Comedy On TV - Reunions, Oration and Urinations
While Larry David may be genuine in his belief that reunion shows are lame, he knows how to spin the best out of a flimsy idea. Getting the key cast of Seinfeld back together for the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm (More4, Thu 3 Dec, 10.40pm) couldn’t have happened without a good reason. And for the fictional ‘Larry’, this was in order to get his wife Cheryl back, having inadvertently got rid of girlfriend Loretta whose cancer was getting in the way of his golf. Probably the best set of ten episodes since the consistently brilliant third series where Larry, Jeff, Ted et al tried to get a new restaurant off the ground, Curb has once more found its funny (and an audience: US ratings were the highest yet for the HBO show). While the Seinfeld reunion storyline gave the series its headline appeal, the best moments actually occurred away from the reunion arc; the episode in which Larry is mistaken for a widow’s murdered husband, shortly before he accidentally urinates on a painting of Jesus is simply colossal. And so what if the Catholic League want Larry David crucified for it?
Controversy has never been in short supply when The Thick of It (BBC2, Sat 5 Dec, 10.40pm) gets into its stride, though even its most fervent detractors have pretty much given up on Armando Iannucci and his ability to pen half an hour of constant cursing and moved onto other targets (people joking about the physical appearance of swimmers and suchlike). This series’ revelation is the casting of the brilliant Rebecca Front as Nicola Murray, the painfully out of her depth Social Affairs and Citizenship Secretary, whose skill for the high profile gaffe is as prolific as Malcolm Tucker’s genius for inventive profanity.
Other shows worth looking out for over the fortnight are Guantanamo Phil (Channel 4, Fri 11 Dec, 10pm), the latest Comedy Showcase in which a Woolies’ assistant manager (Steve Edge) is detained while birdwatching on the Afghan border; We Need Answers
(BBC4, Tue 8 Dec, 10pm) features Tim Key, Mark Watson and Alex Horne giving the ‘gameshow’ a good name; and Gary: Tank Commander (BBC2, Mon 7 Dec, 9pm), the creation of Greg McHugh, is inadvisedly taking part in a public debate with the hotshots at St Andrew’s University. All very Larry David, that.