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.
6. “Opening Night” (Season four)
An unbelievably satisfying culmination of one of the show's best seasons. Larry has till midnight to cash in on his anniversary present (i.e., sex outside of marriage) and he's finally making his debut as Max Bialystock in The Producers. Stephen Colbert plays a tourist who puts a hex on him (“YOU. WILL. FAAAIIILLL”) and David Schwimmer continues his performance as such an unlikable version of his real-life self, I sincerely believe people sort of hated real David Schwimmer after this season aired. Alas, hopelessly liberal Larry can't fuck co-star Cady Huffman when he discovers she's a Republican and he sort of does fail, but just enough so that it's not completely excruciating to watch. Bonus: Anne Bancroft makes a guest appearance as herself, just a year before she died.
5. “The Table Read” (Season seven)
The taping of the Seinfeld reunion is approaching and Larry winds up in a text-message relationship with a 9-year-old girl who has a “rash on her pussy.” Michael Richards gets diagnosed with Groat's disease, and Larry talks Leon into posing as a Groat's patient named Danny Duberstein to convince Michael it won't be that bad (meanwhile, the actual Danny Duberstein died). It's also an opportunity for them to wedge in a joke about Richards' real-life racist asshole tirade at a comedy club. Speaking of jokes, Marty Funkhouser stops by the Seinfeld set and tells Jerry perhaps one of the greatest jokes ever told. (“It surprised me — I had no idea it would be that revolting.”)
4. “The Freak Book” (Season six)
Ted Danson is having a birthday party, and Larry and Cheryl hire a driver so they can drink and enjoy themselves. The evening goes awry when Larry insists that Charlie the limo driver (the perennially hilarious Toby Huss) be allowed to come inside rather than sit in the car, and Charlie proceeds to get drunk and grope Mary while Larry and Jeff leaf through the book Larry bought for Ted, Mondo Freaks. Cheryl and Larry have to drive Charlie home in the limo, and we meet Charlie's apoplectic, wheelchair-bound wife, who might be one of the best bit characters in Curb history. Larry and Cheryl take the limo home and the next day, after an argument about the arrangement of funeral plots, Larry winds up driving himself and John McEnroe to the Paul McCartney concert at Staples Center that night. If there isn't already a band called Mondo Freaks, there should be.
3. “Porno Gil” (Season one)
Oh God, the double goodbye. Larry dials a wrong number and he and Cheryl get roped into going to a party at an acquaintance named Gil's house. That is all awful enough, but it's also a dinner party in a no-shoes household and Gil (Bob Odenkirk) is a former porn star who tells an impossibly long story about someone shoving a Tabasco-soaked finger in his asshole so he could stay hard during a scene. One of the fellow dinner guests is a guy from the driving range whose ball Larry wouldn't pick up because he hated the guy's hat. After a broken lamp sends Gil's wife into a tailspin, Larry and Cheryl say an awkward goodbye, but then Larry has to go back inside because Gil's a-hole trainer tried on Larry's watch and forgot to give it back. This is also the episode when Larry's been tasked with picking up and hiding Jeff's porn while he has heart surgery. Highlight scene: When Larry and Cheryl are lost on the way to Gil's and ask the old lady for help with the directions. The episode features so many instances of people almost instantly disliking Larry — but it's also not not his fault that they do.
2. “Trick or Treat” (Season two)
This episode has two such memorable storylines that I think it's easy to forget they're both in one episode: Cheryl's filmmaker friend who insists that his grandfather, Bob Cobb, invented the Cobb salad (which Larry decides is bullshit) and the trick-or-treating teens who spray paint “bald asshole” on Larry and Cheryl's door after he refuses to give them candy because they aren't wearing costumes. Larry gets caught whistling Wagner at the premiere of Cliff Cobb's movie and is accused of being a “self-hating Jew” by a guy in line behind them (and the guy happens to be the father of one of the teenage vandals, because of course he is). Highlight scene: Larry describes one of the teen girls (who looks very early-2000s emo) to the cops as looking like Elvira and the cop replies, “So they were wearing costumes.” But, yeah, just give trick-or-treaters candy and also don't make plans to go golfing on your anniversary.
1. “The Doll” (Season two)
I don't know. Maybe the best sitcom episode ever? So much bullshit over a doll and so much action set into motion by one of the most legitimately annoying things in the world: a communal bathroom at a party with no lock. At an ABC executive's house, Larry uses the bathroom in the daughter's room and cuts her Judy doll's hair (by request) not realizing the little girl doesn't realize the hair won't grow back (“… But she's a really bright girl”). But first comes one of the most classic situations in situation comedy history: being told he can't bring water into a screening room by a woman he discovers isn't an employee or authority figure, just another person who's there to watch the premiere of ABC's two-part miniseries about Harriet Beecher Stowe. As they argue in their seats, you can sort of see it both ways (or at least I can): “What are you, the hallway monitor?” he asks. “Who are you that the rules don't apply?” she asks in return. We all want to do what we're not supposed to if it's minor and we won't get caught, but also fuck people who flout the rules just because they can. Classic Larry line: “What's the difference between Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Tubman?” Also, “Sweet Judy Brown Eyes.”