After a five year absence from television, Curb Your Enthusiasm returns home to HBO with the premier episode of its 9th season, and it manages to scratch the itch that Curb left us with.
All of the cast is back as well (although the roles of some of the usual suspects are minimal in this episode): Leon (J.B. Smoove), Jeff (Jeff Garlin), Ted (Ted Danson), Susie (Susie Essman), Richard (Richard Lewis), Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), etc. Right off the bat they tackle awkward situations, combining social commentary on feminism and door-holding etiquette like only Curb is able to do. The overarching story line for the season seems to be Larry working on a new play called “FATWA,” which is a comedy about the ayatollah and his demands for assassinations, also known as “FATWA.”
The mini-stories contained in the episode were hit and miss; one being Larry dealing with an incompetent assistant, and the other being his meddling in the wedding planning between two lesbians. Based solely on the scenario’s descriptions I’m willing to bet you can tell which story was more entertaining.
Larry’s assistant takes two days off of work due to constipation, leading to Larry complaining to others and finding out that Mara (his assistant) was foisted to him via her previous employer Jimmy Kimmel. This basically means Kimmel recommended her to Larry rather than deal with the awkwardness of firing her despite knowing she’s a terrible employee. Larry eventually foisted Mara off to Susie for a new project of hers and confirms with Kimmel that he did indeed foist her off to him, which all leads to some amusing moments but nothing special.
The much more interesting and hilarious story was Larry convincing a lesbian barber Betty that she should be the groom of the wedding, not her fiance Numa, as their “looks” fit the opposite role they desire. This ends up causing a huge argument between Betty and Numa, which Larry of course walks in on due to a pricing gripe with Betty’s haircut, and basically orchestrates the breakup of their engagement.
Their whole ordeal felt much more like Curb than the other episode’s story and really helped keep the funny coming. Following Larry promoting his new FATWA play on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, he receives an urgent call from Jeff where they both watch live on television as the ayatollah of Iran declares a FATWA on Larry. The entire scene stole the show, with both Jeff and Larry hilariously freaking out for fear of death.
Curb is back, and while it wasn’t the strongest episode ever, it hit the right notes and kept the spirit of Curb alive. Personally I’m looking forward to see what the rest of the season brings us!
Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sunday nights on HBO