Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season Eight UK Debut – The Divorce

Curb Your Enthusiasm The Divorce

With wife Cheryl – for how much longer?…

HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Season 8 premièred in Britain on More 4 Sunday, late Sunday night too – perhaps fittingly and keeping in the spirit of the program as nevermind the 9 o’clock watershed an especial watershed is needed for Curb Your Enthusiasm – loosely Around Midnight – alongside Brass Eye, anything with Sarah Silverman and?!…

In this season opening episode Larry David is finally finalizing his divorce to his – it is a cliche but it is apt – long suffering and seemingly ageless wife Cheryl, played by Cheryl Hines.

Curb Your Enthusiasm’s was Larry David’s follow up to his co-creation Seinfeld – that ran the best part of the 1990’s and an awe-inspiring 174 episodes – awe-inspiring because this really was great quality in great quantity. But Larry David was but its writer/spectator if also a core part of it in the form of George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, the Seinfeld character said to be closest to his own character. And watching Curb Your Enthusiasm – which I will now lapse into the familiar and refer to as Curb – that is quickly confirmed. Curb Your Enthusiasm is Larry David – whom I will now lapse into the over-familiar and refer to as Larry – spectator and performer, and the show has already outlasted Seinfeld in terms of its length now settling into its second decade and eleventh year. On the other-hand a mere eighty-one episodes, Curb being a more leisurely LA affair than the frenetic paced New York based Seinfeld.

For Larry is creative cup runneth over – can he ever be curbed?

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Randy Berg

With lawyer Randy Berg

And where was I? Oh that’s right, Larry is cutting himself adrift from his wife. But can Larry exist without Cheryl? Does he need a wife to provide an anchor in his life, to avoid him regressing to complete adolescence?

Though he has been engaged to be divorced to Cheryl since Season 6 Episode 7 The Tivo Guy when Larry demonstrating his own unique sense of perspective is more worried over his unreliable PVR than the turbulence to his plane – his TV viewing pleasure of more concern than loss of his own life and wife’s!

But here in this ‘The Divorce’ episode it is at last nearing fruition with his lawyer Mr Berg – and whom he believes to be Jewish, like himself. But suspicions are aroused against his Jewishness (!) when pulling up alongside him in traffic he eyeballs Mr Berg – on a motor-bike! It will transpire that he is not Jewish but Swedish! On this basis his lawyer is ditched, and not to his advantage, his replacement Jewish lawyer then loses him their family home, far worse than the original likely settlement.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - Girl Scouts

Angry Girl Scouts

Also in this episode the inevitable quintessentially squirm-in-your-soul moment which has Larry answering the door to a girl-scout selling cookies only to then find she is having her first period. And then having to describe the process of using a tampon to her through his water closet door – like many moments like this in Curb Your Enthusiasm I am glad I watched this moment alone! In equally typically Curb fashion another tampon moment was reprised later in the show – I won’t spoil that one!

I do recall one other awkward men-and-tampons comedy moment in an episode of the 1980’s UK Comedy The Young Ones where character Rick, played by Rik Mayall, discovers a tampon in the handbag of a visiting party-guest, played by a young Jennifer Saunders, and what then ensues with a glass of wine is predictable enough but which moment was embarrassing only for the character Rick, this being Curb the moment was embarrassing for we the viewers too or rather we the male viewers!

Another quintessential moment is a Susie Greene expletive-laden tirade – this time when her husband Jeff Greene calmly comments that if they ever get divorced she could have the house and pretty much whatever else she wanted! And he thought he was being reasonable!

By its heady standards this was a more run-of-the-mill Curb episode, but Larry divorced from Cheryl does set up this series upon a new trajectory – how will Larry David take to single-life reunited?Curb Your Enthusiasm - Cast Info

Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife?

Julianna Margulies red dressJulianna Margulies plays The Good Wife Alicia Florrick in this CBS commissioned court-room drama and currently aired in the UK on More 4.

But what of its tale of fidelity? Chris Noth as Peter Florrick is her husband – impeached and imprisoned former State’s Attorney and now released looking to rebrand himself to run for this office again – and the impression of fidelity at least is part of that spin.

The Good Wife should really anchor around Alicia Florrick but feels like any other good ensemble cast court-room drama – such as Shark and Silk – Alicia Florrick as The Good Advocate?

Her husband’s political campaign is ran by the Machiavellian Eli Gold played with relish by Alan Cumming – Alicia Florrick The Good Pawn?

Peter Florrick’s other guiding force is his mother Jackie played by Mary Beth Peil – Alicia The Good Daughter In Law?

Alicia’s daughter Grace played by Mackenzie Vega  is a rebel with a floating cause and met with infinite understanding by her mother – Alicia The Good Mom?

A stellar team at law firm Lockhart/Gardner with its partners Diane Lockhart and Will Gardner, and high-flying staffers Kalinda Sharma and Cary Agos – Alicia a star among other stars – the Good Work Colleague?

But the Good Wife?  This does not feel like a running motif rather an initial hook later forgotten if not abandoned.

The Good Wife is itself written by partners Michelle and Robert King no doubt a good wife and good husband.

Alicia Florrick a good wife certainly, but The Good Wife the series just another Good Courtroom Drama?  If a genre with, excuse the pun, a high bar.

Living The Big C – Two for the Road

Cancer must be one of the hardest sells both to networks and their audience – it dealing with disease and in this case one that is often terminal with no it seems happy ending likely.

Credit then for Showtime for commissioning this Darlene Hunt terminal creation and to Channel 4 for picking it up this side of the Atlantic.

Crafted with comic spirit and grace so this cancer is chronicled. Courageously the charismatic Laura Linney character Cathy Jamison – the programs real Big C  – responds to the diagnosis.

Comfortless from her family – her husband is slung out of the household, her teenage son is a stranger in the house, her father out of state and out of mind.  Only her brother provides comfort if cold and up to the seventh episode the one I have just watched – Two for the Road – news of her cancer has yet to have been shared with any of them – well it was with her brother in this episode but it proved too much for him and the news was withdrawn as a reprisal prank – you have to see the episode to understand this!

Casting aside what is not important in her life and gathering in what is, Cathy takes control of her fate.

Cast is an ensemble performance with John Benjamin Hickey notable as her brother also courageous in his convictions often in the face of mainstream indifference and Oliver Platt as her uncommitted loving husband.

Cast-iron certainties there are not but I am hopeful this Big C like Cathy herself proves resilient and that many years lie ahead for it.!