After a six-year hiatus, Larry David’s acclaimed HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm returns for its ninth season this Sunday, October 1. In similar fashion to Seinfeld, David’s first TV hit, Curb pays special attention to all of the little annoyances in life, which are often blown out of proportion by characters who can’t just let them go.
Larry, his fictional manager Jeff, his ex-wife Cheryl, and a slew of celebrity guests will get into who knows how many messes over the forthcoming 10 new episodes, and if the show’s track record is any indication, more than a few of these will involve cooking, dining, and restaurants. Before the Season 9 premiere, take a look back with 10 pretty, pretty, prettttay good food moments from the first eight seasons.
10. Mister Softee
Season 8, Episode 9
Viewers discover that a teenage Larry was traumatized by the Mister Softee music when he was tossed out of an ice cream truck, nude, after a game of strip poker with the driver’s daughter. To be fair to the beloved, cone-headed ice cream merchant, Larry only has himself and his terrible poker skills to blame for the incident — he wound up naked as a jaybird while his opponent lost just her shoes and socks. Nevertheless, this memory haunts old Larry as Mister Softee trucks around New York City cause him to make an error in a softball championship game and render him suddenly impotent in the middle of relations with his girlfriend.
9. Christian Slater Hogs the Caviar
Season 7, Episode 4
Guest star Christian Slater exhibits some poor party etiquette that might typically be associated with Larry. An anniversary event for Ted Danson and his wife, Mary, includes a bowl of caviar on the hors d’oeuvres buffet, and Christian is going to town, leaving little for the other guests. Larry takes offense to this and tattles on the fish egg glutton to Mary, but Christian returns the favor in a separate incident later in the episode, and as a result, Larry gets his ass kicked. A rare moment of Larry being in the right proves that no good deed goes unpunished.
8. Palestinian Chicken
Season 8, Episode 3
As he often did with Seinfeld, Larry David used an episode of Curb’s most recent season to bring levity to a heavy topic. He addresses the conflict between Israel and Palestine by making fictional Larry and his manager Jeff Greene, two Jewish characters, obsessed with a new Palestinian chicken restaurant in Los Angeles. The episode ends with a new location for the restaurant opening across a parking lot from Goldblatt’s Deli. Patrons of both establishments are vociferously protesting each other, and Larry is stuck in the middle, unable to decide if he should be loyal to his people or delicious chicken. It’s a tough decision.
7. Larry Doesn’t Like Food on a Stick
Season 4, Episode 2
Don’t serve passed appetizers on skewers if there aren’t garbage receptacles around. Ben Stiller learns this lesson the hard way. Larry indulges in a kebob at Ben’s birthday party, but with no trash can in sight, he’s forced to carry the small wooden spear — and complain about it — for the remainder of the shindig. Ben pays the price when Larry is practicing his golf swing with the skewer and accidentally stabs the actor in the eye.
Season 4 chronicles Larry’s efforts to play Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks’s Broadway version of The Producers. Ben is initially cast in the play as Leo Bloom, but, unsurprisingly, he drops out not long after the skewer incident.
6. The ‘Vanilla Bullshit Thing’
Season 2, Episode 8
In 2017, specialty coffee is all about the best possible beans roasted and brewed in a simple fashion. In 2001, when this episode aired, it was all about how much sugar could be pumped into a hot beverage. Larry and Cheryl visit a Starbucks together, and Larry nails the ’Bucks culture of the day with his order.
“I’ll have a vanilla — one of the vanilla bullshit things,” he tells the barista. “You know, whatever you want, some vanilla, bullshit, latte, cappu-thing. Whatever you’ve got, I don’t care.”
5. An HBO Executive Steals Larry’s Shrimp
Season 2, Episode 4
Larry’s takeout order from a Chinese restaurant is accidentally swapped with another customer’s. After returning the restaurant, he discovers HBO executive Allan Wasserman has his food, and upon checking the order at home, it appears Wasserman has eaten several shrimp from one of the dishes before returning the order. The TV exec claims innocence, but Larry’s box of kung pao shrimp contained just three crustaceans, and an employee confirms it’s restaurant policy to serve 11 shrimp per order. Obviously, Larry can’t let this slide.
The fallout from this causes a new series Larry has pitched to HBO to fall through, but who would want to work with a shrimp thief?
4. The Cobb Salad Controversy
Season 2, Episode 3
Who invented the Cobb salad? During a dinner out, one of Cheryl’s friends, Cliff Cobb, claims his grandfather came up with the dish in Chicago. Always a skeptic, Larry asks his assistant to do a little research and discovers the salad was actually created by a man named Bob Cobb at Los Angeles’s Brown Derby Hotel (this is one of a few origin theories). Larry’s inadvertent revenge for this transgression comes when he accidentally seduces Cliff’s wife for a romantic tryst.
3. Larry’s Inability to Grasp Proper Tipping Etiquette
It would make sense for the forthcoming ninth season of Curb to include a storyline involving a no-tip restaurant, because Larry had several problems with tipping in seasons 1 through 8.
- In the fourth episode of Season 1, he doesn’t understand why he should tip both the server and captain at a restaurant and elects to give the waiter 30 percent, instead of a 20-10 split between the two employees.
- In Season 3, Episode 2, Larry adds a couple of dollars to a tip left by his former television repairman, who believes he was fired because of his race.
- Later in Season 3, Larry takes his housekeeper to lunch because of a poor Christmas tip.
- In the Season 4 finale, Larry adds a little extra tip to his room service bill, even though it includes gratuity, after the server explains that it’s common practice.
- In Season 6, Episode 9, Larry has drinks with Cheryl and complains about how much bartenders make in tips.
- In the third episode of Season 7, Larry is frustrated by the fact that Jason Alexander won’t reveal the gratuity he is leaving on a lunch check the two are splitting, and he’s embarrassed to later find out the impressive figure far outweighs the tip he left.
- At the end of a breakfast at his country club later in Season 7, Larry decides not to add extra gratuity on a check that already includes 18 percent, apparently signaling a change in thinking from a few years earlier.
- In the last episode of Season 7, Larry refuses to tip a coffee cart owner who does a simple favor for him.
All things considered, Larry David’s life would be much easier if he didn’t have to think about how much gratuity to leave the end of a meal. He must be a fan of the no-tip-restaurant trend.
2. The Larry David Sandwich
Season 5, Episode 1
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor the United States of America has to offer. Having a sandwich named after oneself at a popular deli has to be a close second. This accolade is bestowed upon Larry at Leo’s Deli in the Season 5 premiere, but, in a cruel twist of fate, he isn’t a fan of the recipe: whitefish, sable, cream cheese, capers, and onions. “Not a fish guy,” Larry says. He attempts to trade sandwiches with Ted Danson, who has a classic combination of turkey, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on the Leo’s menu, but the actor finds the sandwich named for Larry to be just as off-putting. “That sounds disgusting,” he says.
In the end, Larry gets the last laugh. Convinced he has discovered that he was adopted, Larry broaches this subject with his father during a lunch at Leo’s. Leo, who, as it turns out, was also adopted, overhears and considers Larry to be his brother in adopted arms. The deli owner offers any sandwich on the menu, and Larry elects to stamp his name on the Ted Danson. He happily orders a new and improved Larry David to go.
1. The Opening of Bobo’s
The main storyline of Curb’s third season was Larry’s investment, along with a few other celebrities, in a new Los Angeles restaurant called Bobo’s. The arc begins with an initial investors meeting in the season premiere, and it concludes with the restaurant’s public debut in the finale.
Eater did not yet exist back in 2002, but if it had, coverage of the Bobo’s saga may have looked like this: