Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 7, Episode 4 “The Hot Towel” (B+)
The episode immediately following the beginning of the Seinfeld reunion possesses no traces of any Seinfeld characters, but it’s a fantastic episode nonetheless. As usual, Larry pushes the boundaries of social conventions, this time by asking a doctor for his home number so that he could feel more secure. The preposterous chain of events that spirals out of that miniscule insistence on the part of Larry is pretty, pretty funny, and Philip Baker Hall plays a great irritated straight man as doctor to Larry’s rude, worrisome, invasive patient. Larry’s run-in with Christian Slater at Ted and Mary’s anniversary party is also a highlight. It’s refreshing to see Slater play himself, a far snarkier, livelier characterization than his recent performances on “The Forgotten” and “My Own Worst Enemy.” His taking of far more than the individual allotment at the snack table was great, especially in the way that it fed right into Larry being accused by Mary of just that feat. Larry’s run-in with an ex-girlfriend and her failure to mention her involvement with a rather aggresion-prone, strong-looking male made for a spectacular run-in at Mateo’s where a vengeful Slater had the chance to point him right in Larry’s direction. Some of Larry’s interactions are less funny and more simply uncomfortable and awkward, and Larry breaking out in interruptory applause right in the middle of Jeff and Susie’s daughter’s song performance falls into that category, though it’s not cringeworthy enough to make it unbearable. Overall, Larry deserves what he gets, and there’s a satisfaction to seeing the man who makes everyone else uncomfortable knocked off his rather shaky high horse.