Larry David Is Back to His Old Ways on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and It’s Pretty, Pretty, Good
Larry David is part of a small, yet elite group of Hollywood creators that, because of their uncharted talent, get to break the traditional structure of television series. Much like his contemporaries, Louie C.K. and Amy Schumer, David has the ability to wisp up a new season of his hit HBO comedy, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” at his leisure. For David, the pressure of a yearly seasonal structure is non-existent.
Luckily for fans of the nearly 17-year running series, “Curb” is back after a six-year absence, and the premiere quickly catches the viewer up to speed with the comings and goings of his life as it is today.
Larry has finally finished writing a musical titled, “Fatwa! The Musical!” Inspired by the story of novelist Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses controversy. When promoting the forthcoming stage venture on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, Larry impersonates Iranian Ayatollah. This ends up backfiring on him (as per usual) when he turns on the evening news to find his impression actually offended the Muslim group and an actual fatwa has been placed on him. In typical “Curb” fashion, the story ultimately turned on David’s luck.
Unlike seasons prior, a few elements feel refreshingly different this time around. The “fatwa” storyline is just ramping up and seemingly serves as the season through-line. A political/religious controversy, especially in this climate, seems like the perfect commentary for David to make.
Notably, the biggest difference in season nine is the sharp, and somewhat elaborate, camera work. The first episode opens with a flying drone shot over the rich neighborhood where David resides. The camera swiftly cranes down upon Larry’s house it swoops into the grand foyer. The show’s new aesthetic, paired with smooth tracking shots, is quite different than the fly on the wall cinema verite style of the show’s previous stature. Not that it affects the comedic elements in any way, but the show feels more like an HBO movie more than anything else.
Many familiar faces returned. Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), Larry’s best friend and trusted business manager, is delighted by the news of Larry’s new creative endeavor. Greene’s wife, Susie (Susie Essman), is busy planning her daughter’s wedding and growing her organic soap start-up. Larry struggles with his assistant, Mara (Carrie Brownstein), but because of her disabilities, he feels he cannot simply fire her. He decides to foist her off to Susie as she jumps into her new business. But she doesn’t fall for his plan quite as easily – and she quickly gets her revenge.
Not much has changed between Larry and Susie’s bickering dynamics, as it creates much entertainment for the series. In fact, not much has changed with Larry at all. His petty and grumpy ways are just the same as they were six years ago. Throw in a couple of disgruntled lesbians, of whom Larry has obviously offended, and you have yourself a typical “Curb” episode. For a show with such a large gap between seasons, it feels like no time has passed at all.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” returned Oct. 1 and airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.