Veteran stand-up comedian and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David has been owning the HBO comedy circuit for several years now, his documentary-style show well into its 7th season. For those unfamiliar, picture George Costanza (modeled after Mr. David) transported by success from the gritty streets of New York City to a life of luxury in Los Angeles. He hasn't changed much, but the company he keeps has. Most of his friends are celebrities (Ted Danson, Richard Lewis, and many more) and the comedy-of-manners technique has been upped quite a few social notches. You're much more likely to see him in a country club than a greasy spoon. Oh yeah, and everyone says "fuck."
Larry's character is just as laughable (or despicable, depending on your perspective) as George, and the episodes typically wrap up in classic Seinfeld fashion. Several plot points converge by coincidence -- typically with dire consequences for our protagonist, whose brutal honesty and abidance by an unconventional code of ethics reaps trouble for himself and everyone around him.
This year's fare looks to be at least as awkwardly hilarious -- if not more -- as the previous 6. So far, we've seen Larry
* search desperately for a way to nix his girlfriend, whose medical diagnosis turns Larry's extramarital fling into a high maintenance drag
* get his doctor's personal number, promise not to use it, then proceed to harass him on the phone and at his home
* fume over a misspelling on his mother's gravestone
* date a disabled woman, have horrible sex, lose her number, then replace her with another disabled woman
* get in a physical fight with Rosie O'Donnell over a restaurant check -- and lose
* engage in a heated debate with Christian Slater over how much caviar he's allowed to eat at a party
* kill a hypertensive golfer by yelling at him, then kill the country club owner's prized black swan with a golf club
* accidentally splash urine on a painting of Jesus at his secretary's house, leading her to plan a national tour based on the miracle of the Messiah's miraculous teardrop.
Past seasons have revolved around ongoing plots, such as Larry opening a new restaurant, starring in The Producers on Broadway, and discovering that he may be adopted. Each episode has a defined story of its own but typically inserts some plot element to further the overall season theme and build toward a climax in the finale. Season 7 ups the ante even further with the promise of a long-awaited Seinfeld reunion show. Larry pitches the idea to Jerry, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in hopes to regain his estranged wife, Cheryl, by casting her as George's ex. Evidently, Monk's Diner is going to look exactly the same, and Jerry's apartment will be little changed except for a few updated electronics. And for all the Wayne Knight fans out there, the previews indicate that a half-sized Newman will make a cameo.
After some nudging, Jerry signs on to the reunion idea -- but with reservations. After all, didn't Larry used to make fun of reunion shows that appeared to be little more than cash-ins? He has a point. The reunion show could be a huge disappointment, but I'm really hoping for the best. Already HBO has circulated a little featurette that touts the show as a "different kind of reunion" -- a show within a show that fits within the context of the Curb series and the Seinfeld continuum. Judging by the brilliance of past season finales, we have a lot to look forward to. And if not . . . well, at least he tried.