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Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David begins his swan-song season of Curb Your Enthusiasm

When Curb Your Enthusiasm made its HBO debut back in 2000, there had never been anything like it on television. Starring Seinfeld co-creator Larry David as an amped-up version of himself in totally improvised misadventures, Curb has never used scripts; instead, actors are given a rough outline of the plot and expected to fill in the rest themselves.

Since then, of course, there have been dozens of imitators, yet nothing that’s ever matched the sheer venal brilliance of a show about a constantly irritated, self-absorbed misanthrope whose superpower is transforming the tiniest perceived slight into epic battles that always blow up in his face.

Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Canada. Pictured: Tracey Ullman returns as wonky Irma Kostroski.
HBO Canada

Larry’s journey begins its trudge to the end with this week’s premiere of the 12th season, which has also been announced as its last.

While HBO is keeping mum on how the show will bow out (offering David a chance for a do-over after the much-maligned Seinfeld finale), Curb’s swan-song season promises to be pretty, pretty, pretty good.

As fans know, this isn’t the first time that David has indicated that an upcoming season would be the final one, having dipped in and out over the course of more than two decades. This time, however, he appears to have set it in stone.

“This particular season, the way the stories worked, it made a lot of sense for us to finally wrap it up,” David explained during a recent interview with Vanity Fair. “And I think we came up with some interesting things that sort of tie a bow around the whole series. Now, what you’re really asking, I think, is: Why does Larry have to stop? Because that’s what I’d be asking. No one wants him to retire. People need Larry, although the feeling is not mutual.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Canada. Pictured: J.B. Smoove’s Leon Black takes the cake.
HBO Canada

For his last lap around the track, David will be joined by returning cast members J.B. Smoove (as pal Leon Black), Jeff Garlin (Larry’s manager and best friend Jeff Greene) and Susie Essman (Jeff’s wife and Larry’s constant foil).

Also returning will be Cheryl Hines, who played Larry’s long-suffering wife until their characters’ divorce led Hines’ appearances on the show to become more infrequent. According to David, the character will be involved in a plot that can only be described as bonkers. “I don’t want to give away too much, but Cheryl has a story arc this season involving her affair with a married imam who forces her to convert and wear a burka,” David revealed, “so after the third episode we see nothing but her eyes. It’s pretty sexy.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Canada. Pictured: Larry David, Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin) and Freddie Funkhouser (Vince Vaughn).
HBO Canada

Viewers can also look forward to return appearances from Vince Vaughn’s Freddie Funkhouser and Tracey Ullman, reprising her role as Irma Kostroski, an oddball civil servant that Larry pursued romantically in order to get himself out of a jam. In addition, confirmed season 12 guest stars include Conan O’Brien, Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi and Oscar-winning Coda star Troy Kotsur.

Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Canada. Pictured: Susie Greene (Susie Essman) and Cheryl David (Cheryl Hines).
HBO Canada

As for what the finale will hold, David isn’t saying — although he’s heavily hinted that viewers should plan to see their expectations defied.

“I learned that disappointing people en masse can be very enjoyable,” he said of the still-controversial Seinfeld finale, sharing his opinion that far too much weight is placed on series finales. “All you can do is make a show that you think is really funny,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be different than the show that people liked. What it should be — what I hope it is — is another really, really funny episode of Curb.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sunday, February 4, on HBO Canada

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