Curb Your Enthusiasm season 12 Review: Larry David is still sharp as ever

While it’s not certain if this is the end for Larry,


Larry David and Jeff Garlin Photograph by John Johnson/HBO


Can it really be the end? Twelve seasons over a near quarter century, few comics have ever delivered such a consistently high standard of sitcom for such a long period of time. And that’s not including the decade as the co-creator/showrunner of Seinfeld.

There are sadly just ten more episodes of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm left, and on the evidence of this opening effort, this is no lazy victory-lap of indulgence. With the somewhat mauled finale of Seinfeld probably still ringing in his ears, it’s clear David is determined to go out with a bang.

Previously talking about his writing process, he said he fills up a notepad with ideas as they occur to him during his day to day life, then, when it’s full, he starts the process of making a new series. The sheer density of jokes and observations in just this half hour episode suggests he’s also chucking in every other scrap of paper and idea that he never got around to using. His genius, is just how relatable each one is, and that he manages to weave a narrative out them, even bringing back various strands to clash together at the end.

This episode kicks off a few months after the last, with David still trapped in a relationship with someone even more annoying than him, Tracy Ullman. Also, Maria Sofia, the terrible young actress he was emotionally blackmailed to hire for his sitcom ‘Young Larry’, has incredibly managed to become a huge star. Forcing Larry and this ego-fuelled monster together is funny enough without the additional set-pieces.

But what a funny bunch of observations they are. Abusing the AI voice assistant on your phone, butt dials, fat-shaming a dog, slow waiters in mourning, judgmental hotel housekeeping, nickname etiquette, the Truth and Reconciliation Committee; each is strong in isolation. But which ones are also set-ups for the sleight-of-hand punchline coming at the end? Or in this case, three punchlines, or comeuppances, that Larry is subject to for merely trying to do the right thing.

The guest star this week is Sharlto Copley, known for District 9, and able to match funnies with David. Larry’s been booked for a personal appearance at Copley’s birthday party, under strict instructions to be cordial. Let’s just say he tries his best. And is not helped by Copley’s presentation of himself as African, rather than a white South African.

With 120 episodes of mishaps and adventures, weird and wonderful characters, and famous people playing version of themselves, going by form the hope is David will construct a meta narrative this season, bringing back a selection of old favourites to tie everything off. It would be a momentous achievement and if anyone could pull it off it’d be him. This time.

As to whether this is really the end; David has said it was before. And he probably meant it. However, hopefully he won’t be able to resist bearing witness to the vagaries of the modern world. That’d be pretty pretty good.

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