Episode Title: "Vow of Silence"
Story By: Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer
Director: Alec Berg
I've often made the argument that Larry David is misunderstood on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Larry's not really a colossal prick, he's just someone who believes that the world should conform to certain common sense ideas and he's often the only voice of sanity in an otherwise insane world.
Of course, that's not the full picture of who Larry is either. This week's episode reestablishes that Larry only cares about Larry. And honestly… he is kind of a narcissist.
For example, when Oscar, the beloved dog of Jeff (Jeff Garlin) and Susie (Susan Essman) is gravely ill and he is about to be put down by the Veterinarian (Rich Sommer), Larry keeps bringing the conversation back to himself because he's curious if the Vet's wife mentioned that Larry said something inappropriate to her. For once, I actually sympathized for Susie as she screamed "You're not the center of the universe!"
To follow that up, Larry and Jeff go to Pinkberry to buy the dog a coconut frozen yogurt for his last meal. And on the way back, Larry and Jeff eat the entire yogurt before lying about Pinkberry being closed to keep Susie from killing them.
But Larry's not alone in this city of self-absorbed people. Jeff and Susie are pretty full of themselves too when they stage a goodbye party for themselves to celebrate their three month trip to New York with their daughter, Sami (Ashly Holloway). Susie even arranges for mourners to sit shiva for her dog! I understand that people need closure with their pets, but there's never been catering at any pet funeral that I've ever seen.
However, the biggest demerit against Larry's humanity comes when he constantly spins a tale about going to New York just to avoid attending a charity event for kids with special needs. His acquaintance, Vance (Michael Hitchcock) has the inexplicable notion that Larry David is the perfect guest for special needs children and he has an uncanny knack for catching Larry in multiple lies about his trip to New York.
Going into the season, we knew that at some point Larry would be heading to NYC. But who would have guessed that the reason he's going was just so he could skip the charity event and not be branded a liar? Vance makes a generous offer to let Larry stay at the borrowed apartment of a friend in NYC; leaving Larry little choice but to come to the Big Apple… and do nothing. Not that it's ever really been clear what Larry does in his office besides making lunch dates with Richard Lewis and Jeff.
The reason that we love Larry despite his many faults is that he's still acting as the social assassin and speaking out against perceived social infractions. Early in the episode, Larry prevents a woman from pulling a "chat and cut" in the buffet line and he gets her victim to admit that he barely knows her. After calling her out on her behavior, Larry is impressed by her skills when she immediately does it again to him.
The main target of Larry's wraith is a mysterious "Pig Parker' who took up two spaces and forced Larry and other drivers to do the same at Susie's party. Larry later catches another Pig Parker (Brett Gelman), but he gives Larry a run for his money in the righteous indignation department. Following up on the earlier "chat and cut," there's a hilarious sequence when the patrons of Pinkberry accuse Larry of pulling the same thing and they practically run him out of the restaurant.
Larry also has several run-ins with Vance (Michael Hitchcock), an acquaintance who has taken on a vow of silence… but that doesn't stop him from mouthing the words he means to say. Larry tolerates him at first, but when Vance witnesses Larry eating the dog's last meal and threatens to tell Susie, Larry attempts to spiritually blackmail Vance into staying silent. Amazingly, Vance still seems to be on good terms with Larry… until he sees that Larry has left an angry note on his car for the ultimate Pig Parker. That's right, Vance is the mystery Pig Parker from the beginning of the show!
Vance breaks his vow and outs Larry for the Pinkberry travesty. And just when Susie is ready to get away from Larry, he ends up joining them on the plane to New York. That may have been the most unusual excuse for a coastal migration in sitcom history. But it should be fun to see Larry in action on the east coast. Larry may even find that he's not the biggest social assassin in his new stomping grounds.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.