After 12 seasons and 25 years, David’s second hit sitcom after Seinfeld will finally end.
Larry David has announced that the upcoming series of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ will be its last. The final 12th series will premiere on HBO’s MAX in February.
After his hit show ‘Seinfeld’ ended in 1998, David developed the sitcom in 2000 from a 1999 one-hour special ‘Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm’ in which he played a fictionalised version of himself.
In the 25 years since, his affable schmuck avatar has become the face of HBO’s longest-running scripted comedy series. The particular genius of the show is the room it allows its comedians to improvise. David draws up plotlines but gives actors freedom to create their own dialogue.
Alongside comedians Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, J.B. Smoove, and an impressive register of cameos, David’s show has received 51 Emmy nominations with two wins, and five Golden Globe nominations and a win.
“As Curb comes to an end, I will now have the opportunity to finally shed this ‘Larry David’ persona and become the person God intended me to be – the thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate human being I was until I got derailed by portraying this malignant character,” David said.
“‘Larry David,’ I bid you farewell,” he added. “Your misanthropy will not be missed. And for those of you who would like to get in touch with me, you can reach me at Doctors Without Borders.”
One of television’s most popular misanthropes, David has always insisted that his character in Curb is not who he actually is. The TV David gained legions of fans for his strict authenticity in any situation, no matter how awkward. No “thank yous” are given out unearned, and he’d never pretend the emperor was wearing new clothes. Here are five of our favourite moments in the history of Curb.
Series 1, Episode 8 – Beloved Aunt. Right from the beginning, David settled on a perfect archetype for his character in the schlimazel. In Yiddish, a “schlimazel” is a persistently unlucky person. Whatever the schlimazel might do, the world endeavours to stop him in his tracks.
Here, David is in a classic bind. His friend asks him for relationship advice after the funeral of his girlfriend’s aunt. In a secondary plot, David has also been tasked with sending the aunt’s obituary to the press.
Just as in the taut writing of ‘Seinfeld’, both plots come back to bite David at once as he deals with said girlfriend finding out she’s been dumped as she grieves an aunt who the papers have described as a “beloved c**t” – owing to a spelling mistake. No good deed unpunished, indeed.
Thank You for Your Service
Series 9, Episode 5 – Thank You for Your Service. David isn’t just a schlimazel in the show, he’s also got chutzpah. Best understood as “audacity”, David’s character isn’t afraid to point out the silly ways American society works.
There’s no better example than this moment. When introduced to a war veteran, the entire room goes through a prostrated act of thanking him for his service. David elects to just say “Hey, nice to meet you”. As usual in Curb, this doesn’t go down well and the whole room quickly turns on him when the Vet feels insulted. As David rightly points out though, “three people thanked him, why do I have to thank him?”
Series 4, Episode 6 – The Car Pool Lane. Modern problems require modern solutions. Anyone who’s ever been to Los Angeles will know that traffic is one of the city’s great problems. To combat the overuse of cars by individuals, the city encourages sharing with congestion free “car pool lanes” for vehicles with at least one passenger.
Forever an innovator, when David is running late to get to a baseball game, he hires Moena, a prostitute, to ride along with him in the car pool lane. Ingenious? In the short term, maybe. Like always, things don’t go exactly to plan and the episode ends with David and Moena clearing a friend’s name in court.
In a twist of fate, the episode itself ended up clearing a real person’s name in court. Juan Catalan escaped a murder charge after unused footage from the baseball stadium proved he had an alibi.
The Ski Lift
Series 5, Episode 8 – The Ski Lift. In the pivotal scene of the episode, David is caught up once again in an awkward situation when the ski lift he’s travelling on breaks down. Unfortunately for David, he’s travelling with Rachel, a religious Jewish woman. As per her tradition, if the sun sets, she cannot be alone with a man.
Despite pointing out the “extenuating circumstances,” Rachel won’t hear a word of it and as the sun disappears over the horizon, she decides that somebody is going to have to jump. Another character might have engaged with the suggestion out of politeness. Instead we get David’s perfect line reading of “what are you, f**king nuts?”
Of course, David is right. To dig deeper into the Halacha (Jewish law), the rule of “pikuach nefesh” forbids the endangerment of a life in order to observe any religious rule. Still, that doesn’t stop Rachel jumping out the ski lift.
Series 4, Episode 9 – The Survivor. It’s not his fault. He did everything right. And yet, here we are again. David is inviting a group of friends to a dinner party when the Rabbi he’s speaking to asks if he can bring along a “survivor”. In Jewish circles, a “survivor” is the given phrase for someone who lived through the Holocaust, so David invites his father’s friend Solly, a fellow “survivor”.
At the dinner party though it becomes clear that the Rabbi’s “survivor” is merely a young man who’s participated in the reality TV series ‘Survivor’. As he recounts his ordeal on the show, Solly becomes enraged that this man hasn’t truly suffered like he did.
It’s a classic scene, and for the most part David is an unwitting bystander to the action, until in Solly’s fury, he tips gravy on David’s shirt. When another dinner party guest shouts that somebody should “get a sponge”, David gets the final word once again with his astute observation: “I don’t understand, why don’t you get a sponge?”