The 15 Best Episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (So Far)
Until the new season starts, watch these episodes.
Earlier this week, HBO announced that the long-awaited ninth season of Larry David's beloved experiment in schadenfreude, Curb Your Enthusiasm, will premiere on Oct. 1. Details are scant — the 30-second teaser trailer features David wearing a Julius Caesar–style toga and laurel wreath along with the three-part tagline, "He left ... he did nothing ... he returned" — but details or none, who gives a shit, we need some levity.
The show's barely fictionalized Larry David — an aging, white multimillionaire who loves golf and has an innate inability to get along with the people around him (sound familiar?) — is perhaps one of television's least likely connecting characters. But it's easy to relate when a character's travails so masterfully plumb the minutiae of what makes other people so annoying. The world through Larry's eyes is a world where it's OK to feel and behave like everyone around you is fucked in the head — even if it means you're a little fucked in the head, too.
In case the world ends before October, here are 15 episodes from previous seasons to rewatch.
15. "The Christ Nail" (Season five)
All right, so probably don't listen to your spouse when she (or he) tells you to tell the housekeeper to wear a bra. And definitely don't buy her one and definitely don't start scouting cup sizes in people's laundry rooms. Good old-fashioned classism aside, this is one of those perfect episodes when every single storyline and joke ties in to something else: The loud orthotics lead to Sammy learning there's no tooth fairy; Maria's chicken salad leads to Larry losing a tooth; Cheryl's father's Christ nail (and Jesus' own loud orthotics) save Larry from being pummeled for paying too much mind to a married woman's boobs. Also, Susie's verbal abuse of Larry reaches its zenith when she refers to him as both a "sick fuck pervert" and a "misanthropic moron." Highlight scene: the surveillance footage of Larry guesstimating Maria's bra size using Susie's bra. Also, I'll never get enough of Cheryl's dad's proud "I bought this on the internet" declaration in reference to the Jesus nail.
14. "The Larry David Sandwich" (Season five)
The first episode of season four and the introduction of the season's crux: Nat mumbles something to Larry before surgery, which Larry hears as an admission that he was adopted. Naturally, the issue becomes trivialized almost immediately when deli owner Leo names a sandwich after Larry that Larry thinks is gross. He angles to get Ted Danson's namesake sandwich, which works when Leo finds out Larry was "adopted." I've always thought that whitefish, sablefish, onions, capers and cream cheese sounded kind of good.
13. "The Ski Lift" (Season five)
Richard Lewis needs a kidney, and Larry will do anything to not have to donate his, including go on a ski trip (so much schlepping) with the head of the kidney consortium and his daughter, who are Orthodox Jews. And pretend that Susie is his wife. When Larry gets trapped on the ski lift with the daughter, who can't be alone with a man after sundown, with nothing to eat but a pair of Omar Jones' edible underpants, she suggests they jump. Larry's delivery of "What, are you fucking nuts?" is classic. Also, this is the episode when Larry accuses Richard's nurse of smuggling a Mickey Mantle baseball in her "unusually large vagina."
12. "Meet the Blacks" (Season six)
Larry and Cheryl take in a family of "Hurricane Edna" refugees and Larry tries to get out of going to a party at the Funkhousers' (and later at the Dansons') by showing up a day late, which turns out to not be a great idea. And if I don't call a driver a "Schmohawk" at least once a day, I probably haven't been behind the wheel of a car. Classic line: "Your last name is Black? That would be like if my last name was Jew. Larry Jew."
11. "The TiVO Guy" (Season six)
Cheryl leaves Larry after she calls him during a near-death experience on a plane and he hangs up because he finally has the TiVO guy at the house. The episode aired in 2007, the same year David and activist wife Laurie got divorced. The dissolution of Larry and Cheryl's relationship is sad, but if they didn't break up, we couldn't enjoy Larry's attempt to win her back by giving her a role in the Seinfeld reunion in season seven.
10. "The Anonymous Donor" (Season six)
A bonanza of great storylines that all converge in the end. Both Larry and Ted Danson donate wings to the NRDC, but everyone fawns over Ted because he made his donation anonymously (but proceeds to tell everyone, including Barbara Boxer, that he's "Anonymous," which, of course, defeats the purpose of being anonymous). Elsewhere someone has jerked off on a blanket in Larry and Cheryl's guest room and Larry blames Leon, which leads to a scene of J.B. Smoove saying "ejaculate" (soft A) in the most satisfying way possible. Larry takes the blanket to dry cleaner Anna (Gina Gershon) and is sent home with his dry cleaning, minus his Joe Pepitone jersey. Larry spots "his" jersey on a pre-Hangover Ken Jeong and Leon reclaims it, which causes problems for Larry later, particularly after he follows Ted's lead and donates his NRDC wing as "Anonymous."
9. "Funkhouser's Crazy Sister" (Season seven)
In the first episode of season seven, Larry is dating Loretta Black, whom he quickly grows to hate but can't leave because she falls ill. And Jeff has sex with Marty Funkhouser's emotionally disturbed sister Bam Bam, played by Catherine O'Hara, in one of the show's best guest appearances. Fuck me, fat boy.
8. "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox" (Season eight)
Larry and Leon have moved to New York City and Larry winds up in a cold war with Michael J. Fox, whom Larry suspects uses his Parkinson's as an excuse more often than he should. This is also the episode when Larry gets in the habit of doodling on people's coffee table magazines and making cover subjects look like Hitler. Waiting for a date (Ana Gasteyer), Larry is doodling a Hitler when the date's flamboyant son, Greg, comes out to say hi and immediately falls in love with the aesthetics of the swastika. Every Greg scene is worth watching again — and again.
7. "The Car Pool Lane" (Season four)
It's called "The Car Pool Lane" so we all remember that Larry takes a hooker (Kym Whitley) to a Dodgers game so he can use the HOV lane, but, my God, it's also the episode when Larry gets stoned, breaks with his id and then berates himself in the mirror ("TV, TV, TV — THAT'S WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO? READ A FUCKIN' BOOK!"). What's crazier than Larry picking up a hooker and smoking chronic with his father and a prostitute? Larry agreeing to take Funkhouser to the airport to pick someone up in exchange for a golf tip. Also, super fucking fun fact: A dude was apparently cleared of a murder charge because he was caught on film in the crowd at the Dodgers game.
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