Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9
Starring: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman
Writer: Larry David & Jeff Schaffer, Assorted
Review by Michael Walls-Kelly
For a series based on uncomfortable social interactions, awkward meetings, and inappropriate conversations, Curb Your Enthusiasm manages to be familiar and comforting.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a new episode of this series. Larry David has an enviable agreement with HBO. He’ll make a season if and when he feels like it. The arrangement is both beneficial to the discerning viewer and hilariously perfect for Larry David. He’s exactly the kind of guy who would only agree to something like that. I mean, as the co-creator of Seinfeld he literally never has to agree to anything, but still, we’re all incredibly lucky that he had more to say.
Each Curb Your Enthusiasm season has a head a loose storyline, some of them stricter than others. Season 9 definitely seems to be setting up something a little more long-lasting. Larry has written a musical called Fatwa! that’s about Salman Rushdie’s exile. Because of this — and a particularly anti-Ayatollah bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live! — a fatwah is declared against him and he has to go into hiding. It’s almost a perfect Curb storyline that’s odd, weirdly dated, and, most of all, entirely particular of Larry David.
It’s been six years since the last new episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and that has created an odd vibe. Curb is very much a ‘00s show. Curb absolutely post-Seinfeld, that’s baked into its premise. But it’s also casually rich in a way that’s a little less endearing in this day and age. Luckily Larry is an asshole. It doesn’t matter one bit if he’s endearing. It doesn’t even matter if we agree with him (which we’d be hard-pressed to do in the premiere when he outlines his distance and personality equation when it comes to holding the door). He is a total entitled dick, and he’s funny as hell because of it.
Luckily he’s enabled by his manager (Jeff Garlin) and Leon, the guy who lives in his guest house (J.B. Smoove), who both coddle him even when he’s totally botched a social interaction. They’re toxic relationships in practice, but for a viewer, they’re gold.
The premiere involves a number of classic Larry David schemes. His main goal is getting Fatwa! Produced, but he also tries to “foist” his assistant on someone else, deal with a hairdresser he offended by calling her more “groom-like,” and try to get the pump top on a body wash to work. All of them are treated with the same amount of passion and sincerity, as you would expect.
Verdict: Watch it! If you’re not a Larry David fan, a Seinfeld fan or a Curb fan then obviously this isn’t the show for you, but we’re nine seasons in. It’s time to makes a decision, pal. This premiere isn’t the best one they’ve ever done, but it’s pretty, preeeeeeetty, preeeeeeetttty good. Watch it if you’re a fan of earlier Curb seasons or something like The Office. It’s cringe-humor with a tinge of that borscht-belt sensibility. The storyline this season is definitely risky, and it absolutely may not pay off. I love that David is willing to go for it.