“Happy New Year” unleashes a few years of pent-up frustration in a typically acerbic, unusually eager Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 premiere.
This recap of the Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 premiere, “Happy New Year”, contains spoilers.
Back, and as miserable as ever, perennial crank Larry David was wished a “Happy New Year” countless times in the Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 premiere, much to his annoyance. But it’s a delight for an audience, for whom this kind of acerbic tirade against selfie sticks, artisanal coffee shops, and political correctness is welcome no-limits relief in an increasingly draconian entertainment culture.
The skill of Curb Your Enthusiasm, much like Seinfeld, which David co-created, is that it’s a masterclass in escalating complexity; each of Larry’s social faux-pas and trivial arguments is a snowball gathering misanthropic momentum until everything comes together in time for a climax. In “Happy New Year” Larry got annoyed at coffee shop proprietor Mocha Joe (Saverio Guerra) over his soft scones, wobbly tables, and tepid beverages, got annoyed at a heavily pregnant woman for working out and thus “jostling the fetus”, took to wearing a MAGA hat to avoid a meeting with Phil Rosenthal – among others – and eventually got accused of sexual assault, not at all helped by his Harvey Weinstein lookalike agent (Jeff Garlin).
It’s evident in the Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10 premiere that the show still has no interest in tiptoeing around taboo subjects, which is all the better. But the show’s edgy in a lovable way; despite Larry’s annoyance at virtually everything, the semi-autobiographical show is never mean-spirited. It’s just funny. And it also introduces threads that’ll hopefully continue throughout the season, including frequent appearances from Larry’s lodger Leon (JB Smoove), the on-going feud with Mocha Joe, and a rekindling of Larry’s relationship with his ex-wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) behind the back of Ted Danson.
Neither Larry nor the show has mellowed, or show any signs of intending to. But of course, the not particularly well-kept secret weapon of Curb is how much fun everyone is having; in most scenes, the actors are stifling laughs and not making much of an effort to disguise the fact. Everyone’s in on the joke. There should be plenty more to come.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.