Episode Title: "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox"
Story By: Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer
Director: Alec Berg
If New York has a favorite son, it sure isn't Larry David.
Several weeks into his New York sojourn, Larry manages to turn "Back to the Future" and "Family Ties" star, Michael J. Fox into his latest mortal enemy. Though in typical Larry fashion, it's not clear how much of the conflict is one-sided. As Fox puts it later "I have a sickness in my brain. You have a sickness in your mind."
In Larry's defense, every passive aggressive gesture on Fox's part is blamed on Parkinson's disease. A soda explodes in Larry's face? Parkinson's. Clomping boots coming from Fox's apartment at all times in the night? Parkinson's!
Even Larry's doorman (Jon Glaser) — whom Larry gave Yankees tickets — sides with Fox and practically threatens Larry after Fox bumps into him. When Larry brings it up with the housing board, the tables are turned on Larry and he is placed on probation.
At the board's suggestion, Larry is "advised" to contribute $10,000 to Fox's charitable foundation to combat Parkinson's. And yet again, Larry causes a disturbance just by trying to silently communicate with Jeff (Jeff Garlin). Fox calls Larry out on the disruption and the crowd turns on him. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads the mob by ordering Larry to leave the city. It's a defining moment for Larry when even the mayor of his hometown doesn't want him around.
Amazingly, Larry is still seeing Jennifer (Ana Gasteyer) from last week's episode and he meets her seven year old son, Greg (Edward Schweighardt); who is a big "Project Runway" fan and very effeminate. Greg catches Larry drawing Hitler mustaches and a swastika on his mother's magazines and he is instantly taken with the design for the swastika. Larry's explanation about what the swastika has come to mean doesn't deter the young boy from asking Larry to bring him one for his birthday. Instead, Larry buys him a sewing machine.
It turns out, Larry is ahead of the curve on this one. He doesn't have a problem with what he assumes to be Greg's future homosexuality, but Jennifer and Susie (Susan Essman) freak out and accuse Larry of trying to make the kid gay. For once, Larry is actually the most progressive person in a social situation. However, he immediately looks bad when Greg shows off the swastika pillow case he made for Susie after Larry "showed him how to make it."
Leon (JB Smoove) had one of the funniest lines of the episode when he threatened to confront Fox and said he would be Michael J. F***ed up. Aasif Mandvi also has a hilarious cameo as man who gets into an elevator button argument with Larry. I guess part of Larry's problem is that he never knows when to let an annoyance go.
Soon enough, Fox approaches Larry to make amends by visiting sick children with him. Instead, Larry makes another elaborate excuse and ends up on a two month trip to Paris with Leon. And Larry being Larry, he almost immediately begins arguing with a Frenchman over his parking skills and he calls him a "pig parker" in near fluent French.
Looking back, this was a very good season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but the New York episodes just didn't add as much to the show as I assumed that they would. The series is still indelibly "Curb" even if the background setting is New York City or Paris. And maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.