TV Review: Curb Your Enthusiasm Finale – 8/10

‘Nobody wants to see it… trust me…’

Over the course of 12 seasons and 120 episodes, Curb Your Enthusiasm took the ‘No hugging, no learning’ mantra first established on Seinfeld and ran with it to create a show that was uncancellable, relatable and always hilarious. Indeed, this final episode is entitled No Lessons Learned. While I’m aware that this next statement is hardly a boast, the version of himself that Larry David plays on Curb is as close as I have ever come to seeing myself represented on TV. For anyone who spends far too long dwelling on petty concerns, anyone who knows how it feels to overanalyse any social interaction until the only possible outcome is disaster, for any bald man, Larry David has served as an avatar and an inspiration over the last 24 years. Pretty good…

This extended episode and series finale finds Larry David in court for violating the Election Integrity Act by gifting a bottle of water to someone waiting in line to vote on a hot day. As is standard for pretty much any hot topic in this day and age, this incident quickly becomes a cause celebre that sees protestors picketing the courtroom in favour of Larry and even his old foe Ted Danson leading the protest (particularly if there is a TV camera around). This allows for the ingenious set-up of everyone that Larry has wronged over the years to return to testify against him. Of course, we have Mocha Joe and Mr Takahashi, both of whom take quite delight in taking Larry down, but we also hear from some other familiar faces from past episodes including Rachel Heinemann (Larry forced her to jump off a ski lift), Maureen (Larry urinated on her portrait of Jesus) and Bruce Springsteen (Larry gave him Covid… maybe). It’s all good stuff and while some of this does have the faint whiff of that dreaded old TV trope the clip show episode, it works here due to Larry’s reaction to these old tales and the outraged gasps of the court. Taken out of context, he really does seem utterly insane.

The B plot involves Larry’s scepticism about the claim that one of Richard Lewis’ former girlfriends was so distraught when he left her that she tried to commit suicide. This affords Larry one last opportunity to administer the Larry David Soul Stare – and to Alison Janney, no less. Of course, the episode is tinged with sadness due to the recent passing of Lewis and it is heartening to see him give such a great performance in this finale. Elsewhere, Leon is as wonderful as ever, particularly in a sequence involving Jerry Seinfeld himself and we are also treated to cameos from Greg Kinnear, Sharlto Copley and Dean Norris. It’s a star-studded lineup but as ever it is Larry, Jeff, Suzie, Cheryl and the other regulars that provide the beating heart and the biggest laughs. It’s a tragedy that we’ll never see these characters together again.

Before I wrap things up, allow me to address the elephant in the room. Apparently, this episode echoes the much-maligned Seinfeld finale. Alas, I’ve never seen Seinfeld so I can’t comment. I can only humbly apologise. For what it’s worth, I am determined that 2024 will be the year that I finally watch the lauded sitcom.

For over a decade Curb Your Enthusiasm has been one of the funniest, most original, most curmudgeonly and most gleeful comedies on the TV horizon. It will go down as one of the all-time greats and it is bowing out whilst still very much at the top. Whilst this particular episode is solid rather than spectacular, the final season as a whole has been excellent. Larry David and Curb will be missed. But just know that every time you question restaurant policy, speed up to avoid a stop-and-chat, or lament having to be cordial at a party, a piece of Curb Your Enthusiasm lives on in your heart. The bald fuck is dead. Long live the bald fuck!