little face didn't ya? Got your face back?"

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