Larry David’s series is still awesome

Earlier this month, Calm your enthusiasm celebrated its 21st birthday on the air, making it HBO’s longest-running scripted series. Over 100 episodes and ten seasons, Larry davidThe series has been one of the most beloved comedies in HBO programming and has remained somehow consistently excellent. Calm your enthusiasm did this keeping some elements consistent throughout – most notably David’s utter disregard for social norms – and yet it was completely unexpected.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Jeff Schaffer said when people ask him how they still come up with ideas he says, “Well, until the company reaches a place where you can walk outside and not be bothered by your neighbor, I think we are good.” After 21 years, Calm your enthusiasm continues to make this simple idea an effective building block for a large series, and Sidewalk shows no signs of slowing down with “The Five-Foot Fence,” proving not only that it’s still a ripe concept for a series, but that Curb is still one of the best comedies on TV, two consecutive decades.

Yet even though Sidewalk does not show its age, the first episode of season 11, “The Five-Foot Fence”, certainly seems concerned with death and aging. The episode begins with Larry finding out that someone broke into his house, tried to escape the scene, fell and hit his head, and now Larry has a corpse floating in his pool, almost like a squeaky comedy. boul. Sunset

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Image via HBO

But this theme of aging continues throughout the episode, especially at a dinner party, when Susie (Susie Essman) collapses on the couch next to Larry, causing him to spill wine all over the couch. Moments later, Larry walks straight into a glass door, to the shock of Larry’s date, Lucy Liu (playing). Leon (JB Smoove) is quick to mention that doing two weak things in a row could send Larry’s ass to the nursing home.

If that’s not enough, Larry meets Dennis (John Pirrucello), who owes him $ 6,000 and suffers from early dementia, which makes Larry think he needs to get this money before Dennis forgets his debt. Even Albert Brooks (who also plays himself) decides to have a funeral for himself, so he can see all the good things his friends will say about him when he’s gone.

Even Larry looks back on his life, as he and Jeff (Jeff Garlin) present a show on Netflix called Young Larry, in which Larry David moves to New York with his uncle Moe, as he tries to start his stand-up career, while also trying to bring about the untimely death of his uncle, so that he can inherit the money he will have left when he dies. Just like the musical Fatwa! Larry wrote in season 9, and the “store of spite” that Larry started in season 10, it certainly looks like the creation of this new show for Netflix is ​​the guideline for season 11.

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Image via HBO

RELATED: 15 Essential ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Episodes To Watch Before Season 11

But then again, while it’s hilarious how Larry reacts to the way the world around him treats him (a rant in which Larry claims he’s not “a bad guy,” but rather “A really good guy” would fit into just about any episode), this is how Calm your enthusiasm subverts the expectations that still make it one of television’s brightest comedies.

For example, it seems that we are writing a season of Calm your enthusiasm during COVID would pretty much write itself. The pandemic would have given Larry the opportunity to avoid human contact as much as possible, cancel all plans, and validate many of his feelings about society in general. But “The Five-Foot Fence” avoids any predictable COVID story, instead, making Larry discover at Albert Brooks’ mock funeral that Brooks is a COVID supply grabber, leaving everyone wishing that Brooks was actually dead. It is unusual to see a group of angry people in Sidewalk for once, that doesn’t focus their distaste for Larry.

While the friendship between Larry and Leon has become one of the biggest additions to this show at the end of the game, “The Five-Foot Fence” seems to imply that this season might actually give JB Smoove his own, separate story. . After breaking up with his girlfriend after the pair fundraise through a GoFundMe for an Asian vacation, Leon begins auditioning replacement fake girlfriends to embark on his journey. If any character on the show deserves their own B-plot alongside Larry’s story, it’s Leon.

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Image via HBO

But as in every season, Sidewalk is already setting up several threads in “The Five-Foot Fence” that will surely tie this entire season together into one hugely satisfying tale. Already we’re shown how the brother of the dead criminal in Larry’s pool affects Larry’s Netflix show, as the brother asks Larry to cast his daughter Maria Sofia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) as one of the stars of Young Larry, or he will consider legal action against Larry. Already, the show connected these two seemingly unrelated stories, and only a few minutes later Young Larry received the green light, it seems already doomed.

The most recent seasons of Calm your enthusiasm have been building the threads of the season towards an epic conclusion, and if there’s one flaw with “The Five-Foot Fence” it’s that it looks like a lot of setup for the end of the line, without too much major laughs. highlights in this particular episode. Larry’s scenes with Susie and Leon still work wonderfully, and Larry’s “weak” moments lead to some of the episode’s biggest laughs, but especially with the Dennis scenes and the cast of the Young Larry show, the wheels simply move for more important moments later in the season.

Yet at this point, Calm your enthusiasm is a well-oiled machine that knows how to tell effective and ingenious stories on an episodic level, while building itself up to the culmination of an entire season. “The Five-Foot Fence” kicks off Season 11 on the right track with a season still surprising, engaging and hysterical after all these years. At this stage, Calm your enthusiasm isn’t just good enough, it’s almost almost perfect.

Note: A-

Calm your enthusiasm premieres October 24 on HBO, with new episodes airing on Sundays.

KEEP READING: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 11 Trailer Shows Larry David Hates Individual People, But Loves Humanity


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