TV Discussion: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 Episode 4: The Smiley Face

Oh Larry.  This week, in “The Smiley Face”, Larry’s penchant for stupid lies comes back to haunt him in every way he doesn’t want them to.  At the same time, his simple, brutal, honesty continues to be the bane of his existence.  First, we learn that Larry is dating the hostess of his favorite restaurant, and he reveals to Jeff that he has one goal in mind while doing so:  To break the “don’t shit where you eat” taboo.

To do this, he claims he will eventually break up with the girl, and then, rather than do the social norm and ignore the place forever from that moment on, he will instead continue eating there, instead ignoring the girl.  You can guess how that will go.  In a pinch, late to a lunch with Richard Lewis, he doesn’t want to be blamed for the disrespect, so he instead tells Richard it was because their mutual dermatologist kept him waiting for 45 minutes, which infuriates Richard and causes him to cancel his appointment, along with all of his friends, a large portion of the doctor’s patients.

In other areas of the world, Larry doesn’t even have to say anything to his friend Stu, who takes Larry saying nothing when asked about Jeff and Suzie’s relationship (after Jeff used it as a cheap excuse to get out of a dinner at Stu’s) of course it will come back to haunt him, but not yet.

In the meantime, he’s done something stupid:  while his office manager is out of the office tending to her sick father, Larry gives up a cabinet of space in the kitchen of the production offices they work in, to a new reality  TV producer named “Dog”.

Larry is up in arms, and he wants her to come back, at least for one day, to clean up and get the kitchen situation figured out.  She finally relents, since her father has been doing so well recently.   She agrees to come back to work, because in the meantime, Dog has taken over 2 cabinets, overstepping his cabinetry boundaries, and infuriating Larry to no end.  The slow burn is in full effect here, as it often is in Curb Your Enthusiasm, you know something bad is coming because you see it, but the joy is to watch it all slowly crumble down.

Larry’s plans to shit where he eats “and then continue to eat where I shat” predictably blow up when Larry loans his new hostess girlfriend $60.  Simple enough, but when she reveals later she just used a credit card after all, Larry is perturbed when she doesn’t give the money back.  He knows this will be the break-up, but in the meantime, he tries his best to make it amicable.  At the eventual argument, she just agrees with him, figuring any argument would be worse than just leaving the relationship.  Larry is glad to have her gone.  “Oh, this is a break up?  *smiles*”

Once Larry has had his way in one corner of the Earth, a sprocket busts loose.  His office manager has come back, cleaned up, and made some progress in talking to Dog about the cabinet space.  Larry is joyful in his selfish little corner of the world, when she finds out her father died, crying out her name with his last breath.  While Larry seems nonplussed, he offers his condolences as only he can.

After the break up, Larry’s dermatologist prescribed sunscreen is left to the hostess during the argument, and when Larry is so pleased with the outcome, he falls asleep in the sun.  Seeing the dermatologist, he can’t help but ask Larry what the hell happened when he shows up to a funeral with a smiley face on his forehead.

Jeff gets his from Suzie when she hears the news that he said they’re “having problems” to get out of dinner with Stu, so Suzie is on the warpath, convince that Jeff is cheating on her.  Meanwhile, Larry is arguing with the doctor over his wait times, after Larry’s cover-up for his lateness to the Richard Lewis begins to come unraveled.  When everyone sees Larry, they are further unimpressed with the doctor, who loses it when Larry admits everything to Richard Lewis.  Worst funeral guest ever:  Larry David.   Of course, to break the taboo, he goes back to the restaurant, where he learns that there just isn’t any eating where you shat after you’ve done so, even if you’d like to.

Another hilarious episode, I love season 8 so far, I’m just curious at which point will Larry return to New York?  I thought it would be closer to halfway in the season, but maybe it’ll just be a small arc?  Maybe it’ll be how he ends the show?  He’s got me hooked, I can’t wait until next week’s episode “Vow of Silence”.

What do you think?  What was the best moment from “The Smiley Face”?  Is this season on par with the last 7 seasons?  Better?  Worse?  You tell me!

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