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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iCurb Your Enthusiasm /itries to make us question Timothy Olyphant’s inherent likability
Screenshot: Curb Your Enthusiasm
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You’re not going to get me to say anything bad about Mickey Larry.”

Well, here we are competing with the Oscars broadcast and Parasite’s historic win. This is fine, it’s totally fine—just like tonight’s episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

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Although “Artificial Fruit” ended with a bit of a cliffhanger and a typical conundrum for Larry, “You’re Not Going To Get Me To Say Anything Bad About” dispenses with the Alice storyline in a short reverie. Larry, now standing inside of his spite store, only thinks of Alice because Leon brings up the very dry scones that made her choke and pass out on the elevator; apparently, the shortage of oxygen to her brain caused memory loss, which means she can no longer make her claim in court.

Have we seen the last of Alice? Probably not, but it’s hard to care too much at this point. Megan Ferguson is great; it’s just the waving away of the Alice situation feels like more of a writing issue than some long game. It’s as if Larry David and Jeff Schaffer, who’ve co-written several season-10 episodes, weren’t entirely certain what to do after raising the #MeToo flag. They either could have gone the full trial route (if only to show Larry David shouting about the “mighty oxen and the donkey!” again), or just let it dissipate like the anger of so many people who have been crossed by Larry. But it’s not like I felt the absence of that storyline either; again, it’s difficult to feel one way or the other about it.

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Of course, Larry is due for a comeuppance (he usually is), which “You’re Not Going To Get Me…” delivers. Director Jeff Schaffer gets to switch things up a bit, heading down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for some arguable fun in the sun. The impetus for the trip, which finds all of our major players sharing a private plane together, is the wedding of Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), some second-tier friend who is nonetheless agreeable enough to inspire every one from Larry to Ted Danson to make the journey. (Even Leon hitches a ride, as he is wont to do.)

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Much of the excursion and preparations for it revolve around weight, as Larry discovers that his new love interest, Donna (Megyn Price), lost a not insignificant amount of weight in the last two years or so. Instead of being grateful that Donna agreed to go on a date after he made her throw away his gum, Larry immediately begins to obsess over her eating habits and he’s egged on by Leon, who suggests that maybe Donna is a “yo-yo,” i.e., someone whose weight fluctuates a lot. Larry isn’t any more or any less superficial than most of the people on this show and he’s resistant to change, so this all tracks, including the way he continues to monitor what Donna consumes on their trip.

Curb doesn’t pretend that privacy and weight are gendered concerns; in fact, no one wants to tell Larry what they weigh, despite the fact that the captain (or pilot) on their private jet requests that information. Susie says she’d rather “drown in the Sea of Cortez” than let Larry know what she weighs, but that’s only after Jeff says no one, not even his own doctor, knows his weight (although Susie makes a face that implies she does). Not even Leon wants to divulge his weight or height, which leads to one of the best lines in tonight’s episode: “That’s called a goddamn description.” Larry and Cheryl have another matter to tiptoe around; namely, their affair. He makes a good point about Mickey’s questionable decision to invite a divorced couple to his destination wedding—it’s a “very combustible situation”—but everyone thinks it’ll be “fun.”

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The Mexican resort is beautiful, but Larry’s apprehension turns out to be justified, though his dislike of Mickey takes some time to garner support. First, Larry and Donna end up having to jettison their luggage because the plane can’t handle the weight or whatever figure Larry came up with. Then Larry runs afoul of the hotel management and Cheryl and Ted Danson, who decides to surprise Cheryl by making the trip. I am slightly surprised to see Larry use Cheryl’s toothbrush, given his fastidiousness, but I guess he has to keep his 48-year streak of toothbrushing going.

But Larry is convinced that the reason his fun weekend trip has been anything but lies with the groom. Mickey is of a piece with the other genial types Olyphant has played, including himself, so Larry’s dislike comes across as unfounded (and given how the episode ends, he could have just been projecting). Jeff refuses to say anything bad about Mickey; in fact, everyone but Larry seems to like Mickey just fine. And how could you not? It’s Timothy Olyphant at his lankiest, most laidback and salt-and-peppered-haired-ness (these days, heavy on the salt). Another testament to Mickey’s affability is Larry et. al’s presence at his destination wedding, which, as I recently learned from a rom-com starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, is always a great imposition. We’ve seen how far Larry will go out of spite, but what about everyone else?

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By the end of the episode, Mickey seems at least a little passive aggressive, sniping that “no one likes” Larry. But that’s only after Larry has ruined his wedding by fighting with Ted Danson, who’s just found out about Cheryl and Larry’s affair. When Jeff refuses to dogpile on Larry, Mickey tells him to fuck off. Jeff responds by telling him to fuck off, so maybe no one really likes anyone in this group of friends. Still, I find it hard to fault Mickey for being so upset at the end (although, if he gave Larry a crappy room, then Larry has everyone reason to dislike him).

Stray observations

  • Cabo turns out to be a losing proposition for Larry in more ways than one: Donna hates him and Leon decides to stay and play golf with Mickey, leaving Larry with nothing but hostile passengers on the flight home. That is, until the weight issue rears its head yet again—the plane cannot carry the passengers, their luggage, and Larry’s stolen coffee beans back in one trip. So, everyone decides to jettison Larry and the coffee beans he thinks are going to give Latte Larry’s the edge over Mocha Joe’s. At least he still has his spite store.
  • I love Susie’s reflexive “yeah, I think you should chip in” when Cheryl tries to hide behind the friend/ex-wife card. “You’re loaded,” Susie tells her and Cheryl doesn’t disagree.
  • “I’m still undecided myself.” This would sound so much smarmier coming from anyone but Timothy Olyphant’s Mickey.
  • Best part of the opening: Leon’s grudging, almost rueful assessment of the spite store—“There’s gotta be spite, but it’s still gotta be a fucking store.”
  • I have absolutely dropped something into my lap within minutes, so yes, the napkin comes out the moment I’m seated.
  • Re: the placeholder review text—I’ve thought about it, and Timothy Olyphant’s character in Dreamcatcher IS unlikable, but that entire movie sucks, so, you know.
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