Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb's Season 3 has Larry learning lessons on investing in a restaurant; how "Pitch In" can be a dangerous garbage slogan; why you shouldn't decline your dentist's invite to dinner; and it's all tied in to "Chet's Shirt." Who's Chet? Chet's dead, baby. Chet's dead.
Curb's opening walk and talk has Jeff asking Larry if he wants to be an investor in a new restaurant with himself and other celebs: Michael "Logan's Run" York and Ted "Cheers" Danson. Larry finishes his apple and, as they're in a residential neighborhood, tosses it in one of the garbage cans of a nearby driveway. Out comes 'Angry Neighbor' (Allan Havey) to threaten Larry for putting garbage in his garbage can. Larry is logical as always but it comes across as confrontational: why would this guy have a problem with him putting garbage in his garbage can? Essentially: why are you complaining that I took an item and placed it in a receptacle where those items go? He didn't throw it on the guy's lawn. Or walk in his house and throw it in the trash by the kitchen sink. He also didn't put 18 bags of toxic waste and exploded fluorescent tubing in the dude's cans. He put the garbage in the garbage can. But this guy wasn't having it.
I have to admit, it's something I've grappled with myself while walking the dog. I'm a good pet owner and curb (ha!) my dog and scoop up the pup's ahem "leavings" in a plastic bag. Then I start to carry that bag home. If I pass a trash can that's in front of a neighbor's house I'll grapple with doubt as to if I should just drop it in their can and be on my way. Again: it's not like the can is pristine. It's a city-supplied plastic garbage can. It's within reach. I'm putting trash in it. Heck, the trash I'm depositing is even BAGGED. But I always feel like I'm going to get caught by an 'Angry Neighbor' who will yell at me for putting garbage in the garbage can. Am I the only one? What is correct garbage can etiquette?
At the first meeting of investors, Larry drops that he won't give any money if they're serving kabobs, prompting Michael York to ask, "Why are you a kabob-a-phobe?" I hope Michael improvised that line. That's great stuff. And actually I thought Larry would have run with such a line through the rest of the episode. But as always Larry never does what you think he'll do (remember the passcode bit from Season 1 Episode 3 "Porno Gil?").
Larry proves he should NOT be a restaurant manager by suggesting the following things in the meeting:
The tables should have bells that patrons can ring when they want their waiters.
The wait staff's uniforms should be: military shirts complete with shoulder insignia or shirts that look like a red and white checkered table cloth or shirts that make them look like ---Larry David.
These ideas are all quickly squelched by Jeff and the other investors. Even Cheryl gets in on poo-pooing the idea when Larry tells her later. He admits to her that he's always wanted to walk around the floor of a restaurant greeting guests. Cheryl says, "I thought you didn't like talking to people," and Larry responds with, "I don't like talking to people I know, but strangers I have no problem with." Makes perfect 'Larry-sense.'
Like many a Curb episode, the title of the episode is almost a B story. "Chet's Shirt" comes into play when Larry reveals to Cheryl that the new shirt he's wearing is the same one her friend Barbara's husband was wearing in a picture in her house. Barbara's dead husband, I might add. It always amazes me how Cheryl will react to Larry's choices. Here, instead of freaking out and saying, "No, Larry. You can't wear the same shirt of my friend's dead husband." Instead she finds it funny; giggling as she says how impressed she is that Larry went shopping. Isn't she worried about Barbara seeing the shirt and erupting into tears?
I'm not even mentioning the whole dentist plot! Larry gets his teeth knocked out at a birthday party for Ted's daughter. Whhhhaaat you ask? Let me sum up: Ted wanted people to play Wizard of Oz characters at his kid's party. He originally offerred the role to Jeff, and then rescinded the offer at the party because the gift Larry gave to Ted (a duplicate shirt to his dead-guy shirt) had a hole in it and Larry wouldn't return it. Ted's daughter takes a swing at a piñata and hits the neuoses-filled guy (Larry) instead of the candy-filled donkey (piñata) ---knocking out his two front teeth and sending him to the dentist.
The dentist had invited Larry to dinner but (Larry being Larry) didn't want to mix business and pleasure ("What are we going to talk about, my teeth?") so he lied and told him he was going out of town. The lie would have worked had he not bumped into a friend of the dentist's named Burt Bondy. (Who comes UP with these NAMES?! It sounds like an infomercial product: "Got an uneven floor? Burt Bondy will smooth it out! Grease on a silk chemise? Burt Bondy can zap those stains! Buy one Burt, get a Bondy FREEEEE! Burt Bondy. BURT BONDY!") So Larry gets the 3rd degree in the interrogation —er, dentist, chair and comes home with the worst buck teeth this side of Bugs Bunny.
As for "Chet's Shirt," Barbara shows up at the house, sees Larry in the shirt and (as I predicted and Cheryl didn't) wells up into a puddle of sad, smearing her running makeup all over the shirt. Larry, who's now lost 2 of the 3 he purchased (one to blood and piñata bats, one to sadness and woe) sprints to save the holed one that Ted didn't accept and gets into a tug of war with Ted tearing the last of the "Chet's shirt" surplus to ribbons.
Is this the end of "Chet's Shirt"? I hope not. I'd love for Larry to find one or two more in some future seasons and try and hermetically seal them in a giant bag like an Action Comics #1 or a fine wine. 'Course we all know he'd drop the wine on the comic...