It amazes me a little that, even eight seasons in, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ could be having a banner year like this. The show has been consistently hilarious this season (more so than some past seasons). It’s very rare for a sit-com to remain so fresh and funny after this many years. This week’s episode is chock full of classic ‘Curb’ bits.
‘The Hero’ begins with Larry still on the plane to New York. He’s determined to woo the cute lady sitting next to him in First Class (Samatha Mathis – Remember her from ‘Pump Up the Volume’ back in the day?). After his first attempt at flirting doesn’t win her over, he promises to do better.
When the First Class bathroom is occupied, Larry heads back to Coach, and gets in an argument with a random woman about how he shouldn’t be allowed to use the Coach bathroom if she’s not allowed to use the one in First Class. This turns into a classic ‘Curb’ pissing match between the two of them. Larry claims that he should be exempt from this rule because he’s not really a First Class snob. “I’m Coachy!” he insists.
A few minutes later, a drunken passenger creates a disturbance when the flight attendant won’t give him another drink. Larry accidentally trips over his shoelaces and tackles the guy, which gives the entire plane the mistaken impression that he’s some sort of hero. Of course, Larry parlays this into a date with Mathis’ character, Donna.
Once in New York, Larry begins a running feud with Ricky Gervais, who plays himself as a super-pretentious jackass. He also runs afoul of an eavesdropping restaurant waiter, and ruins the marriage of yet another of his friends (Chris Parnell as Hank). At a dinner party hosted by Susie and Jeff, Larry is upset about being relegated to the boring end of the table, and starts asking Hank inappropriately personal questions that upset his wife. “I’m trying to elevate small talk to medium talk,” he explains.
Once Susie spills the beans that Larry wasn’t really a hero on the plane, Donna dumps him and starts going out with Ricky Gervais. But Larry (almost) gets the last laugh when he saves the two of them from a mugger on the subway, only to get his shoelace caught in the train door as it pulls out of the station.
Perhaps the biggest laughs in the episode come from the crazy outfits that Susie wears. I’m not sure exactly when Susie turned into Mrs. Roper from ‘Three’s Company’, but that’s all I’ll be able to see whenever I watch the show from now on.