Last night’s Curb Your Enthusiasm had generated a lot of buzz due to the “non-reunion reunion” of the Seinfeld cast. It’s been talked about for years, and it seemed like a pipe dream that the cast members of Seinfeld would ever get together again for a performance. Well, they did – sort of – and the result was pretty impressive. Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards all appeared as themselves on last night’s Curb, the topic of which was…a Seinfeld reunion. Did it capture the old Seinfeld magic? Well, no, not at all. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t funny.
Curb, which has always been a pretty self-aware show, knew that a Seinfeld reunion would have to be done the right way. The show’s premise was that Larry was prepared to dismiss any conversations about such a reunion, but if the reunion went forward, he could write in a part for Cheryl and possibly win her back. Now, Larry has incentive to push for a Seinfeld reunion, and of course, it’s all for personal, selfish reasons.
Larry approaches each one of the cast members of Seinfeld, pitching his ideas for a reunion show. And the best thing about this episode was that despite all the guest appearances, the show still revolved around Larry and his penchant for calling people out in awkward situations. He calls out Julia for missing an appointment with him and making up the excuse that she had to take her daughter to a birthday party, even going so far as to personally interrogate the daughter. And, in a hilarious bit, he gets into a heated argument with Jason Alexander over how much to tip when two people split the bill for a meal. For the record, I’m with Larry: you leave the same amount.
The reason the show worked, I think, is because it stayed true to Curb and didn’t try to be Seinfeld. The cast members of Seinfeld played themselves brilliantly (if that can be done) and reminded us that they are all (except for Jerry, I suppose) great comedic actors who nailed their roles for many years. Two moments that stood out in particular were 1) when Jason Alexander explained to Larry that George – a character based on Larry – is a lying, unlikeable loser and 2) when everyone essentially acknowledged that the Seinfeld series finale was a disappointment. Everyone except Larry, of course.
Other than Julia-Louis Dreyfus – who looked terrific – the cast of Seinfeld hasn’t aged very well. Jerry looked stale and bloated, Jason Alexander gained a ton of weight, and Michael Richards looked more like one of the Skeksis than a human being. Richards actually didn’t have much screen time, but I’m guessing that may be due to his little N-word tirade from a few years ago.
Naturally, Larry pissed off everyone around him, and it looks like any more thoughts of a Seinfeld reunion can be put to rest, even if Meg Ryan was interested in joining. If this was the closest we’re gonna get to a reunion, I’m just fine with that. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that this was the right way to do it; a reunion show itself would have likely been disappointing.
All in all, the non-reunion reunion was as good as I could have hoped for, and distancing it from the show as we remember it was a great move by the writers. My only regret is that there was no Leon this episode. I would have given anything to have seen him interact with the Seinfeld cast, especially Michael Richards.
What did you guys think? Did it live up to the hype for you, too?