Who wouldn't be wildly enthusiastic about a "Seinfeld" reunion even if it is being called an anti-reunion show and actually appears on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm"?
I was skeptical that Larry David -- the creator and star of "Curb" and co-creator of "Seinfeld" -- could pull this one off and make us forget the savaged "Seinfeld" finale that he wrote a decade ago.
Not that I was one of the reviewers who slammed the 1998 finale, which landed all the regulars in jail for a year for "criminal indifference."
But it's become such conventional wisdom that the finale was a disaster that even Jason Alexander (who played George, the character primarily based on David) thinks of it that way in the third episode of the "Curb" season that kicks off the "Seinfeld" reunion cycle.
"Curb" actually has its season premiere at 10 p.m. this Sunday. The first two funny episodes that deal with David's trademark selfishness, anti-social behavior and inability to censor himself set the plate for the start of the "Seinfeld" reunion.
Anyone who has watched "Curb" over the years knows there is nothing too insignificant for David to complain about. His pet peeves early this season include the temperature inside his house, his neighbors, empty gestures of friendship, the percentage of apricots that actually taste good, the difficulties of opening vacuum-sealed packages, the unofficial rules of tipping waiters or the misguided joys of owning pet fish.
And then there's what passes for bigger issues -- like knowing who is going to be invited to a party before deciding if you want to be included. It all is hysterically funny.
It would spoil the party to explain how and why David schemes in the season's third episode to bring Jerry, Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) and Michael Richards (Kramer) back for a reunion when he has been on record as believing such shows usually are pathetic.
But there are clues to David's desperate plot in the first two episodes, which revolve around his attempts to get his sick girlfriend (Viveca Fox) and her family out of his house so he can move on and disturb other people in his life.
Having been around David for several seasons, Jerry, Jason and Julia aren't surprised by any of his ridiculously funny habits, needs and foibles. Richards, on the other hand, is oblivious to just about everything.
The start of the "Seinfeld" anti-reunion story is extremely clever and funny and leaves you wanting more. It looks like this could be one of the best ideas of the season. 4 stars out of 4
The two-hour "House" movie that airs at 8 p.m. Monday on WUTV isn't such a great idea. It's a slow-building, often dull film in which the Larry David of medical shows -- Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) -- gets treatment at the psychiatric hospital he was admitted to in last season's finale.
He isn't happy to be there. He has to stay to get the approval of the damaged doctor (played by the exceptional Andre Braugher of "Homicide") who is treating him in order to get back his medical license.
Not surprisingly, the self-destructive House initially rebels against authority and tries to create havoc with several patients who seem to have escaped from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
When the patients are well enough to leave, they are cheered with a chorus of "we hope we never see you again." House also meets a beautiful musician (played by German actress Franka Potente of "Run Lola Run"), who looks like Katarina Witt and is visiting her silent sister-in-law.
Things go rather slowly for the first hour before Braugher's character convinces a reluctant House of the benefits of dealing with the deeper issues in his past to learn how to be happy in the future. Most of the emotional moments in the stronger second half of the film are telegraphed and practically scream, "this is going to be poignant."
I much prefer the show when House is the jerk we all know and love and not a guy who we can sympathize with or root for to get better. As far as a TV character, he's fine as the Kanye West he usually is on the series. I hope we never see this version of House again. 2 and a half stars