Tuned In: New 'Curb' season features faux 'Seinfeld' reunion
September 18, 2009 4:00 AM
Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander will be on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on Oct. 4.
By Rob Owen Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
There's no question that some "Seinfeld" fans would do anything for an on-air reunion of that show's cast. If it means subscribing to HBO and sitting through the discomfort stirred up by the Larry David character on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," so be it.
The "Seinfeld" season of "Curb" begins Sunday at 9, but no "Seinfeld" cast members appear until the Oct. 4 episode; however, the seeds for that reunion show are sown in this weekend's season premiere.
Larry (Larry David playing, one hopes, a more extreme version of himself) is up to his usual nasty plotting again. This time he has to contrive a way to get his potentially cancer-stricken girlfriend (Vivica A. Fox) to move out of his house by breaking up with her before she gets a definitive diagnosis. He has no interest in nursing her back to health; that would require a level of selflessness fictional Larry is unacquainted with.
Both reality Larry and fictional Larry have long held that they would never make a "Seinfeld" reunion, but when he sees an opportunity to woo back estranged wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), he quickly changes his mind in the Oct. 4 episode that features Larry working to convince the "Seinfeld" regulars to make the reunion.
Jason Alexander, who played George on "Seinfeld" (a character based on Larry David), isn't sure at first that viewers would want to see the jerky, selfish, stupid George again or believe that he could woo back his ex-, the only plot Larry has conjured for the "Seinfeld" reunion. But, Alexander concedes, "It makes up for the [series] finale, that's for sure."
In the process of locking in the cast, Larry manages to make most of them angry and he insults the head of NBC, which is when the show hits a false note. An NBC executive, particularly in the network's current state, would happily submit to any ill behavior from Larry to get a "Seinfeld" reunion on the air.
Truth be told, as enjoyable as it is to see the "Seinfeld" characters on the famous sitcom's set again, of the three "Curb" episodes HBO sent for review, the Oct. 4 installment was the least funny. "Curb" is much more entertaining in its first two outings as Larry takes umbrage when a visitor to his home gets a lemonade from the refrigerator without invitation, argues with his girlfriend about the temperature of the house, wails like a stricken animal over plastic packaging he's unable to open and gets inspired by "Dr. Phil."
"Curb" is filled with uncomfortable comedy, as always, but its humor stems from the relatable minutiae of everyday life, not unlike what viewers watched on "Seinfeld."
HBO gets 'Bored'
It's tempting to say HBO's "Bored to Death" lives up to its title, but that's not entirely true. Sunday's premiere (at 9:30 p.m.) is a little dull, but future episodes have more entertainment value. Still, you have to be a fan of neuroses humor for "Bored" to have much comedic impact.
Created by Jonathan Ames, "Bored" stars actor Jason Schwartzman as a fictional Jonathan Ames, a Brooklyn writer who moonlights as a detective in an effort to be heroic. He undertakes his new endeavor -- in addition to writing his second novel and magazine pieces -- after his girlfriend leaves him because he drinks too much and smokes too much pot.
Lanky-haired Schwartzman makes for a pretty likeable loser who says, "I'm not good with anger. I go straight to depression." His best friend is played by Zach Galifianakis ("The Hangover"), who's in his usual weird-guy mode, although slightly less odd than in some past roles.
The show's funniest moments come from the situations Jonathan gets himself into while on his investigations. When he goes home with a woman from a party thrown by his magazine publisher boss (Ted Danson), they end up making out on a couch in her therapist father's office.
"I keep thinking about people sitting on this couch talking about being sexually abused," Jonathan says.
"Bored" is another one of these comedy series, like HBO's "Hung," that's not all that funny. Both are really more like half-hour dramas with moments of levity. Nothing inherently wrong with that except viewers have come to expect actual humor in half-hour shows. Fail to deliver and viewers may take titles like "Bored to Death" at face value.
I never found time to watch all of the first season of "Epitafios," but I sure liked what I saw.
Detectives Renzo Marquez (Julio Chavez) and Marina Segal (Cecilia Roth) return for a second season that will air on HBO Latino without English subtitles Fridays at 10 starting tonight and on HBO2 in Spanish with English subtitles on Tuesdays at 11 p.m., starting next week.
Contacting TV stations
This may seem unnecessary, but if you heard the phone calls we get at the Post-Gazette ...
As we get ready to begin a new TV season, it's worth reminding readers that if a TV station interrupts regular programming for "breaking news," there's not much the PG can do about it. Direct your outrage at the TV stations themselves, but don't verbally abuse the person who answers the phone (they, too, are powerless). It's the news director and/or general manager who makes the decision to pre-empt.
Contact numbers for TV stations are on page 31 of TV Week and online at post-gazette.com/tv, or just clip them out here:
'Light' goes out
Ending its run today, CBS's daytime soap "Guiding Light" (10 a.m., KDKA-TV) will live on for fans when a "Light" convention comes to town next month.
Actors Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, Daniel Cosgrove, Frank DiCopoulos, Gina Tognoni, Jeff Branson, Grant Aleksander, Ron Raines, Bradley Cole and Jordan Clarke are expected to attend the "So Long, Springfield" event Oct. 24 at the Hyatt Regency at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Daytime activities include a meet-and-greet with the cast, a Q&A session and opportunities to perform scenes with cast members. Vendors will sell "Light" merchandise, too. A "light strolling dinner" follows in the evening. Cost: $75 daytime only or evening only; $140 for the whole day. To purchase tickets, call 1-866-364-0330 or visit SoLongSpringfield.com.
Fall TV preview
The Post-Gazette's annual fall TV preview -- including capsule reviews of new shows, premiere dates of returning series and a best/worst list -- publishes Sunday in TV Week.
TBS has renewed "My Boys" for a fourth season. ... ABC Family has ordered an additional 10 episodes of "10 Things I Hate About You" but canceled "Ruby & the Rockits." ... ABC hasn't officially canceled "Defying Gravity," but no further episodes are scheduled, so don't hold your breath for those remaining episodes to air. ... WTAE executives, who would not discuss their G-20 coverage plans last week, have now released them: Coverage will include morning news beginning at 4:30 a.m. all next week, a special half-hour of news at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and an hour of news at 11 p.m. Thursday and next Friday.
Tuned In online
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Today's TV Q&A responds to questions about TV listings, "Two and a Half Men" and a WQED editorial choice. Tuned In Journal includes blog posts about the "The Jay Leno Show," Sunday's Emmy Awards and "Fringe." Read online TV coverage at post-gazette.com/tv.
In this week's Tuned In podcast, online features editor Sharon Eberson and I discuss Leno, BBC America's "Robin Hood" and the Emmys. Listen or subscribe at post-gazette.com/podcast.
Contact TV editor Rob Owen at
or 412-263-1112. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv.