By Phillip Guy Ellis (Northampton, England)
Star – Larry David
Genre – TV > Box set > Comedy
Run Time – 10 X 30 minutes episodes
Certificate – TV-15
Country – U.S.A
Awards – 10 Wins & 24 Nominations
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So after six years of well-earned rest the misanthropic sitcom returns for season nine and my enthusiasm for Larry David and his hit TV series has not been curbed. It was fantastic news that another season would be coming and well worth the wait. And its good stuff too, like he has never been anyway.
The cool thing about Curb is it never really got tired, unusual for sitcom, although it did lose a little of its edge when the show ‘up-sticked’ to New York where sometimes obnoxious Jewish American behavior stands out a lot less than California, where the first six seasons were set, the return season centered in Santa Monica where Larry’s shtick is more effective.
Curb’s appeal has always been its ability to be rude and contentious about pretty much anything like no other show. Because of the holocaust and ongoing Jewish American persecution I find the Jewish comedians and comedy based shows like Curb get more of a free pass to be rude about anyone, regardless of race, sexuality or gender, like similar shows, say, 30 Rock, would. Sitcoms like this and The Office are clever in delivering that often subtle racism and homophobia by being more clever about it and aiming it at a more sophisticated audience that allows them to get away with it ore. It’s one of the few shows where the mostly white audience can snigger away at ethnicity, female and gay stereotypes, and boy does it do that this season! But comedy is at its best and funniest when its taboo.
Larry David … Larry David 90 episodes, 2000-2017
Jeff Garlin … Jeff Greene 90 episodes, 2000-2017
Cheryl Hines … Cheryl David 81 episodes, 2000-2017
Susie Essman … Susie Greene 62 episodes, 2000-2017
Richard Lewis … Richard Lewis 32 episodes, 2000-2017
J.B. Smoove … Leon Black 26 episodes, 2007-2017
Bob Einstein … Marty Funkhouser 22 episodes, 2004-2017
Ted Danson … Ted Danson 20 episodes, 2000-2017
Ashly Holloway … Sammi Greene 17 episodes, 2001-2017
Shelley Berman … Nat David 13 episodes, 2002-2009
Vivica A. Fox … Loretta Black 11 episodes, 2007-2009
Carla Jeffery … Keysha Black 10 episodes, 2007-200
Episode One – Larry is working on a new musical about Salman Rushdie and his Satanic Verses controversy and his life living under a Fatwa (Islamic death sentence). But Larry being Larry soon incurs his own fatwa from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after sending up the Ayatollahs and Islam whilst promoting his project appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The shower gel nozzle not delivering the shower gel effectively is now the least of his problems.
Episode Two – Larry upsets his butch lesbian hairstylist suggesting she should be the groom at her coming wedding and her more feminine groom, the bride. He also needs to offload his high maintenance personal assistant, who he discovers has been ‘foisted’ upon him by Jimmy Kimmel. An incident with pickle jar gets LD barred from a hotel.
Episode Three – Larry (now in disguise) gets into a row with a restaurant chef over late food service and what qualifies as a ‘kitchen disturbance’. Salman Rushdie offers advice on how to deal with the fatwa and tells him there are advantages, like hot women are hot for men with Fatwa’s, and you can avoid responsibility by saying you have a fatwa so cant d that,. Leon (J.B Smooth) has hired a security guard to keep Larry safe in the house.
Episode Four – Larry manages to injure Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) nephew who dreams of playing major league ball. Meanwhile Larry is unbalanced by the seating arrangements at his shrinks (Bryan Cranston) office. Larry beeps a police car ‘parked at the lights’ and gets a ticket but intends to go to court to appeal. Larry’s agent and friend Jeff (Jef Garlin) has been sleeping with a realtor at various house viewings and dragon wife Susie (Susie Eisman) maybe on to him and he will need Larry to bail him out.
Episode Five – LDs ex-wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) is dating Ted Danson (himself) and wants Larry’s acknowledgment. LD is also having issues at the golf club with a chatty gateman. A post lady takes a shine to Larry’s caustic wit and they are dating of sorts. Civil War reenactment weekend is the chance for the gateman to get even.
Episode Six – The accidental text method Larry invents comes in handy for relationship advice for Marty, Richard Lewis (himself) and Jeff. It backfires and their girlfriends give the boys an ultimatum – them or Larry.
Episode Seven – Leon and Larry take to yoga but Larry is booted out for not returning the yoga instructors ‘Namaste’ greeting. Leon bones the instructor. Larry offends Jeff’s mechanic over race issues but meets a woman called Bridget he really likes. But she has an autistic kid and Larry thinks the kid is Faking the condition.
Hope arrives on the Islamic front when a bearded Iranian sets up a meet with the embassy to see if the fatwa can be lifted. Jeff is getting a lot more sex by wearing a cowboy hat.
Episode Eight – Bridget wants Larry to pull strings to get her kid in a good school but Larry needs to let his Mexican handyman kid’s family play in the same schools pool to make a gesture. Larry upsets Marty’s wife Marilyn at dinner by commenting on her ketchup use and tap water habits.
Episode Nine –’Larry is summoned by the Islamic court somewhere in Santa Monica to hear his fete. If the fatwa is lifted the mullahs agree he can make the musical, if Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame (himself) plays Rushdie. He agrees but negotiations don’t go well as Lin wants to change Larry’s script and songs. An issue with a shucker (a personal oyster chef) at Larry’s home may alert Lin to the fact Larry fell asleep whilst watching Hamilton last year.
Episode Ten – With the musical rehearsals going well Larry organizes free paintball for cast and crew for their efforts. Lin wants Larry to put up two of his friends in Larry’s house for a favor but nothing coming the other way as far as respect and friendship goes. An attractive busty sign language translator cause pulses to race at the wedding but Larry is late after nearly chocking Lin with paint.
I love this show and so glad it’s back, and as good as ever. The Jews verses Muslim thing is worthy of a real life fatwa but done in an acceptable way here and so those critics I have seen on that unfair. But who am I to judge that? Having a hilarious black sidekick in Leon has allowed plenty of black jokes for at least four series now and also plenty of fatism, gay and lesbian chuckles to be had. As I say he is the only comic who can get away with that. It’s also very funny. I was rolling with laughter, cheering Larry on as he can’t help but comment on something so trivial that annoys him so much and smiling away when he does his familiar mannerisms. Who wouldn’t like to behave like Larry in our curmudgeonly years?
All ten episodes are great fun and have their familiar ironic wrap up as irony bites Larry in the ass. We know it’s tough for sitcoms to make a comeback if the gap is too big and the less said about Will & Grace the better. Sometimes the magic is gone. It’s also not a good idea to make the movie, The Entourage and Office movies terrible. No, this worked a treat and so happy to see it work so it triggers a new run of series and we can get to Curb 15 one day. Larry did some movies but essentially played himself in them and clear to me that’s because he was at home in Curb and quietly knew he had to do more of Curb.
IMDb.com – 7.5/10.0 (76,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 75% critic’s approval
The Telegraph – ‘So, why bring the show back if it’s just going to be the same thing it always was? When what you’re reviving is something this beloved and this irreplaceable, you don’t need a reason at all.
Newsday – ‘It’s great have an old friend back, even better to see he’s still the best part of his own joke. It’s also reasonable to wonder whether that joke has grown just a little bit stale’.
Indiewire – ‘Despite a six-year gap between Season 8 and Season 9, Larry David’s attack on uncomfortable social customs felt right at home in 2017. Some things never change, and David is certainly one of those things’.
The Mail – ‘Luckily, Larry David’s persona comes purpose-built for a world that shuns him, and the latest season was almost giddy with a sense of moral and ethical brinkmanship’.
Popmatters – ‘It’s a shame, but not a coincidence, that these kinds of inspired performative flourishes are rare, because this new, blustering version of Curb Your Enthusiasm bears only a passing resemblance to its former self’.
Metro – ‘All of which proves that, even after nine seasons and 81 episodes, Larry David has somehow found a way to make Curb feel fresh and still hilarious’
Cincinnati Bugle – ‘But it just goes to show the best way to enjoy Larry David – real or fictionalized – is in his own world’.