Larry has generally been able to rely on Leon as both muscle and wingman, whether it’s recovering a Joe Pepitone jersey, jolting Michael Richards out of a funk, or creating a distraction with little more than two hands and a pickle jar. Sadly, he proves rather ineffective against elderly Rose Shapiro (who sold him his house in 2012) and her small dog, and even more overwhelmed by Judge Judy in her hallowed chambers. How did we get here? How has anything in Curb Your Enthusiasm’s return season come to pass, really? We’ve had mufti tribunals, Revolutionary War reenactments, one gratuitous sexual digression after another, and an intertwined series of events involving Larry’s classing up a hooker and Funkhouser’s dead nephew.
Next week’s season finale has numerous loose ends to either account for or not. Maybe Susie’s wayward Little Sister, the comings and goings of Larry’s bodyguard Swat, and what happened in Tahoe will remain self-contained, or even dangled as unanswered question marks for a potential season ten. More likely is, they’ll get some lip service. If we’re in any luck, circumstances will converge around Sammi’s wedding, as they did so memorably at her bat mitzvah two seasons back.
For the time being, “Shucker” clams up about the repercussions of Larry’s conking out yet again in the midst of Hamilton, an outcome so clearly telegraphed one has to assume it will reverberate into the ensuing episode. Not that Larry and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s relationship could get much worse. They’ve already physically tussled over who gets to claim the elevated boss chair in Lin’s agent’s office. And Larry is already fuming over Lin’s eagerness to transform Fatwa! into more of a hip-hopera. Between David playing up his neuroses to the hilt as his HBO alter ego and Miranda making light of what people might assume are his pretensions, the two reach new — shall we say — heights of adversarial chemistry.
It’s still unclear why Jeff didn’t intervene and settle their differences, seeing as how he took so fully to role-playing the sheriff. Then again, there’s little about the Shucker (Steven Weber) to suggest he’d favor Western attire, but alas: He left his cowboy hat behind at Larry’s place after a night of slinging shellfish and seafood puns, Jeff inherited the thing, and before you know it, we’re privy to a profane bit of orgasmic love-making between Jeff and Susie “Fuck me, Tex” Greene. And, notably, Larry deadpanning, “Speakin’ of crazy, I mean what the fuck?” at the sight of his pal in full bolo tie and boots.
Jeff, naturally, enjoys the attention his new look is gathering from even foxy receptionists, only lamenting that it means, “I gotta keep fucking my wife.” Lucky for him, the Shucker is more than up to taking his stead (is this Susie’s first affair while the two are actively together?), and he’s freed up for a fling after Larry screws him out of Hamilton tickets for a second time. Plus, he’s got money to lavish Susie with, after scalping Larry for $2,500 to reacquire his own comps.
Lord only knows what took place in that bedroom behind closed doors, although absolutely nothing is going down between Larry and Bridget, who is repulsed by his attempt to foist (foist!) a relationship NDA on her while in bed. All the man wants is a guarantee she won’t speak out of school to friends and family about their nighttime exploits should they ever call it quits. Sadly, he not only loses the girl, but is also justified in his paranoia, as Bridget has already sullied his name around town as “Larry Long Balls.” (The length of his testicles is no secret to viewers, thanks to a season-seven disclosure.)
This all goes back to Larry’s fateful dinner, organized to celebrate his freedom from tyranny of the fatwa. It’s where Susie pressed Bridget into sharing demeaning stories about her ex’s man-bushes and crooked penises, and it’s the evening Rose Shapiro first foisted (foisted!) her way back into her former house and critiqued his choice to cover the Italian flooring and remove her pirate-themed wallpaper. It’s also the occasion during which rambling Rose first laid eyes on her old ficus, withered from its former glory. Does it make any logical sense that things progress from there to the two facing off in Judge Judy’s court? No more so than Larry being whisked away to a secret mufti tribunal or trying to woo multiple judges with lozenges over the course of a single season. Curb has been consistently absurd and brilliant at times over the course of its comeback year, spanning Susie attacking Larry in the shower up through Larry dismissing Mrs. Shapiro as “a fuckin’ psycho.” The finale will definitely be crazy. Let’s just hope it’s good.
Apart From All That
• The punning shucker turns out to be a shuckster. Perfect.
• Who’s to say which Homeland star would make a better Ayatollah?
• Probably for the best for Lin-Manuel that Do No Harm was canceled.
• Jerry O’Connell will take it.
• Myron was no Uber 5.
• Looking forward to further installments of “talking Tahoe to Ted.”
• America Ferrara as Lin’s wife — sure, why not?
• Give it up for Carol Herman, a.k.a., Mrs. Shapiro, who’s having a gangbusters year between this and Better Call Saul.