It’s hard to believe that Curb Your Enthusiasm has been around for over twenty years. What’s especially great about its endurance is the fact that it feels like vestiges of a type of humor that isn’t done anymore. The comedy is blunt, irreverent, and even politically incorrect at times, which many shows and movies tend to shy away from these days. 

Having said that, Curb hasn’t been that good for a while. In fact, some might say the show peaked around the third or fourth season – back in 2004. While Curb hasn’t been as good as when it was this new risky HBO show, it still feels like that great comfort food audiences need. With Seinfeld still popular all around the world in reruns, Curb feels like it’s the closest thing to new episodes of that classic show, so while it may not be as good as before, viewers will probably always come back to see what new trouble Larry gets himself into.

Every Curb season has an arc that begins with a setup that will be tracked throughout the season, where it will finally get wrapped up in the season finale. Unlike the previous season opener where Larry uses a MAGA hat hilariously to his advantage, this season’s opener is pretty weak. It appears the arc of this season involves Larry producing a show based on his younger days called “Young Larry,” while trying to avoid responsibility for the death of what appears to be a burglar who broke into his home.

David finds himself extorted and forced to miscast a non-actor for a role in his new show. What’s interesting about this plot is that when he’s in the Netflix meeting to pitch the show, he’s surrounded by a very diverse cast of executives. Viewers will notice the network executives look different than what we’re used to, one is a young black male, a leg-less black woman in a wheelchair, and a non-gender-conforming female. I was expecting Larry to have out-of-touch conflicts with these characters, but he doesn’t. I wonder if this will come back, or if these casting decisions were made to make the show more diverse. The latter would be fine, as it does reflect the current Hollywood, but in previous years, this would be an obvious set-up for Larry’s anti-PC conflicts.

The other main plot of the season opener was Larry attending actor Albert Brooks’ funeral despite the fact that he’s not dead. The idea of someone planning their funeral while they’re alive seems like a situation rife with comedic potential for the usually socially explosive David, but it didn’t seem fully used to its advantage here.

However, Albert Brooks is a comedy legend and is a welcome inclusion to Curb. Interestingly, Brooks is the brother of the late Bob Einstein (Brooks’ real name is Albert Einstein) who played fan-favorite Marty Funkhouser for years on the show. Unfortunately, Brooks isn’t really given any funny material, and doesn’t even seem too thrilled to be on the show. Perhaps since Brooks is such a good writer, he doesn’t feel comfortable with the show’s improv nature. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with him in this episode, I do hope he returns. 

One of the show’s most interesting choices was to set this in a post-pandemic world. The episode has a running joke about “Covid Hoarders” who hoarded such things a Purell during the pandemic. So, in this world, the pandemic is already over and no one wears masks anymore. I sure wish we could speed up to that point in real life as we do in the show.

When I read Curb was going into production on another season during the pandemic, I wondered if it would be set during it, as a pandemic seems like the natural enemy of a germaphobe like Larry, and seeing him forced into quarantine and having to face all the changes we encountered in 2020 might have been funny. However, I could understand where trying to make humor out of such a tragic situation might be in poor taste, and so it’s probably for the best that the show swept the current situation under the rug.

Overall, it was one of Curb’s weaker, less funny openers. While still funny at times, the series hasn’t been consistently funny in years, and Larry’s character has seems to have changed from being the frustrated guy reacting to crazy people to being one himself. The show once tried to find the ridiculous in realistic situations, and it was even initially filmed documentary-style. However, the show is more cinematic now, which, stylistically, seems to match the unreality of many of the episodes’ premises. But does that mean I won’t continue watching the new season? Nope. Even though this Curb may not be as good as it once was, it’s better than no Larry David in your life at all.

Fun Fact: If you’re wondering the significance of why the show randomly ends with Larry and Albert watching an orchestra play the Curb theme song, it’s because it was composed by the conductor leading the orchestra – Luciano Michelini.

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