‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ – ‘The Divorce’: Jew, not a Jew?

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” had its eighth season premiere tonight. I reviewed a handful of season eight episodes on Friday, but this wasn’t one of them, and I have a quick review coming up just as soon as I commend you on your demographics…

“Curb” often has the feel of a really complicated gymnastics routine to it. In the best weeks, Larry sticks the landing, but even if he stumbles a bit right at the end, the elaborate routine leading up to that final moment is so good that it doesn’t matter.

That was certainly the case with “The Divorce.” The ending with the Girl Scouts didn’t quite click in the way the best “Curb” endings do, as it neither tied together enough separate threads nor seemed like such outstanding karmic payback that it could stand on its own. (If it had somehow tied in with the terrible divorce settlement – either with this being one more thing Hiram Katz stuck Larry with, or with him managing to turn this one small thing against Cheryl – I think it could have worked better.) But the original Girl Scout scene, with a loud, enthusiastic but somewhat clueless Larry trying to give a lesson in tampon use to the daughter(*) of the Dodgers owner(**) was so spectacularly funny – and mortifying – in that special “Curb” way that “The Divorce” didn’t really need anything else to work to be satisfying.

(*) Played by Katilyn Dever, who is doing her best to take over my viewing this spring and summer. She was great as Loretta on “Justified” season two, had a supporting role in HBO’s “Cinema Verite,” plays the aspiring teacher’s pet in “Bad Teacher,” and plays one of Tim Allen’s daughters in his new ABC sitcom, which I’ve seen the pilot of. She’s everywhere.

(**) If there are any Dodger fans in this crowd – and my sympathies if there are, because no fan should have to suffer through this kind of ownership mess – how did you feel about Gary Cole as a fictionalized Frank McCourt?

And for the most part, the rest of it did work.

It’s funny: when the seventh season finale aired, nearly two years ago, my takeaway from the final scene was that Cheryl had resigned herself to the fact that this was what life with Larry was like, and that she had once again chosen to be a part of that life, where my wife read it as Cheryl deciding she had made a huge mistake and looking for the exit door. Point in this case to Mrs. Sepinwall, and based on what I’ve seen of later episodes, the show gets very good mileage out of Larry being divorced.

As for how the divorce was handled in this episode, I was amused to see Larry’s divorce inspire Funkhouser to leave his wife and Jeff to envy them both, and I again liked seeing Cheryl deal with Larry without being stuck with him. The show also had fun with the many ways Larry’s lawyer tried to create the illusion of Judaism, and if the end of that was predictable – you knew Larry would get screwed in the end, and you knew it would involve the lawyer from the buffet incident – then it was only because the show telegraphs certain punchlines after all these years.

Mostly, though, I’m just happy to have these selfish, foul-mouthed people back in my life – and to know that we’re going to get to discuss some of the other stuff I’ve seen in short order.

What did everybody else think?