For a decade, curmudgeon Larry David has been making us laugh on his semi-autobiographical sitcom. Here are the HBO show’s most rewatchable episodes.
With Larry David’s semi-autobiographical HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm airing its tenth and possibly final season earlier this year, it’s the perfect time to look back on the show’s storied history. It began as a mockumentary about David’s fictionalized return to stand-up, but it quickly became a post-Seinfeld outlet for David’s protests of social norms.
The single-camera format and improvised dialogue of Curb have revolutionized TV comedy. As with any series that delivers 10 seasons across 20 years, Curb has dipped up and down in quality over the years, with a handful of classic episodes and a couple of duds. So, here are 10 episodes of Curb that’ll never get old.
Meet The Blacks (Season 6, Episode 1)
In the season 6 premiere, Larry tries out a new technique to get out of parties by showing up on a different day and pretending he got the wrong date. However, in both instances, it backfires as he’s invited in for leftovers, which makes him late for his actual appointments. Meanwhile, Cheryl convinces Larry to allow a displaced family caught in a hurricane to move into their house.
Combine Larry, Cheryl, Jeff, Susie, Lewis, Danson, and Funkhouser all at their finest with an abundance of erotic cakes, and “Meet the Blacks” was a season premiere for the ages.
Larry Vs. Michael J. Fox (Season 8, Episode 10)
The story arc for the back end of season 8 sees Larry moving to New York to avoid committing to charity work. In the season finale, he gets himself kicked out of the city by the mayor himself following a misunderstanding at a fundraiser for Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s charity.
Fox’s on-screen chemistry and hilariously vicious back-and-forth with Larry provide tons of priceless moments. The Back to the Future star didn’t shy away from joking about his ailment, a testament to the power of a good sense of humor.
Beloved Aunt (Season 1, Episode 8)
Since Larry David had already cut his teeth on Seinfeld, Curb didn’t take very long to find its feet. In “Beloved Aunt,” Cheryl’s aunt takes her own life and Larry writes an obituary to print in the newspaper.
Unfortunately, the obituary goes to the presses with the worst typo in the history of typos. The most excruciatingly hysterical moment arrives when Cheryl’s dad reads it out to him: “Devoted sister, beloved c**t!”
Shaq (Season 2, Episode 8)
In season 2’s “Shaq,” Larry and Richard get courtside seats to a Lakers game and Larry stretches out his legs, accidentally tripping Shaquille O’Neal and giving him an injury severe enough to put him out of action for the rest of the season.
Larry becomes a social pariah, being uninvited to social events and requested not to write recommendation letters he’d been asked for. He comes to see the world’s disdain for him as a kind of superpower.
The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial (Season 6, Episode 3)
Easily one of the worst things that Larry David has done over Curb’s ten seasons is stealing flowers from Funkhouser’s recently deceased mother’s roadside memorial.
There’s plenty of karma in the episode as Funkhouser catches Larry gifting some stolen flowers to Cheryl and he plants the others on Susie, getting Sammi kicked out of a prestigious school.
The Corpse-Sniffing Dog (Season 3, Episode 7)
Stemming from Larry not including his friend’s wife in the after-dinner thank-you and Jeff being ousted from his own house when his daughter chooses a dog over him, season 3’s “The Corpse-Sniffing Dog” has brilliant plotting.
Larry accidentally gets Sammi drunk, takes the dog, gives it to his friend’s wife, tells Jeff he can go home, gets yelled at by Susie, takes the dog back from his friend’s wife, and explains to Jeff as he’s moving back home that he can’t actually do so.
Opening Night (Season 4, Episode 10)
After rehearsing for months with Mel Brooks and Ben Stiller, and later David Schwimmer, Larry David made his Broadway debut in The Producers in Curb’s fourth-season finale. All the season’s plot threads are paid off spectacularly and there are plenty of high-profile cameos to enjoy.
It’s an extra-long episode, meaning there’s more to enjoy than usual, and Larry’s clashes with Schwimmer, the hotel staff, and random people on the street make it a classic.
Palestinian Chicken (Season 8, Episode 3)
Trust Curb to make the conflict between Israel and Palestine about chicken. In season 8’s “Palestinian Chicken,” Larry’s Jewish friends protest a new Palestinian chicken restaurant, but he and Jeff love the chicken, and Larry enters into a sexual affair with the restaurant’s owner.
When he’s forced to choose between protesting on the side of a Jewish deli and protesting on the side of the Palestinian chicken restaurant, Larry finds himself torn between his social life and his sex life.
The Anonymous Donor (Season 6, Episode 2)
Leon made his first appearance in season 6’s “The Anonymous Donor” and quickly established himself as one of Curb’s funniest characters — and one of the funniest characters in the history of the television, for that matter — with his rant about “a-jack-a-lit.”
Ted Danson becomes pally with Cheryl and shares secrets with her and also donates a wing to the N.R.D.C. anonymously, which makes Larry pretty irate with him, and their clashes are always great.
The Doll (Season 2, Episode 7)
All throughout season 2, Larry’s antics torpedoed his deals with every network in Hollywood to get his new sitcom on the air. In “The Doll,” he loses ABC’s interest when the network head’s daughter asks him to cut her doll’s hair and later changes her mind.
Larry incurs the wrath of Susie in his attempts to replace the doll with one of Sammi’s. The episode ends with agonizing cringe humor as the little girl hugs Larry in the bathroom and feels a water bottle in his pocket.