10 Best: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Inspired by a season 11 debut, we round up 10 classic Curb episodes

Inspired by a season 11 debut, we round up 10 classic Curb episodes

As we all suffered through the most bizarre year-and-a-half in recent memory, it was hard at times not to wonder: What Would Larry David Do? Now, as we finally get to delve into the Seinfeld co-creator’s take on the global pandemic—with season 11 of the cringe comedy having debuted last week—it seems only appropriate to take a look back at 10 must-see episodes (one from each season) that highlight the curmudgeonly truth-teller’s various crusades and blunders.

“Porno Gil” (Season 1, Episode 3)

In the early days of Curb, when the show was still hammering out its distinct tone, the third episode of the series nailed that cringe-worthy feel, with the help of guest star Bob Odenkirk as Larry’s golf buddy—former porn star Gil Bang. Having accidentally gotten himself and wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) invited to a sit-down dinner at the Bang house, Larry’s actions and reactions result in that now-familiar don’t-want-to-look-but-can’t-look-away awkwardness (like the dreaded double goodbye!) from start to finish.

“The Doll” (Season 2, Episode 7)

One of the most popular episodes of the entire series has Larry landing in hot water at a party hosted by the network exec about to greenlight his new sitcom. Larry and the exec’s daughter decide to give her doll a haircut, but w hen the kid realizes that the doll’s hair will not grow back, it sets in motion a faux-pas-filled half-hour where Larry and his manager/best pal Jeff (Jeff Garlin) attempt to rectify the unfortunate situation. Rita Wilson guest stars as the girl’s mother, who is none too pleased with Larry’s justifications. Get in line, Rita.

“The Nanny From Hell” (Season 3, Episode 4)

When Larry’s actions get a nanny (played by Saturday Night Live alum Cheri Oteri) fired from her job, he tries to rectify the situation by pawning off the eccentric woman on Jeff and his wife Susie (Susie Essman). While Oteri’s meltdown caused by the Looney Tunes theme song provides the climax for the episode, it’s a dozen sponge cakes, Richard’s (Richard Lewis) insistence that he coined the term “______ from hell” and a highly inappropriate compliment resulting in one of show’s most memorable insults that make this half-hour truly unforgettable.

“Opening Night” (Season 4, Episode 10)

The season-four finale is overflowing with cameos, as David Schwimmer, Yvette Nicole Brown, Zachary Levi, Stephen Colbert, Nathan Lane, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft all serve up a little hilarity in the hour-long episode. But it’s Larry David’s triumphant Broadway debut as Max Bialystock—a performance Brooks hopes will tank hit musical The Producers and finally set him free—that’s worth the standing ovation.

 “The Ski Lift” (Season 5, Episode 8)

Attempting to help Richard (and spare himself from having to donate his own kidney), Larry hunts down the head of the kidney consortium and invites him to go skiing with him, Cheryl, Jeff and Susie. The only hitch is convincing the man and his extremely religious daughter that Larry is also an Orthodox Jew—which means roping a less-than-enthusiastic Susie into pretending to be his wife. Needless to say, the scheme gets Richard no closer to that much-needed kidney.

“The Bat Mitzvah” (Season 6, Episode 10)

Political correctness be damned in the outing where Larry pretends to have cerebral palsy to deter a potential tenant from renting in his office building and uses Sammy Greene’s Bat Mitzvah to clear up a rumour about the tickle in his rectum. We also see our antihero plunge back into the dating pool, after his attempts to rekindle his marriage with Cheryl fail. The episode, which at the time was thought to serve as a series finale, implied that there was a happy ending in store for Larry and hurricane refugee Loretta Black (Vivica A. Fox).

“Seinfeld” (Season 7, Episode 10)

Having sworn that there would never be a reunion for the iconic sitcom, the season-seven finale of Curb was the crossover of every Seinfeld fan’s dreams. Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards play themselves in the episode where, to win back his ex-wife, Larry stages that much-anticipated reboot, which promptly falls apart when he suspects that Jason is coming on to Cheryl. “We already screwed up one finale,” laments Jerry, but as one of the most highly rated Curb episodes in series history, this alt-ending was anything but a disappointment.

“Palestinian Chicken” (Season 8, Episode 3)

Curb takes on the Israel-Palestine conflict through Larry’s desire for delicious Palestinian chicken, despite the restaurant’s anti-Semitic vibe. Meanwhile, at another signature awkward dinner party, truth-teller Larry is blasted by the others for keeping a guest away from the dessert table (despite it being at her own request), launching a series of honesty missions for Larry to deliver messages that others dare not.

“The Accidental Text on Purpose” (Season 9, Episode 6)

Guest-starring Ed Begley, Jr., Elizabeth Perkins and June Diane Raphael, this is one occasion where Larry’s manipulations almost serve the greater good. Getting his friends out of relationship jams, Larry advises Richard to make every person around him part of the “honey parade” after he prematurely calls the woman he’s dating “honey.” Larry also shows his pals how to accidentally send texts berating him to their significant others to score points with them. It nearly works… were this show not about always landing face first.

“Happy New Year” (Season 10, Episode 1)

Setting off a season-long rivalry with Mocha Joe (Saverio Guerra), Larry picks fights with nearly everyone in this long-awaited season opener. From a broken selfie stick to Susie’s friend that Larry chastises for jogging and drinking coffee while pregnant, a scone too soft for Larry’s liking, some accidental sexual harassment and a surprising upside to the MAGA hat, it would appear Mr. David had a running list of things that drove him insane during a hiatus that ran from December 2017 through January 2020. Should this be any indication of what’s to come, season 11 ought to be pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. & 11:35 p.m. on HBO Canada