I wonder what it would have been like to watch this finale with someone unfamiliar with “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Even if this person had seen an episode or two of “Seinfeld,” they surely wouldn’t have gotten though this block of television without walking out of the room. There’s too much going on for the casual viewer -- too many ideas, too many risks, too many inside jokes. Last night’s episode was a love note specifically to the fans of the two shows. Of course, there are millions out there.
I’ve been having trouble gathering my thoughts on the finale. Given the lush layers of meta-comedy, it's been tough developing a succinct piece. Rather than break down last night’s plot or provide a critique, I want to answer the simple question that other reviewers have posed -- a question you might be pondering as well: Will there be another season of “Curb?”
Yes, there has to be, and all the evidence was provided last night. In 2007, Larry David and his wife filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.” (When I get my divorce, that is what the documents will say.) David took two years off between Seasons 6 and 7 to get his ducks in order. In that time, he began piecing together what would become the story arc for Season 7: Larry tries to win Cheryl back by casting her in a “Seinfeld” reunion. It’s the perfect plan for Larry David’s character and the perfect incentive for fans of “Seinfeld” to give “Curb” a chance.
To be honest, I think the past two seasons of “Curb” are the best in its run. I watched an episode the other day from Season 2 and, while funny, it doesn’t hold a candle to those from 6 or 7. Larry David has mastered playing this slanted version of himself. Go take a look at his performances in the earlier seasons – he hasn’t figured “himself” out yet. When you examine all the levels on which Season 7 operates, it’s really impressive. Larry David the actor as Larry David the character playing George Costanza the character will go down as one of the most convoluted, yet brilliant moments in television. Reading about this stuff isn’t fair to the episode -- just watch it, laugh, and recognize the years and years it took for this comedy to materialize. It’s astonishingly unique.
But why will there be a Season 8?
I know it’s been said before, but “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is Larry’s life. The show is ultimately constructed from the content in the notepad Larry carries around everywhere he goes. After Larry went through his divorce, it’s no surprise that the next season of his TV show dealt with that issue. Do I think Larry intended to win his actual ex-wife back by having “Curb’s” Larry and Cheryl re-unite in a near tear-jerking scene? No, I don’t. But since Larry David’s life, quite literally, belongs in television, it's not all that weird that he would simultaneously mock the medium. In the show, Jerry Seinfeld points out that reunions are lame -- fans want everything to work out wonderfully, with plenty of schmaltz and all the loose ends perfectly tied. Thankfully, this season's finale will simply please fans of "Curb" -- not fans of traditional television.
What else is a wealthy observational comedian supposed to do with his time? Not work? As Larry shamelessly admits in this season’s episodes, his life implodes when he has nothing to do.
We’ll get another season when Larry gets sick of being Larry. From what I understand, that shouldn’t be too long.