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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The TiVo Guy"

Illustration for article titled Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The TiVo Guy"
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Illustration for article titled Curb Your Enthusiasm: "The TiVo Guy"

By my calculations, this week's episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm was supposed to be a death-isode–and what a beautiful, wonderous, magical death it was! Larry and Cheryl's marriage, a relationship that had been hobbling on its last legs for the entire season, was finally put out of its misery last night, thanks to a lethal combination of the TiVo guy, in flight turbulance, Larry's hilarious insensitivity, Cheryl's lack of patience, and a guy who makes no-fly underwear.

As a someone who has long felt that Cheryl is a black hole of all-consuming annoyingness, I, for one, could not be more giddy. And with everyone choosing sides in the separation–Funkhouser and Ted Danson have already been annexed for Cheryl–it seems as if a large scale battle of good versus evil (or annoying versus non-annoying, or tedious versus funny) regular characters is brewing. In other words, it's a good time to be a CYE viewer.

Of course, Larry and Cheryl's marriage isn't officially dead yet, but Cheryl is out of the house, and already the show feels rejuvenated–even though the dynamic between Larry and Cheryl hasn't changed all that much, it's just become more defined. After all, Larry and Cheryl have always been enemies to some degree, but now their mutual animosity is sharper, more focused, and, naturally, much funnier. The break-up fight, for example, was great–peppered with the angry indignation, social cluelessness, and small, hilarious details that Larry David does so well. Only Larry would further argue his point about imitation crab meat when his wife says she's leaving him because he chit-chats about things like crab meat during sex; or try to talk her out of leaving by pointing out that he carries mints, tissue, and a pen (the three cornerstones of masculinity) on him at all times.

The episode did have its share of sad moments–the shot of Larry in bed alone, a dejected Larry wandering into Jeff and Susie's house, Larry eating by himself at a table for two–but more often than not those moments became mere set-ups for jokes, like Larry's fight with Susie, and his revenge on the guy with the bluetooth headset. More than anyone, Larry knows how to mine misery for comedy–on Curb finding humor in dark situations is practically a science. Which is why Cheryl leaving Larry is probably the soon-to-be-funniest thing that's ever happened to him.

Let's hope they don't get back together next week.

Grade: A

Stray Observations

—Larry David, master pick-up artist: "I'm not a cool guy, but I would love to waste your time for a couple of hours."

—Cheryl Tivos every episode of Barefoot Contessa? In that case, Larry was definitely the patient one in the relationship.

—Aside from their comedic function, another reason for Larry adopting The Blacks has become clear: so that he wouldn't transform into a depressing figure, living all alone in the house when Cheryl left. Many people have said that the fact that Larry had a wife softened his character, but, of course, so does the fact that he lives with his own family of hurricane refugees.

—The twisted balls thing: 1. Could that happen? and 2. Does it really matter?

—"You know what I have on my wall? Pictures of all my dry cleaners."