A Totally Non-Essential Guide to Everything You Need to Know Before Starting the Final Season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
This Sunday, the very likely final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm begins. This will be its 12th season, but ever since the six-year gap between Seasons Eight and Nine, the irregularity in between each season has made the show a little tough to keep up with.
Fortunately, Larry David is still the same misanthrope he was in Season One, so you likely won’t get lost if you tune into the final season before catching up. But in case you want to know those things you don’t really need to know, here’s a quick primer…
Ever since Larry and Cheryl broke up in Season Six, Cheryl Hines has only appeared in a few episodes each season, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see much of her this go-around. Honestly, it’s been good for the show to have Larry back in the dating world, as it’s opened up some new, interesting doors over the past couple of seasons, most notably the three-episode arc in which Larry was dating Lauren Graham, who played a mom with a kid “on the spectrum,” but who Larry just thought was an asshole.
Plus, Hines’ IRL husband, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has been busy saying objectively weird shit on the presidential campaign trail, so she’s had her hands full defending his various conspiracy theories. She is in one of the trailers for Season 12, so she definitely will show up, most likely hand-in-hand with Ted Danson. Speaking of whom…
Since Season Nine, Ted Danson and Cheryl David have been an on-again, off-again couple, now that Ted has divorced Mary Steenburgen. While most of the changes to the series have been fine over the last few seasons, this relationship rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps because, in real life, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen seem like one of Hollywood’s most normal, charming couples so it bothers me that they’d break up, even if it’s only in Larry’s fictional world of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Season 11 dealt with Larry working on a new pilot called Young Larry. The autobiographical sitcom — which starred Ted Danson as Young Larry’s uncle — was mostly a series of disasters last season, but the final episode was somewhat ambiguous about the show’s status. Most likely, Young Larry will be ignored in the final season, but who knows?
I was happily surprised to see Tracey Ullman’s character, Irma Kostroski, in the trailer for Season 12. Much of Season 11 dealt with Larry dating this hilariously repulsive city councilwoman in order to influence her vote on a law pertaining to gates around pools in L.A. (Larry, who had no gate around his pool, had a man drown in it at the beginning of Season 11, which the dead man’s brother blackmailed him about. Larry, of course, only dated Irma in order to get the gate law repealed.)
In the final episode, Irma learned of Larry’s motives and broke up with him, seemingly ending the character’s arc. However, she’s popped up in the new trailer, which is fantastic as she’s the funniest new character on Curb in years.
J.B. Smoove’s Leon Black is still living in Larry’s guest house, and he’s still the same hilarious, sex-crazed layabout he’s always been. Let’s just hope he gets a spin-off or something after Curb ends because I can never get enough of this character.
Much like Leon and Larry, Jeff’s wife Susie is the same character she’s always been. She still screams insults at Larry and Jeff and provides some of the show’s most consistent laughs.
Jeff is pretty much the same too, even in the wake of Jeff Garlin’s firing from The Goldbergs for inappropriate conduct. The closest Curb Your Enthusiasm ever came to addressing any of that was in the beginning of Season 10, when Jeff is repeatedly mistaken for Harvey Weinstein. Besides that, it seems Curb just wants everyone to forget about any headlines featuring Garlin.
The New Funkhauser
Probably the biggest loss to Curb Your Enthusiasm was when Bob Einstein died in 2019. His character, Marty Funkhouser, last appeared in Season Nine, and though he was absent for the last two seasons, he was said to be overseas as opposed to being dead. In his absence, a new Funkhouser was introduced by way of Marty’s cousin Freddie Funkhauser played by Vince Vaughn.
While Vaughn keeps up with the improvisation on Curb just fine, his character doesn’t really work. For starters, he’s much younger than Larry’s typical friends, so it’s hard to figure out where he suddenly came from. Also, he’s being played by Vince Vaughn, who is definitely a celebrity that’s big enough to play himself on the show. Are you telling me that Ted Danson, Jon Hamm, Seth Rogen and Michael York exist in this universe, but Vince Vaughn doesn’t? That very idea is distracting, and every scene with him makes me wonder, “Why is Vince Vaughn on this show?”
Despite being visibly unwell for years, Lewis has still managed to appear in an episode or two of Curb Your Enthusiasm over the past few seasons, and the trailer reveals that he’ll be in this season, too. This is exactly the kind of friend we want for Larry; it’s just too bad Lewis can’t do more.
Despite minor changes like being divorced and a handful of failed creative ventures, Larry is still the same guy he’s always been. And so, he will leave this television plane as he arrived — as neurotic and petty as ever.