Vantage point

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Seinfeld-Curb Crescendo Approaches

It is no secret that I have been super-excited about the Seinfeld reunion arc on this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The reunion episode earlier in the season, as well as another episode with a big role for Jerry, were both hilarious. But last night's episode - The Table Read, was even better.

The premise of the episode, as the name suggests, was a table read and rehearsal for the Seinfeld reunion show. The bits and pieces of dialog gave ample hints about where our beloved characters are in 2009. And those tiny morsels were delectable enough to warrant a petition for an actual reunion episode.

Jerry still lives in his old apartment and Kramer is still his neighbor. George, who once boasted that he could tell you the location of a usable toilet in the vicinity of any location in Manhattan, has created an iPhone app for it - the iToilet. He made millions from it, and of course, gave it all to Bernie Madoff to invest, and lost it all. Kramer of course, in his cluelessly tactless manner, keeps reminding George of his ordeal, by reading out details from news stories about Madoff. Elaine has a daughter, sired using Jerry's sperm. There are references to Superman, and of coruse, there is a signature Newman appearance, complete with the hissed "hello jerry, hello newman" and the door slamming. Estelle and Bania make appearances. And a lot of previous Curb elements have been incorporated, such as cutting the doll's hair, hiring a hooker to use the carpool lane, and so on.

The behind-the-scenes look recreates the magic of the outtakes. For instance, when rehearsing the Newman scene, Jerry can't help cracking up. Thinking about the scene is an exercise in recursion - did Larry actually want a scene which shows Jerry cracking up? Or did Jerry crack up unplanned, and they went with the flow and used the scene? Or did Larry know that Jerry would crack up and.... mind boggling, but delicious.

And the question of everyone's mind has been answered. Would they make a reference to Michael Richards' N-word outburst? Indeed they did, and in a brilliant way that only Larry could have dreamed up. It is not at all inappropriate, does not make light of the situation, and yet is hilarious. It involved two of my favorite Curb characters - Leon Black and Morty Funkhauser.

I am amazed at how filled-to-the-brim the episode was. Apart from the Seinfeld-script elements, Seinfeld backstage elements, and the involvement of Curb regulars, the episode also had two of Larry's favorite tropes - a tiff with a kid and a misunderstanding with a waiter. When the episode ended, I could hardly believe that it was just 35 minutes long.

One small inconsistency though. Worlds collided! A paradox was created! Vicki Lewis plays Stacy, who is ostensibly in the set crew, in charge of lighting. She had also played the role of George's efficient bespectacled secretary when he worked for the Yankees. They could have just had her playing herself. But oh well.

Next Sunday is the big season finale. Which will also be on the sets of Seinfeld, and hopefully give more glimpses into the reunion episode. Watch it!