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Ranking the Best Episodes of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ 

Ranking the Best Episodes of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ 

After 12 seasons, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming to a close. Or at least that’s according to Larry David, but he can hardly be trusted (he’s been teasing his retirement from Curb for years!) Or maybe we’re just in denial… 

Sadly, it appears David might be telling the truth for once this time. He recently told the Hollywood Reporter  that he will “now have the opportunity to finally shed this ‘Larry David’ persona and become the person God intended me to be—the thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate human being I was until I got derailed by portraying this malignant character.” 

After 110 episodes, the Seinfeld co-creator and “social assassin” has had an incredible run, from doing battle with black swans, tripping Shaq in the middle of a Lakers game, to forgetting his lines during his Broadway debut. As David prepares for his final farewell, we’re looking back at Curb‘s best episodes, from the brutally cringey to the pretttttty, pretttttty, pretty good. 

9. ‘Happy New Year’ (Season 10, Episode 1)

When Curb is at its best, Larry David’s strange social rules and particularities enter the public zeitgeist and take hold. That’s just what happened in Season 10’s premiere, in which Larry established a permissible period for the annual greeting of “Happy New Year” (it’s just three days, and now we all must abide). 

The 2020 episode also has Larry strategically using a MAGA hat to keep “stop and chats” to a minimum, the start of the season’s hilarious Mocha Joe storyline and a bit of mansplaining #MeToo for good measure. 

8. ‘Shaq’ (Season 2, Episode 8)

Over the years, Curb has featured a host of notable cameos, but one of the first A-listers to join the LD universe was Shaquille O’Neal, still at the height of his powers in 2001 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LA’s fan base erupts when Larry accidentally trips and injures Shaq (while stretching his legs, sitting courtside at the Staples Center). But in a twist of fate, this turns out to be a great thing for Larry! Everyone finally leaves him alone. 

7. ‘Larry vs. Michael J. Fox’ (Season 8, Episode 10)

Season 8 found Larry leaving LA sunshine for the grit of New York City, where he happens to live in the same apartment building as one Michael J. Fox (playing himself). In Larry vs. Michael J. Fox, Larry spends the episode trying to decipher if Michael is intentionally sniping him or simply living with Parkinson’s disease. Did Michael mean to shake up Larry’s can of Coke, or was it just a result of his condition? 

It’s a devilishly funny premise that only Larry (along with a clearly game Michael) could pull off. 

6. ‘The Car Pool Lane’ (Season 4, Episode 6)

With Larry’s perpetual frenemy Marty Funkhouser (played by the legendary Bob Einstein) mourning the loss of his father, Larry attempts to guilt him into giving away his Dodgers tickets, to no avail. When he finally lands tickets of his own, Larry then strikes up a new scheme to skirt LA traffic by employing a prostitute (Kym Whitley) to ride with him so that he can use the carpool lane. 

This episode also holds the distinction of being the only sitcom TV show ever to help beat a real-life murder rap. Footage shot at Dodger Stadium for The Car Pool Lane was successfully used to clear LA local Juan Catalan, a man accused of committing a murder more than 20 miles away from the ballpark.

5. ‘Denise Handicap’ (Season 7, Episode 5)

Larry starts dating Denise, who uses a wheelchair and begins to discover the “benefits” of dating a person with disabilities — specifically the parking. Soon, he’s scoring social points with his friends, who are all surprised their uncaring, curmudgeon of a friend is getting serious about a woman in a wheelchair (“I’m a good pusher.”)

An unlikely love triangle rounds out the episode when Larry loses Denise’s number and invites a different woman in a wheelchair to a private music show. Of course, Denise also shows up, and Larry gets his comeuppance. 

4. ‘The Table Read’ (Season 7, Episode 9)

David and his creative team struck comedy gold with season 7’s storyline of a Seinfeld cast collaboration. The meta show-within-a-show parody of Seinfeld‘s fictional behind-the-scenes non-reunion saw Larry hoping to win back his wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) by casting her as George’s girlfriend. 

Of course, as the cast assembles to read through the reunion script during The Table Read, everything goes off the rails. Thankfully for both Curb fans and Seinfeld aficionados, there’s nothing quite like seeing Jerry, Julia, Michael and Jason all back in apartment 5A. 

3. ‘The Doll’ (Season 2, Episode 7)

Curb was going for broke from its earliest seasons, as evidenced by season 2’s The Doll. In it, Larry finds himself branded a “sicko” when it’s discovered that he trimmed the hair of a doll that belonged to the daughter of an ABC exec. Jeff (Jeff Garlin) does his best to clean up Larry’s mess as he tries to offer up the head from one of his own daughter’s dolls, which, of course, only gets them both in even more trouble. 

The episode also features the first all-star performance by Susie Green (Susie Essman), who debuts one of her favorite Larry insults (“four-eyed f**k) that will get heavy usage for the rest of the series’ run. 

2. ‘The Black Swan’ (Season 7, Episode 7)

Larry goes full De Niro in The Black Swan, first for causing the heart attack of a fellow golfer after accusing him of golfing too slowly (“Look, it may have been an accident, but you’re a murderer.”) then by killing his country club’s mascot — a black swan — in cold blood with his putter.

Larry demands tight lips from Mary Funkhouser and his golf buddies. But of course, his secret comes out, and he’s forever dubbed “a swan killer and an asshole.” 

1. ‘Opening Night’ (Season 4, Episode 10)

Season 4’s arc ends with the hour long finale, Opening Night, which finds Larry making his Broadway debut in Mel Brooks’ The Producers. The episode is jam-packed with cameos from Anne Bancroft to Nathan Lane, Jerry Seinfeld and even a then-little-known Stephen Colbert

Larry tries to keep up a fib about his OCD condition, so he can make a move on his co-star, Cady Huffman, only to spy a framed photo of President Bush in her dressing room. Nerves are at their peak as Larry takes the stage opposite David Schwimmer (filling in for Ben Stiller, who exited the show earlier in the season, thanks to Larry). The performance was a huge success, even though Larry could hardly remember his lines.

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