CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM “Larry vs Michael J Fox” Review

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM “Larry vs Michael J Fox” Season 8 Episode 10 – One thing which Curb Your Enthusiasm risks on a pretty frequent basis is the ‘one joke’ premise. The same joke, different variations, is repeated again and again over the course of the episode. The joke in this episode centered around Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s. Thinking he may have annoyed Fox after sssh-ing him in order to listen to his girlfriend Elizabeth’s piano playing, Larry heads up to his apartment to clarify any misunderstanding between them. Fox makes it clear he did not shake his head at him – it was his Parkinson’s acting up. This joke is essentially played out again and again. Fox hands Larry a bottle of Coke. It sprays coke all over the place when opened. Michael J Fox apologises-it was his Parkinson’s. Larry cannot sleep because of Fox’s midnight ruckus. Fox apologises: it was his Parkinson’s. You get the idea. While this was pretty funny (especially the Coke gag), it was not enough to fill in a half hour episode of television. It seems like it was trying to be edgy or confrontational, but it was often just grating and conventional humor.

Sure, there were subplots: a genuinely funny one with Larry’s girlfriend’s son, a flamboyant seven year old with a love of fashion. When Larry informs him who Hitler was, the boy takes a liking to the Swastika and decides to make a pillow case with the symbol stitched on using the sewing machine Larry bought him. His mother is in denial that the boy may possibly be fashionable, though here being fashionable and effeminate behaviour is equated with homosexuality, which is a bit of a tired dead horse. Anyways, the mother does not appreciate the gift, the Swastika spurs an outrage from Susie who runs into the path of a cyclist and who is saved by Jeff who earlier claimed that he’d take a bullet for her.

It’s all fine, uncomplicated, amusing stuff. It doesn’t even push the boundaries of defence – the Swastika is a pretty cool fashion symbol if, like the seven year old boy, you’re unaware of the mad man maniac and genocide it came to represent. But the show never really delves into trying to make this a thought provoking commentary on symbolism and the weight behind certain symbols, whether over exaggerated or justified. Instead the Swastika is a punchline. That’s not edgy or challenging or interesting. It’s just a punchline.

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below.