Curb Your Enthusiasm: Caviar Wishes

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Photo: Courtesy of HBO
Episode Title
The Hot Towel
Season
7
Episode
4

Newark Star-Ledger television critic Alan Sepinwall tweeted an interesting question last night: “What is the fame threshold for whether someone on Curb Your Enthusiasm can play a character or has to play him/herself?” This episode certainly added to the confusion. Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Christian Slater appear as themselves, but Sherry Stringfield and Philip Baker Hall (whose deadpan grump makes him such a perfect foil to Larry David that it’s amazing he’s never been on Curb before) play characters. We see in the previews for next week that Rosie O’Donnell shows up. She’d have to pass the fame threshold, yes? Anyway, onto the most outrageous moments!

3. Christian Slater’s caviar problem. Larry’s attempt to win Cheryl back by casting her in the Seinfeld reunion takes a week off, so we find the usual shenanigans: At a party for Ted Danson’s and Mary Steenburgen’s anniversary (we don’t find out which one), Larry runs into Christian Slater, who, perhaps not surprisingly (considering his career of late), is greedily scooping as much caviar from the hors d'oeuvres tray as his cracker can handle. Larry lambastes him with an odd metaphor about societal expectations and cancer, and ultimately rats him out to Steenburgen. Slater, of course, remembers the slight.

2. Larry makes out. We can accept Larry as a stage actor in The Producers, and even see him as a guy with friends (though it never fails to surprise us that they seem happy to see him), but we can never quite handle Larry David, Ladies' Man. Regardless, he runs into old girlfriend Mary Jane Porter (played by Stringfield, not this woman), who is oddly delighted to see him. They end up necking on her couch, as Larry awkwardly attempts to unsnap her bra with the hand he burned at the beginning of the episode (and had treated by Philip Baker Hall). It takes him so long that she answers the phone, and, lo and behold, it’s her boyfriend (who Larry hadn’t been told about), and he’s coming over immediately. He soon finds the bandage Larry ripped off in bra-snap frustration, and next thing you know, he’s driving to Larry’s house to beat him up. Bra strap struggles, angry boyfriends looking to fight … this is apparently the Larry-as-13-year-old episode.

1. Screaming at teenage girls, always hilarious. Larry tries to escape the angry boyfriend by running to various neighbor’s houses, including his doctor’s and Ted Danson’s, both of whom are angry with him. He ends up at Jeff’s and Suzie’s house, who let him sleep in the guest room until the next morning, when he wakes up and hears little Sammi Greene singing. The Greenes’s “gift” to Danson and Steenburgen for their anniversary was a solo by the distinctly untalented Sammi, and Larry had ushered her off stage, claiming he “just can’t stand the sound of the human voice.” This time, he wakes up and screams “Shut the FUCK UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” which gets him kicked out of the house by Suzie. He ends up running into Mary Jane at a restaurant, where her boyfriend sees him and chases him outside — where Christian Slater spots him, points him out, and (presumably) makes sure he is pummeled. It is a unique pleasure that the one time Larry is actually beaten up, it’s for something that wasn’t even his fault. Not that he didn’t have it coming.