When the show is on its game, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ really knows how to transgress boundaries that were never, ever meant to be transgressed. In this week’s episode, Larry David insults battered women. Oh, this can’t possibly end well.
I thought I’d read somewhere that Larry’s divorce would prompt a change of setting to New York. I’m not sure if I was mistaken in that, or if that’s just supposed to happen later in the season. In ‘The Safe House’, he’s still in California, now living in a new neighborhood not all that different from his old one. Of course, it doesn’t take long for him to piss off his neighbors, which he manages to do twice in one day.
I’ll be honest; I think Larry is firmly in the right in both instances. In the first, a woman is having an emotional breakdown in the grocery store, and refuses to move from in front of the ice cream cooler that Larry wants to get to. He’s accused of acting insensitive when he asks the woman to move over a foot and tries to get to the ice cream around her. She’s the one who’s being insensitive for inconveniencing other people in a public place. Later, Larry confronts another woman who lets her dog poop on his lawn and won’t clean it up. That’s just straight up rude and disgusting. There’s no excuse for that. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are laws against it.
Well, Larry later finds out that both of these people live in a battered women’s shelter a few doors down from him. The woman who runs the program asks him to apologize, which I think is absurd. Larry does too, but he agrees anyway. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go so well.
In a second storyline, Larry’s friend Richard Lewis is dating a burlesque dancer much younger than he is. Marty Funkhouser has the brilliant idea that he, Larry, Jeff and Leon should go to her show. This should be a socially acceptable and guilt-free excuse to see Richard’s girlfriend naked. Naturally, Richard doesn’t quite see it that way. When Larry makes an offhand remark to the girl about a mole on her breast, this leads in a roundabout way to her making a decision to get breast reduction surgery. Richard is not pleased.
In a third storyline, Larry gets asked by a stranger in a restaurant (’80s nerd icon Curtis Armstrong) to watch his laptop for a few minutes, but the guy takes a really long time to return. Larry gets impatient and asks someone else, who just happens to be a black man, to take over for him. When the laptop goes missing, both Larry and Armstrong fumble hilariously in the attempt to not sound like racists.
As expected, the storylines eventually converge in an absurd chain of events that cause: 1) Richard Lewis to break both hands on the night of his “Bon Voyage” celebration of his girlfriend’s old breasts, 2) Larry to get a black eye and inadvertently imply to a doctor that he’s in an abusive relationship with Leon, and 3) an innocent black man just trying to return the laptop to get arrested for battering Larry.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Larry. You’re making friends already.