Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with reunion shows. Part of me is so excited with anticipation to see what my beloved characters are up to now, but there is always such a letdown when it just isn't the same as it used to be. So I was more than a little skeptical about this pseudo-Seinfeld reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm. However, this show just really nailed it. Having the stars playing "themselves" talking about their characters was sort of this trippy meta thing that really worked out better than I ever could have expected. I was practically giddy when they all wound up in the same room together at the end.
The episode started out with Jeff telling Larry that NBC was really pushing for a reunion, and if he just took a meeting with the execs, it would make Jeff look good. Larry begrudgingly agreed, and while entering the offices he saw his ex-wife Cheryl who decided to restart her acting career. She jokingly tells him to write her a part in the Seinfeld reunion and thus an idea is born. The execs are naturally thrilled that Larry, who has long been staunchly against the idea, had changed his mind, and offer him Laker tickets as a bonus. Jeff, of course, sees through Larry's new-found enthusiasm and realizes it is all just a plot to get Cheryl back.
Larry sets out to convince the rest of the cast. Jerry's against it because Larry's always been against it. Jerry rattles off the string of "it's too cheesy" excuses, but eventually caves and says if the rest of the gang is in, so is he. Larry meets up with Jason Alexander at a restaurant that is filled with pornographic photos, and explains that he's got a great idea for George, who since the show ended has gotten married and divorced and is trying to win his wife back. Jason goes on this fantastic spiel about how no one liked the "jerky" character and that he was so abrasive and unlovable and there was no way that anyone would believe that wife would stick with him in the first place, nonetheless go back to him. It's hysterical that he's telling this to Larry, who based George on his own personality. Larry's facial expression in this scene was priceless, only matched by the sour face he had when Jason continued to rant about how at least a reunion would make up for the finale and let the show go out on a good note this time. Oh, that finale, it just never gets old to make fun of it. Then Jason and Larry get in a huge fight about splitting a bill and tipping, which was my big quibble about the episode, since I just thought that Larry should pay anyway, since he was the one trying to win over Jason.
The next person up is Michael Richards, and Larry bizarrely takes him to the same porno-filled lunch place, where Michael is totally distracted, in true Kramer fashion, by all of the photos around them. Larry makes some pitches for his character and Michael agrees, but he's clearly got his mind elsewhere. Then Larry and the waiter from the previous day continue their stupid tip fight... which does sort of seem like something you'd see George doing, so I guess it makes sense. Last up is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She had given an excuse for not meeting with him earlier and thinks that reunion shows are tacky, and they are doing it for the wrong reasons. Larry insists that people are "champing at the bit" and then they discuss if the proper use of the colloquialism is "champing" or "chomping" before Julia finally agrees to reprise Elaine. Though, Larry, being Larry, manages to sort of offend Julia's kid on the way out by calling her mother a liar.
At the Lakers game, Larry spots Cheryl and tells her happily about the reunion and her part in it (though Jerry, who is co-producer on it wants a big name like Meg Ryan) and she's all delighted and kissing him. Not surprisingly, things don't run smoothly in Larry David land, and when it turns out the Lakers tickets are terrible, he just can't bite his tongue and he anooys the NBC exec who in turn calls the whole thing off. While I don't believe that would actually happen, since TV execs would probably overlook some offensive behavior for the almighty dollar, it is Larry. Turns out that the cast, who all reunite at an office together, have all received mixed messages. Michael doesn't even know what he agreed to, Jason's mad about the tip fiasco, Julia's irritated about being called a liar,and they are all mad about getting cajoled into this and then finding out that Larry screwed it up. So they make him apologize. He does, but it doesn't go well, of course. But then Larry's hypochondria pays off for the second time in the episode (earlier at Jeff's house, he had correctly diagnosed Susie with Lyme disease) and he gives the ailing network exec the same Lyme disease diagnosis, and everything is back on. However, the whole winning-back-Cheryl thing? Not going so well since Jerry ran into Meg Ryan and gave her the ex-wife role.
The whole concept is pretty great, and only something that this particular "loosely based on real-life" show could pull off. And I'm sincerely glad that the show waited until its seventh season to try this stunt, instead of doing it shortly after it started. It gave us time to miss the cast, and really let Curb develop its own twisted style, before trying to just make this entire show about Seinfeld. It could have been tacky or lame to do it earlier, but now it feels earned and welcome, especially in the way that it's handled. It does seem like the desperate sort of thing Larry would do to win his wife over. And I can't help but feel that watching Larry with the four cast members together on this show is a little like what it must have been to work on that show a decade ago. Because the sort of teasing camaraderie that is shown in this episode isn't something that you can just manufacture in a minute; it is definitely a bond that seems to have been formed over time, and it seemed like something that was easily slipped back into.
It was a jam-packed, fast episode that was great, but left me wanting more. It's a good thing that it was just the set up to more good times with the Seinfeld cast to come. They actually have to "film" the "episode" and whatnot. So in the forthcoming weeks of the show, we'll get even more of the cast together. That's better than any one-off reunion I can imagine.
What did you think of the episode? Did it live up to the hype? Sound off below.
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