Larry David redefines heroism for a generation and puts Ricky Gervais in his place.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "The Hero"

Story By: Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel & Jeff Schaffer
Director: Alec Berg


Into every generation, there comes a hero who is willing to stand up to danger and adversity with great courage in their heart. Someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of humanity.

And that hero is not Larry David.

However, LD is not without his moments. Picking up almost right where left off in the previous episode, Larry, Jeff (Jeff Garlin) and Susie Greene (Susan Essman) are on a plane heading to New York when a gorgeous woman named Donna sits next to Larry. As the Greenes silently encourage Larry to talk to the woman, his initial attempts to start a conversation are rebuffed. But what woman wouldn't take a taste of Pinkberry from a total stranger? Sacrilege! 

In fact, Larry and Donna don't seem to get along at all and he even calls her out on the encroachment of her drink onto his side of the armrest. Finally getting up to use the restroom, Larry finds the first class restroom occupied before he tries to use the restroom in the coach section. Along the way, he's stopped by essentially the female version of himself who hilariously debates with him about whether he should be allowed to use the coach restroom… shortly before the argument devolves into them making faces at each other.

As Larry finally tends to his needs in the coach restroom, a passenger gets out of his seat and beligerantly argues with a stewardess. The man seems prone to violence and before the situation can escalate, Larry bravely tackles the man and holds him down until he calms himself and begs for mercy.

Actually, Larry just happened to trip on his super long shoelaces, but everyone on the plane assumes that it was an intentional response to a potential danger and they give him an ovation. Even Jeff and Susie commend him on his bravery and Ally is suddenly much more open to Larry's advances.

Larry starts to enjoy the idea of him being a hero a little too much when he seems to draw parallels between himself and Captain Chesley Sullenberger. Jeff also finds that he can get Larry to take action by suggesting that he'll "be a hero" if he gets their food from the counter while their Waiter (Dan Bakkedahl) chats up Ricky Gervais.

The Waiter seems to have an almost supernatural ability to sneak up on people and intrude upon their conversations. An off-hand remark from Jeff about how he wants to sign Ricky Gervais is met with a sudden offer from the Waiter to buy Gervais a bottle of wine… which comes out to $300. The Waiter is also quite put out over Larry usurping his duties. 

At a dinner party held by Jeff and Susie, Larry finds himself increasingly at odds with Gervais on everything from the wine to the super hard French bread that Larry brought to the party.  Susie even outs Larry as a klutz and not a hero to Donna, who loses all interest in Larry as a result.

I have to say, Gervais was a huge a**hole in this episode. For example, he leaves Larry a ticket to his Broadway play at the box office, but Larry still has to pay the $200 face value for it. When Larry later points out that he had to pay for what he thought was a courtesy ticket, Gervais simply says that he gave Larry "art."

And let's talk about that art for a second. The play in question was an incredibly boring and pretentious story about a man who is afraid of what horrors the first World War will bring. Gervais' performance is quickly ruined by Larry and Susie's non-stop argument and thus he rates his effort in the show as a mere "9 out of 10."

It was beginning to look like Gervais was just going to be an annoying foil for Larry, but Gervais' performance as himself was redeemed by how cowardly he allowed himself to portrayed as at the end of the episode. After refusing Larry's demand for $500 back and rejecting Jeff's ambition to sign him (thanks again to the noisy Waiter), Gervais goes the extra mile and steals Donna away from Larry. Stepping out of the bakery with fresh French bread, Larry stalks them to the next subway car where he witnesses Gervais quickly cave to a man attempting to rob him and Donna.
Who knows what went through Larry's mind at that point? Maybe he thought to leave Gervais and Donna to their fate or he realized that this was the perfect chance to show that he could be brave. Either way, Larry drew his bread like a sword from a sheath and proceeded to clobber the gun wielding robber with the bread and run off their attacker. Gervais and Donna could only watch in amazement as Larry soaked up the moment of real heroism and made them feel guilty.

Of course, to undercut one of the finest moments in Larry's life, the subway door shut on his overly long shoelaces and started dragging him away. That was a clever way to bring it back around full circle to Larry's accidental heroic deed.

Although that was kind of a harsh way to leave Larry, it wouldn't be "Curb Your Enthusiasm" if everything didn't backfire on him in the end.

Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.