Cheryl Hines, Larry David and Susie Essman star in Curb Your EnthusiasmPhoto: John P. Johnson / HBO
Of all the surprises a Curb Your Enthusiasm finale has to offer, a pointed reference to Donald Trump’s first impeachment could be one of the most astounding. But that’s one of several head-scratching developments in “The Mormon Advantage,” the 10th episode of season 11 of Curb, which was pretty uneven from the start. Like “Irma Kostroski“The Mormon Advantage” has a bit of an unfinished look to it – Larry’s hopes of lifting the Santa Monica Fence Law definitely failed at the end of the episode, but most of the electrifying players this season are making their exit pretty inexplicable. Instead of a Larry-Irma or Larry-Marcus-Sofia Maria showdown (both would have been satisfactory), we get retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman repeating his role as a whistleblower.
It’s fun to wait for the reveal of Larry to meet a man hailed as a national hero and watch Marcus suggest that there is such a thing as too much Ted Danson (even balding, that’s plain and simple impossible). Leon yelling about “Stockholm tappin ‘” and stranded in Los Angeles while the newest Mary Ferguson makes her way to Asia (with Vindman, no less) is a solid fix for this whole story. But overall, “The Mormon Advantage” is the season in the microcosm: many elements that don’t quite fit together.
“The Mormon Advantage”
“The Mormon Advantage”
Perhaps Larry David and Jeff Schaffer wanted to avoid the dovetailing of their previous season finale. “Spite store“But Vindman’s cameo seems to fit the show strangely regardless of episodes like” Palestinian Chicken. ” Filming of Season 11 began in November 2020, more than a year after Vindman testified in front of Congress about the phone conversation between former President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi in July 2019. It’s not Curb’s fault, of course, that the COVID pandemic destroyed our sense of time, but these events feel like they were so long ago – let alone there was an entirely different impeachment in 2021 that turned out to be on Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection.
Ending a changeable fun season with an exchange reminiscent of an event that has at least partially faded from public memory (which says more about what a cluster fuck the past three years have been than people’s priorities) is an odd decision , even if it’s somewhat in vogue, in line with the more politically engaged “Larry David” who showed up that year. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in October 2021, Schaffer teased Larry’s grassroots actions as well as some broader comments on anti-Semitism.
Well, Larry advertised and put himself to the vote – even though he ultimately didn’t cast his vote – and even romanticized a woman with the characteristics of 10 pesky people, all so that he could break the law on a five-foot fence and get rid of it could Marcus (Marques Ray) and Maria Sofia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia). In his interactions with other Jews, Larry moved from shaking off their association in order to ask a “tribal mate” a favor. So consider these promises kept (unlike so many campaigned).
This cohesion is missing elsewhere in the finale, as the storylines with Irma, Maria Sofia and Marcus simply fizzle out. I know I’ve spent the past few weeks wondering about the bigger picture this season, and it kind of comes into focus on “The Mormon Advantage.” But in doing so, Curb eventually swings away from the characters who gave the season the most energy. With Irma Kostroski, Tracey Ullman not only beat practically every other guest star on the show; She also helped create one of his most memorable characters. Taking Irma out of the action at such a late hour takes some of its dynamism from the end – not to mention that it denies viewers a confrontation between Irma and Larry over her grandfather’s stolen shoes.
I’ve watched the scenes a few times and I’m still a little confused: I think Irma would be mad to find out that Larry had stolen her grandfather’s shoes from an exhibition in the Holocaust Museum. But the last time we see her, seven leaves in the wind, she complains that her grandfather has sent her a “sign”. Did she think Ytzhak Maultsevitch was Larry’s great-uncle too? Either of these could be enough to cause her to relapse, I suppose. Irma and Ullman deserved better this season as they added to the season’s fading momentum.
Marcus and Maria Sofia are also omitted in summary, but not before Mejia can astonish us in an early scene on the set of Young Larry with other great “bad actors”. They also appear in a late-night fantasy sequence in which Larry, seemingly tearing victory from the jaws of defeat, dreams of getting them both off the set. But it turns out that city council chairman Weinblatt (Mark Atteberry) also violates the fence ordinance, and so Larry ends the season sinking like a stone in the city council’s basin and wondering where the protective fence is. This may not be the last time we see Maria Sofia and her stage father; Young Larry finally made it into production despite Beaucoup setbacks, so maybe it will make it into a potential season 12. Not only do we need more from Mejia, but I’d love to see Larry sit down with the executives of all the streamers.
The plot that gives the episode its title doesn’t add up to much more. It’s always fun to see someone take Larry’s advice to heart (for a recent example see: Patton Oswalt as Henry in “The minibar“It’s just another brief setback for Larry sticking through the quid pro quo with Councilor Johnson, a Mormon whose husband Micah doesn’t need much encouragement to get involved in the polygamy business. When Larry has to win them back for abolition, he offers the LDS Church a substantial donation (actually, that’s Irma’s idea) and mocks pretty much everyone else on the Santa Monica City Council. This is another “perfect call” that Vindman overhears and sees as his duty to transcribe for Councilor Weinblatt this time. And so Larry Weinblatt’s mother lies to rummage through his things. Despite lashing out in a pool, his fate seems as clear as that of Kendall Roy in the penultimate episode of the sequel season three, meaning he’ll survive another day to screw it up.
I would never suggest looking for a clean ending to Curb that has never dealt with you, or even makes sure that a culprit is compensated (though we can remain confident Larry gets his). But we can usually rely on the seemingly most random parts to serve some comedic purpose. Season 11 didn’t really cheer until the last minute, and even then it tossed its more compelling parts aside for a gag that wasn’t much nicer than the Don Jr. cracks in the season premiere. This was a recall the show could have done without.
Seasonal grade: B-
- I know I shouldn’t be surprised that Larry took a pair of shoes that he knew belonged to someone killed in the Holocaust, but I still gasped a little when he practically clicked his heels.
- If Larry thinks this way polygamy works, he should really be careful Great love.
- Larry probably decided against another assistant after Alice, but it would have made a world of difference if he could just have called someone to bring him a pair of shoes while he was at the event.
- It would be ironic if Larry was pro-roping when he was so against fencing, if we hadn’t already seen the number of times his hypocrisy bites his ass.
- “Very bad hombres”, “not an angel”, “a perfect reputation” – just a few of them
- Pronouncing Leon “Lucius” as “Luscious” is much better than arguing about “vayze” and “vahz”.
- After Vindman told Mary Ferguson # 4 to call him “Colonel,” I half expected him to look straight into the camera and give a big thumbs up.
- I would have liked to hear more about Leon’s “five lies” theory.
- Lily Collins alias Emily Cooper appeared as Jarrod Jones had predicted.
- I guess Susie doesn’t want to deal with a divorce anymore than Jeff does, not if she can keep getting fancy gifts and tunes.
- That is the end of the coverage of Season 11 of Curb Your Enthusiasm! Thanks for reading and commenting. If there’s a season 12, Jarrod will be the one to wrap up since I’m getting a bit too old to be up this late on a Sunday night.