July 18, 2011
Curb Your Dodgers Enthusiasm
The season premiere of the brilliant HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm", starring Larry David, aired last week. I only got around to watching the episode this week, but I couldn't help but notice something worth recognizing here.
Photo by HBO
Character actor Gary Cole, who I guarantee you've seen before even if you haven't watched his scene-stealing performances in Talladega Nights and Office Space, appears in a guest starring role as Los Angeles Dodgers owner Joe O'Donnell. O'Donnell, the Irish, gray-haired businessman in a suit with no tie, is going through a tough divorce that threatens to take the team away from him.
Larry and O'Donnell share the same divorce lawyer - one Andrew Berg - who Larry is distraught to learn is not Jewish. Hijinks ensue, of course, as Larry's misadventures begin to intersect with O'Donnell's young daughter and the divorce proceedings. I won't ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't yet seen the episode, but I will say that I wish the final interaction between Larry and O'Donnell was based on some real-life event because it would make Frank McCourt so much more interesting.
I have no idea if Gary Cole will reprise his role as Joe O'Donnell again this season, but I sincerely hope he does. Other than Cole's physical appearance and the episode's ending, there wasn't much room for Frank McCourt-satire in this episode. In fact, O'Donnell was actually a likable character. But if Larry David and company can manage to work more jabs at the Frank McCourt drama into this new season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", it may just well be the greatest crossover of baseball and comedy television since "Homer At the Bat". McCourt is ripe for the picking and no one does it better than Larry David.
Besides, if Gary Cole can find a way to sneak in even one Bill Lumbergh-level "Yeah. Great." into Dodger Stadium, I might die a happy man.