Pret-tay, Pret-tay Good Return.

With Tony Soprano whacked (come on, do you really want to debate me on this?) and Entourage on hiatus until ’08, I was all excited about canceling my HBO subscription.

Then, a few weeks ago, I heard that quirky theme song with “New Episodes in September” taunting me. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Sunday night, after a Sopranos-esque two-year hiatus, Curb Your Enthusiasm made a pret-tay, pret-tay good premiere.

Larry and Cheryl are woken in the middle of the night by a smoke alarm on the fritz. Of course, the malfunctioning smoke alarm is the last alarm Larry checks and is the most out of reach. So what’s a guy to do to end this madness, but to smash it to smithereens with a baseball bat?

It’s at this point that any Curb regular knows that this act will come back to haunt Larry in the end.

The following day, all seems to be back to normal for Larry as he, Jeff (his manager), and Richard Lewis try to figure out which excuses they will use for missing the Funkhouser party the night before. Deciding against back-to-back parties, everyone has decided to attend Ted Danson’s party instead, which is later that night.

Jeff and his wife plan to use their kids as an excuse for missing the party. “It’s a great reason to have kids.” As a guy without kids, I have to agree. Like Larry, I’m envious of this. If you have kids, you get to use them as an excuse for missing work, skipping parties, and most importantly, collecting sports cards as an adult.

Larry has devised something completely original, however. He decides to show up a day late to the party. This way, when he and Cheryl appear “ready for the party,” the Funkhousers will believe Larry just had the wrong day. A perfectly viable excuse for missing a party. They’ll then apologize for the mix-up and continue on to the Danson’s party.

Cheryl isn’t as big on the idea. And why would she be? She’s the voice of sanity. I mean, reason. Instead, Cheryl has other things on her mind. On the way to the Funkhouser “party,” Cheryl tries convincing Larry that they should house a displaced family from Hurricane Edna. Larry likes this idea as much as he likes the “Schmohawks” who get in his way while driving.

I will now call any lousy driver a Schmohawk from now until the end of time.

Larry and Cheryl arrive at the Funkhouser place and the entire plan falls apart. Instead of the planned hit-and-run, the Funkhousers invite Larry and Cheryl in for an impromptu gathering. “You don’t have any plans. You’re supposed to be here. We have plenty of leftovers!” Shortly thereafter, Jeff and his wife arrive, using the same excuse Larry concocted about thinking it was that day. The Funkhousers don’t seem to realize the absurd coincidence. Before they know it, all three couples are sitting down and playing the Newlywed Game.

Larry isn’t going to make it to the Danson party after all.

The Newlywed Game is never a good idea for couples – even more so if your name is Larry David. Typical Larry, when asked in the game which friend’s significant other he would like to sleep with, he answers Cha Cha (Richard’s girlfriend). The others have enough common sense not to answer the question, but Larry’s response angers Cheryl. “So you want to sleep with Cha Cha?” Cheryl asks. Lucky for him, this blow-up serves as the perfect excuse to leave.

Unlucky for him, the only way to get himself out of the dog house is to give in and share his home with the hurricane refugees.

Never one to learn his lesson, as Larry and Cheryl are on their way to the airport to pick up the hurricane family, Larry decides to stop at the Danson household for round two of the “I thought it was today” excuse.

Second verse, same as the first.

Larry and Cheryl are invited in. Only this time, Richard Lewis and Cha Cha appear, a`la Jeff before, also using the Larry David excuse. Another blow-out ensues courtesy of the prior night’s Newlywed Game response, and again Larry uses this to slip away from the Danson gathering.

Better late than never, Larry and Cheryl finally make it to the airport to pick up the family displaced by Hurricane Edna. It’s an African American family with the last name “Black.” The second Larry hears this, never one to allow any thought to run through a filter first, Larry comments, “Really? That’s like if my last name was Jew. Larry Jew!” Oh boy.

Upon returning home, Cheryl decides they need to throw a party for the Black family, which consists of Loretta (the mother), her two children, and an aunt. Larry has less of a problem with this as he does with the fact that not only is Loretta a chain-smoker, but she sees nothing wrong with lighting up and smoking in the house.

Yes, we know where this is going to end up.

The one thing Larry and Cheryl agreed on from the Funkhouser experience, was that the cake was the best cake they’ve ever had. So, they decide to get the Black cake from the same bakery. Problem is, they realize they’ve walked into an erotic bakery. And the cake they were eating at the Funkhousers, which is now staring back at them at the bakery, is shaped like a black penis. Larry’s response – “He knowingly served us penis?”

Needless to say, they don’t buy the cake.

Unfortunately, ever the follower, Jeff has ordered the same cake. Only, he hasn’t thought to open the box beforehand. He brings the chocolate penis cake to the party and thus brings said party to an early end.

At the end of the night, Larry sits at the kitchen table and eats the untouched cake. When Loretta comes down, finally able to get the traumatized children to bed, her response to Larry’s offer for a piece of the cake is rather succinct. She puts her cigarette out, in Larry’s cake. He finishes his last bite, then walks the cake and cigarette to the garbage and throws it away – into the garbage beneath the location formerly home to the smoke detector. When Larry shuffles back up to bed, Cheryl asks him, “Where’ve you been?” Larry deadpans, “Eating some penis.” He shuts off the light and goes to bed.

Night turns to day with Larry, Cheryl, and the entire Black family standing out in the front yard as firefighters drag charred furniture from the house, still with smoke flowing from the windows, courtesy of the smoldering cigarette.

Just as Larry tries to figure out where they’re going to live, Ted Danson shows up with a bottle of wine. Ted, like Larry the other night, got the day of the party wrong.

Luckily, Marty Funkhouser didn’t show up with cake.