It’s not making waves anymore as water-cooler chatter, perhaps, but HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm is still an awfully funny show, with creator/star Larry David’s particular brand of Rube-Goldberg-like nuisance humor — where rudeness begets personal slights beget unwitting gestures beget misinterpretations beget David’s ostracism from society — in as fine a form as ever.
With this season’s marriage-split storyline — tantalizingly reflecting David’s own separation from real-life wife Laurie — last Sunday’s episode was Cheryl-less (save for a those-were-the-good-old-days flashback montage scored to Nino Rota’s Amarcord theme), but the opportunity to watch the Cornered Animal of Comedy in bumpy romantic entanglements with other women has been a mini creative boon for the show. (Which shouldn’t be construed as any criticism of the lovely Cheryl Hines, whose what-planet-are-you-from looks belong in the pantheon of beleaguered TV spouse reaction shots.)
The week before it was an unrecognizably de-Xena-fied Lucy Lawless foot-stompingly enraged by David’s presumption of post-date sex, and Sunday it was Desperate Housewives voice-over siren Brenda Strong as an alluring doctor disgusted by David’s inability to get it up, which was because he accidentally took estrogen, because his pharmacist is black, and he couldn’t read the doctor’s note and . . . yeah, I know, what’s the point? It’s never as funny as when you watch it all play out, which is another thing to treasure about Curb. It’s not about snappy one-liners. It’s helped put the “situation” back in situation comedy.