Sunday, December 26, I sank into my recurring depression that usually lasts about a year — but this time, may be forever.
Did Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm just say goodbye for keeps on HBO? That’s the thing about Curb, when one season ends, fans never know if that’s the end-end until David decides he’s ready for another go.
At some point, well, David is 74 years old and in fine shape as he is, writing, producing, and starring in practically every scene of a TV series can be, as David would say, “a bit much.”
Curb Your Enthusiasm ended its 11th season Sunday. And if this season’s closer was the final curtain, it would spell the last big laugh of the funniest, most irreverent, and well written comedy in television history.
And my favorite show ever.
Sunday's episode wasn't the sweet ending with every loose end neatly tied in a pretty bow like other grand finales. The last scenes of Sunday’s Curb had Larry being chased like a common house burglar and tripping into an unfenced backyard pool.
Meanwhile Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman – the real life whistleblower on President Trump’s “perfect call” to the president of Ukraine – has stolen Larry's permanent house guest Leon’s girlfriend and whisks her off to Asia for a romantic vacation. Oh, and before that, Larry got caught stealing shoes from an exhibit at the Holocaust Museum and his city councilmember girlfriend fell off the wagon — and missed a vote that would have kept Larry from being sent to prison for murder.
Now that’s a finale with a cliffhanger. When Larry fell into the pool … did he get out? You know how he likes to connect the dots, right?
When Seinfeld, the series that Larry David helped create, ended, Jerry and George were discussing the placement of the top button on a man’s shirt. When the series began nine years earlier, Jerry and George were discussing the placement of the top button on a man’s shirt.
How did this season of Curb begin? With a suspected burglar falling into a pool and drowning. So if David wants to put a wrap on Curb and move to other projects, there’s his out.
Hope not. Please no.
Curb Your Enthusiasm has a history as unpredictable as a David script filled with improvisational gaps. The acclaimed comedy, garnering 41 Emmy nominations, started as a one-time event — at least that was the plan — in 1999. It was a one-hour mockumentary starring Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, returning to his roots as a standup comedy, going back on the road, with a deal to tape an HBO comedy special.
Of course, everybody and everything gets on Larry's nerves, and vice-versa, and the HBO special goes down the drain, which doesn’t seem to bother David one bit. That’s his thing, he doesn’t care. Life goes on, at least his does.
Two years later, Curb returned as a 10-episode series with Larry encountering and deep-diving life's little annoyances. When Curb became a series, critics wondered if Larry could assemble a supporting cast anywhere near the magic of Seinfeld's crew of George Costanza, Cosmo Kramer, and Elaine Benes. Seinfeld was my favorite show back then. Was.
Little known fun fact — Kramer's name in the original script for the Seinfeld pilot was "Hoffman." I only tell my Seinfeld-addicted friends that every time I see them. (Editor's note: This makes perfect sense.)
David's cast for Curb, best buddy Jeff Greene and his foul-mouthed wife Susie, pals Richard Lewis and Marty Funkhouser, permanent house guest Leon Black, Larry's wife Cheryl, Ted Danson, and country club president Mr. Takahashi all were magnificently hilarious.
Guests like Jon Hamm, Ben Stiller, Michael J. Fox, Mel Brooks, Lin-Manuel MIranda, Vivica A. Fox, Shaquille O'Neal, John McEnroe, and more took turns that were, at time, so outrageous, I laughed out loud in my living room. And I never, ever LOL.
Seinfeld fans who clamored for a reunion show finally got their wish, with Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer all aboard, incorporated into a season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
As co-creator and head writer during most of Seinfeld's nine-year run, David's comedy prints are all over that show's 180 episodes. Curb has done 110 episodes plus the 1999 special. That's 146 hours of comedy that hit a bull's-eye on my funny bone. That’ll hold me.
I have seen every Seinfeld at least five times, probably more. I love most of them all. The "backwards episode" with Jerry, George, and Elaine heading to India for Sue Ellen Mischke's wedding, left me hanging. But even an occasional Seinfeld dud still was the funniest show on network TV that week. I just watched the Festivus episode on December 23 last week, the official Festivus Day, (which should be a federal holiday).
That was then, Curb is now. Whenever Curb returns for another season, I make sure I'm home Sunday nights and I like to be alone to watch the show. When it's over, I watch it again. Then I call a friend and we discuss.
Last year, Larry and Mocha Joe got into an argument on Curb about whether a properly baked scone, a British favorite, should be hard or soft. I had never eaten a scone, had no idea what they even were. The next morning, a friend and I went to Common Bond bakery on Westheimer and had authentic scones for breakfast.
We discovered that scones are supposed to be hard. And there’s no point in ever eating one again. Scones got nothing on doughnuts.
A while back, I wrote a column asking my usual run of local media types, who in your lifetime has made you laugh the hardest and longest? I heard David Letterman, Jim Carrey (I don't get that one), Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby (this was, you know, before), Dave Chapelle, and more.
For me it's Larry David. He represents everything that I live for — misery, rejection, contempt, and disappointment.