Six years since the last episode aired, one might be tempted to call the new season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ a revival. But no, that’s just the way this show works. A new season happens when Larry David feels like making one, and all his friends come together without missing a step.
The ninth season premiere picks up as if no time has passed at all. Sometime years down the road from now, a new viewer will discover and binge-watch the show, and might notice that the cast all look a little older between Seasons 8 and 9, but will otherwise shrug off the difference. The narrative makes no mention of the delay. These characters have apparently all been continuing on in their same routines the whole time.
The episode’s plot, as much as there is one, finds Larry annoyed with a useless assistant (Carrie Brownstein), whom he feels was foisted on him by Jimmy Kimmel. He attempts to foist her in turn on Susie. That doesn’t go well. Susie immediately hates the woman and recognizes that Larry screwed her over. Leon (J.B. Smoove), who’s still mooching off Larry and living (or lampin’) in his guest house, assigns himself to take over the job as assistant. That of course leads to a series of mistakes, misunderstandings and offenses.
Larry has also recently completed writing a new Broadway show about Salman Rushdie, called ‘Fatwa! The Musical’. He and Jeff are very excited about this and have lined up investors and producers eager to stage it. Larry goes on Kimmel’s show to promote the project. He makes a lot of jokes at the expense of the Iranian Ayatollah, which prompts the real Ayatollah to issue a fatwa on Larry’s head. In addition to Larry fearing for his life, all his backers drop out, killing the musical.
In another running gag, Larry inadvertently ruins his lesbian hairdresser’s wedding plans and breaks up the couple, causing the groom (Nasim Pedrad from ‘SNL’) to go on a rampage through a restaurant where he’s trying to lie low wearing a ridiculous disguise.
On top of all the above, the episode also works in appearances from Cheryl, Richard Lewis, and Ted Danson (who is not actually separated from Mary Steenburgen, despite what the fictionalized version of him says on the show).
Nine seasons in and 17 years since it first premiered, the only question that matters is whether the show is still funny. Thankfully, yes, ‘Curb’ is still as funny, sharp and clever as ever. The new premiere doesn’t try to reinvent anything, nor should it. If you enjoyed the show before and didn’t grow tired of the formula (admittedly, some people simply reject Larry David’s style of humor), there’s every reason to expect another season of curmudgeonly hilarity.