“Side Sitting” explores consent as Larry makes a new lady friend while fighting his own sexual harassment case.
This recap of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 2, “Side Sitting”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
As the battle lines are drawn for the upcoming war between Latte Larry and Mocha Joe, “Side Sitting” busies itself with some new wrinkles in Larry David’s increasingly screwed-up life. A sexual harassment case, a misguided birthday present, a cancer scare, and a potential new romance all crop up within Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 2, to predictably amusing results.
Larry’s lawyer in the harassment case is irritated by him after just minutes; Larry refuses to take the situation seriously, absolutely will not pay a settlement, and wants to use the lawyer’s swanky bathroom. Naturally, he gets annoyed when he’s refused access and told to use the public one down the hall.
And then Dr. Bahn (Jodi Long) calls with more bad news: Larry has a “mass” that she’s concerned about. Cancer? We’ll see.
It’s hard not to get the sense that there’s a part of Larry that would enjoy cancer just for something else to reliably complain about. During poker night he and his friends all agree that if any of them falls ill, the rest will ghost them; it’s just easier than being a “cancer friend”. At lunch with Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) – guest-starring another wobbly table – Larry floats the idea that, if he has, say, two years to live, she could be with him until he died and then still find happiness with Ted Danson after. She’s less than thrilled about this idea; later, it turns out that Ted isn’t happy that, during the conversation, Larry sat at the side of Cheryl instead of across from her. Side sitting is, it seems, a big no-no.
At multiple points in Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 2, a contractor shows up; he’s fixing up Larry’s new coffee shop and Susie (Susie Essman) and Jeff’s (Jeff Garlin) deck. This guy is a persistent source of accented comedy as he deals with Susie’s foul-mouthed berating and later factors into the demolition of her birthday gift from Larry – a giant portrait which Jeff is absolutely and understandably fuming about. The episode even finds time for an aggrieved postman (Jon Daly) to confront Larry on his doorstep about spreading misinformation about his loss of post; at the same time, Larry gets the all-clear from Dr. Bahn, though none of his friends check up on him to find that out for themselves.
Meanwhile in “Side Sitting”, Larry is informed by his lawyer that his former assistant wants to meet face-to-face. He also uses the unguarded private toilet and, while meticulous about covering his tracks, obviously leaves enough clues that he’s strongly suspected in the act. But his run of luck continues. His mass is benign, he uses the swanky toilet, and then he asks out his lawyer’s assistant, Rita (Teri Polo) – and she says yes.
Before that, though, there are other matters to attend to. Ted Danson has found out that Larry was side sitting with Cheryl. And at a dinner party, Larry loses it with his chums for not asking about his medical results, angrily stabbing a tomato and ruining Susie’s portrait. This is great news for Jeff, who hates the thing, and it helps to heal a bit of a rift between him and Larry, even if it opens up a completely new one between Larry and Susie. She later drives past his house and sees that the angry contractor has torn the portrait to pieces and dumped it in the garbage outside Larry’s house.
Larry’s meeting with his assistant in Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 2 is, predictably, a disaster, though it starts well enough. But just as it seems like Larry is about to talk his way out of trouble, here comes Ted Danson, and he’s forced to side sit – without consent! – to create the illusion that it’s his regular thing. The concept of consent is played with extensively during Larry’s date with Rita, during which he relentlessly asks permission for everything and documents the process on video, and to some extent during another legal meeting about the harassment case, during which Larry’s lawyer confronts him under oath about whether or not he used his toilet. It might not be the most sophisticated exploration of consent on television, but it sure is funny.