Every Season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Ranked


Larry David has the Midas touch. In 1989, he partnered with fellow comedian Jerry Seinfeld and pitched The Seinfeld Chronicles to NBC. Studio executives were skeptical about the lack of premise but rolled the dice and let it rip. The show became one of the most successful in television history, known to audiences everywhere as Seinfeld. David went on to write 62 of the 180 episodes, won two Primetime Emmy Awards, and was nominated for 19 before walking away from the show after season 7. It turns out that David had more ideas about nothing, and after his 1999 HBO standup special, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm, a new show was born.

In the style of Seinfeld, David furnished only a bare-bones script eager to capture organic improvisational buffoonery from his talented cast of actors. The comedian has stated that his Curb Your Enthusiasm character is based on a version of himself “if he were stripped of sensitivity and knowledge of social agreements.” The show resembles Seinfeld, borrowing scenarios from David’s celebrity life. Its other likeness is its immense popularity among critics and audiences. The long-running HBO hit (with a few gap years between seasons) has achieved 47 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won a Golden Globe Award in 2002 for Best Television Series Comedy. Not bad for a bald social assassin.

11 Season 1 (2000)

Post-Seinfeld Larry

Image via HBO

Larry David, the semi-retired mega-wealthy comedic wizard, is introduced in this inaugural season with a soft opening, despite the innuendo of the first episode, “Pop Tent.” Miscommunication and awkward exchanges come early and stay late, as audiences are invited to a party hosted by “Porno Gil” (Bob Odenkirk), followed by opportunities missed with Diane Keaton, featuring Lisa Ann Walter, Karen Maruyama, and Nia Vardalos in the episode “Interior Decorator.” Next, Larry’s worst nightmare (feigning niceties) becomes a reality in “The Wire” when an unsightly backyard wire burial requires adjacent neighbors’ signatures, and it’s up to Larry to charm them into signing off on the construction project. Season 1 of the series isn’t inferior by any metric; it’s just an appetizer of what’s to come.

Audiences become familiar with series regulars Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), Larry’s manager and best friend, and Jeff’s unimpressed, foul-mouthed, over-the-top hilarious wife, Susie Greene (Susie Essman), and Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) as Larry’s wife. To make things more interesting, David brings in guest stars (some of whom become regulars on the show), including Ted Danson, Mary Steenbergen, and Richard Lewis as themselves. Additionally, fans of Seinfeld are reunited with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays herself alongside her husband, Brad Hall. Episodes “Beloved Aunt” and “The Group” are fan favorites of the season and quickly generate the most laughs when Larry prints a misspelled obituary and infiltrates a sexual assault support group, respectively.

10 Season 11 (2021)

Tracey Ullman Takes On…Larry

Tracey Ullman features in Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image via HBO

With a star-studded guest roster, the 11th season of the show begins with a surprise in Larry’s swimming pool, setting the tone for the events that unfold. Larry becomes a victim of extortion, and a code violation snag plays a crucial part in casting his new show, Young Larry. The episode “Five Foot Fence” also features legendary funnyman Albert Brooks, who is throwing a preemptive funeral so that he might witness his friends and family mourn him. John Hamm shows up to deliver his final sentiments, followed by Larry’s heartfelt farewell to Brooks, in an outrageous monologue that shouldn’t be missed. Everything that happens in episode 1 of season 11 reverberates, gathering into a knot Larry can’t seem to untangle.

Perhaps the biggest surprise (and highlight) is the appearance of Tracey Ullman as Irma Kostroski, Larry’s new love interest. Ullman steals every scene she’s in, offering too much personal information, sloppily eating, and generally making Larry recoil in disgust. Highly rated episodes included “The Watermelon” and “What Have I Done,” where Larry regrets consummating his relationship with Irma. Any interaction involving Leon and Irma is solid gold, and the guest appearances throughout the season are so plentiful that the show begins to resemble The Garry Shandling Show. Woody Harrelson, Seth Rogen, and Julie Bowen add to the star wattage in episodes that are perfectly fine by Curb Your Enthusiasm standards, but season 10 was a hard act to follow.

9 Season 5 (2005)

Richard Needs a Kidney

Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Ski LIft - Larry David
Image via HBO

An overarching theme of mortality and personal identity radiates throughout season 5. Larry’s longtime friend, Richard Lewis, is in desperate need of a kidney transplant, and Larry struggles to volunteer one of his own. The big question of “Will he or won’t he?” gift a life-saving organ to his friend is a reoccurring theme, resulting in his final answer in the season finale, “This is the End.” Highlights of the season include Larry getting a less-than-appetizing deli sandwich named after him, adopting a racist dog, and meeting Hugh Hefner. As if the organ transplant wasn’t heavy enough, Larry finds out he might be adopted and searches for his birth parents, who might be gentile.

To save his organs and those found in Jeff’s body, they concoct a ridiculous plan to move Richard to the top of the organ donor list by posing as Orthodox Jews. Against her better judgment, Susie takes part in the elaborate ruse, posing as Larry’s wife in the season’s highest-rated, fan-favorite episode, “The Ski Lift.” Each episode is more offensive than the last, including “The Korean Bookie,” where Larry accuses the title character of cooking and eating Jeff’s dog, Oscar, and “Kamikaze Bingo,” where Larry accuses a retirement home of rigging bingo games and insults a Japanese Art dealer. Wanda Sykes, Bea Arthur, Dustin Hoffman, and Mekhi Phifer guest star in a solid season with a few stand-out episodes.

8 Season 9 (2017)

The Show Must Go On

Lin Manuel Miranda and Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Image via HBO

After an extended six-year hiatus, the show returned with the multi-talented Carrie Brownstein as an inept assistant no one wanted, but they couldn’t seem to fire in “Foisted!” The recurring theme of this season results from Larry inadvertently offending the Ayatollah of Iran on Jimmy Kimmel Live! In the episode “Fatwa!”, while promoting his problematic musical of the same name based on Salmon Rushdie‘s 1989 book, Larry is issued a Fatwa of his own. The list of Larry’s offenses, per usual, is long: He gets into it with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is essential in removing Larry’s Fatwa; he oversteps a boundary with his therapist and insults Jeff’s future son-in-law for the win.

Despite an impressive carousel of cameos and a bounty on Larry’s head, the season didn’t measure up to the stellar episodes of seasons 6, 7, and 8. However, there were noteworthy episodes, including “A Disturbance in the Kitchen,” which featured an appearance by Salmon Rushdie as himself, and “The Accidental Text on Purpose,” where Larry’s hair-brained texting plan backfires spectacularly. The addition of Bryan Cranston, Damon Wayons, Jr., and Lauren Graham was welcomed, but they couldn’t buoy the flailing season overall. Though it wasn’t a favorite, it was still worth watching.

7 Season 3 (2002)

Larry Invests In a Restaurant

Krazee Eyez Killa and Larry David Fist Bump
Image Via HBO

The frantic energy and frustration associated with construction projects alongside friends and family is palpable in this riotous 3rd installment of the show. Larry agrees to invest in a new restaurant with Jeff, Ted Danson, and Michael York, and everything that could go wrong does. Larry hires a chef based on baldness, fires the chef, and then accidentally breaks both thumbs belonging to a food critic. In “The Corpse-Sniffing Dog,” Jeff and Susie’s (corpse-sniffing) dog, Oscar, reacts to the restaurant site, halting the restaurant’s progress for a possible body excavation. At the same time, their unsupervised young daughter, Sammi (Ashly Holloway), gets drunk. Amid the chaos of the restaurant project, in the highly rated episode featuring a cameo by Alanis Morissette, “Krazee-Eyez Killa,” Larry breaks the trust of Wanda Sykes and her fiancé, a rapper named Krazee-Eyez Killa (Chris Williams).

Additionally, in the fan-favorite episode, “Chet’s Shirt,” Larry buys several duplicates of a shirt worn by his friend Chet and is horrified as they, one by one, become ruined. Other episode highlights include “The Special Section,” where Larry’s deceased mother must be buried in a particular cemetery area reserved for people with tattoos. Larry then fights with a hired group of nativity players and has ‘something’ in his throat in “Mary, Joseph, and Larry.” The highest-rated episode this season belongs to the season-long anticipation of the restaurant’s opening in “Grand Opening.” Larry hires a new chef with Tourette’s syndrome at the last minute, leading to one of the most hysterical opening nights in restaurant opening history.

6 Season 2 (2001)

Judy Loses Her Head

Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Doll-Larry- David-Season 2
Image via HBO

‘Juuud-y, Juuud-y, Juuud-y!’ A newly pitched ABC network show starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus is on the line when Larry visits the home of a studio executive (Zach Grenier) and cuts the hair of his daughter’s doll, Judy, a collector’s item. To salvage the show, Larry and Jeff take the head of Jeff’s daughter Sammi’s Judy doll and give it to the studio executive’s wife (a sickened Rita Wilson) to replace it. Susie discovers what Jeff and Larry have done to the doll (Sammi’s doll has been decapitated) and delivers one of her best performances as Susie in an epic takedown of the men. Over 24 sporadic years of episodes, audiences remember “The Doll,” a stand-out episode scoring a massive 9.2 out of 10 score on IMDb.

The season is filled with classic Larry antics, and the episodes “Trick or Treat” and “Shaq” are also fan favorites whose laughs have endured, making the sophomore season of the show a memorable one. Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Rob Reiner, and Wanda Sykes are some guest players stopping by to contribute to the chaos. In “Trick or Treat,” Larry draws a hard line with an age limit on Trick or Treating on Halloween night, upsetting a pair of teenage girls who get their revenge with spray paint and toilet paper. In “Shaq,” Larry attends a courtside Lakers game and accidentally trips basketball star Shaquille O’Neill, taking him out of the game with an injury. The Staples Center turns on Larry, and he has to leave in disgrace. Larry becomes a pariah in L.A., which has surprising positive effects, inadvertently getting Larry off the hook for events and favors he didn’t want to do. For fans of the show, season 2 lives in infamy.

5 Season 4 (2004)

The Infamous Carpool Lane

Larry and Sex Worker in car to baseball game Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image Via HBO

Season 4 was incredible for many reasons, beginning with episode 1, “Mel’s Offer,” featuring a guest appearance from comedic legend Mel Brooks. Brooks casts Larry and Ben Stiller in his Broadway musical, The Producers, which becomes the running thread of the season. Additionally, with Larry and Cheryl’s 10th wedding anniversary approaching, Larry reminds Cheryl of the one-time ‘sex pass’ she offered a decade ago, allowing one extra-marital encounter. Cheryl honors the agreement but places an expiration date for the pass on their anniversary. Larry becomes preoccupied with this quest throughout the season. The highest-rated episode, “The Carpool Lane,” is a fan-favorite in the series history of the show. In a rush to make it to a Dodgers game, Larry picks up sex worker Monena (Kym Whitley) so he can use the carpool lane. In a wild, real-life twist, footage from the episode was used as evidence to exonerate a wrongfully convicted man visible in “The Carpool Lane” at the Dodgers game instead of committing the crime he was accused of.

Rehearsals for The Producers occur throughout the season, though Larry and Ben Stiller have a falling out (following an accident involving Stiller’s eye), causing Stiller to drop out. David Schwimmer steps in to replace him, and rehearsals move forward. Another highly-rated episode in season 4 includes “The Survivor,” where guest star Gina Gershon plays a sexy Jewish dry cleaner, Anna, who agrees to be Larry’s ‘pass.’ The final must-watch episode of the season is its finale, “Opening Night,” revealing the premiere of The Producers. After unsuccessfully redeeming his sex pass with the dry cleaner, Larry chooses his cast mate, Cady, instead. Unfortunately, Cady has a photo of George W. Bush on her desk, causing Larry to abandon his quest. Stephen Colbert, Jerry Seinfeld, and Anne Bancroft, joined by her husband, Mel Brooks, were guest stars in the illustrious finale. It’s no wonder season 5 couldn’t top the madcap wonder of its predecessor.

4 Season 10 (2020)

Mocha Joe vs. Latte Larry

Larry David and Mocha Joe open competing coffee shops in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
image via HBO

After another 3-year hiatus, the show returns in time to lampoon the events preceding its 2020 debut of season 10. Larry is accused of sexual assault, Jeff is repeatedly mistaken for Harvey Weinstein, and Larry wears a MAGA hat with the intention of alienation. Bringing in viewers and a hefty score of 9.1/10 on IMDb, the season opener, “Happy New Year,” returns home with a lot to unpack. Larry is tired of receiving ‘Happy New Year’ greetings post-January 7th, and to Larry’s disbelief, Cheryl is dating Ted Danson. Then, Larry and Leon visit Mocha Joe’s coffee shop, only to be banned by Mocha Joe. The incident compels Larry to lease the space next to Mocha Joe’s, opening a ‘spite store’ to compete with Joe called ‘Latte Larry’s.’ Other highlights include another high-scoring entry in the season, the 9.1/10 episode “Elizabeth, Margaret, and Larry,” assisted by John Hamm, and “The Ugly Section,” where Larry believes the maître d’ (Nick Kroll) is repeatedly seating him in an area of a restaurant reserved for unattractive patrons.

In “You’re Not Going to Get Me to Say Anything Bad About Mickey,” Larry, Cheryl, Ted, Jeff, Susie, and Leon board a private plane to Cabo San Lucas to attend their friend Mickey’s (Timothy Olyphant) wedding. Larry is in rare form (and costume) in the episode, with complaints ranging from the size of his hotel room to frustration about the pilot requiring his weight before taking off. Larry is desperate for a toothbrush, fights with Ted, and discovers a coffee bean worthy of defeating Mocha Joe in an unforgettable destination wedding disaster. In the fan-favorite episode, season finale, “The Spite Store,” with guest stars Jonah Hill, Sean Penn, and Mila Kunis, ‘Latte Larry’s’ is featured on the Today Show, and the rivalry between the roastmasters spirals out of control, culminating in an amusing yet satisfying ending.

3 Season 8 (2011)

Between Chicken and a Hard Place

Michael J. Fox and Larry David on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
Image via HBO

Season 8 begins with “The Divorce,” finding Larry searching for a Jewish lawyer to keep the house after his divorce from Cheryl. The perpetual self-saboteur foils the plan via Girl Scout cookies and a tampon, losing the house, and Larry and Leon look for new digs. Larry David has called “Palestinian Chicken” his favorite episode in the series, and he’s not alone; it has been featured on countless ‘best of’ lists about the show and is often mentioned by critics. In it, Larry and Jeff discover a Palestinian restaurant serving delicious chicken and continue to dine in secret. Larry meets a woman (Anne Bedian) there and begins to date her despite her hatred of Jews, but is caught by Jeff’s daughter Sammi and extorted for the duration of the episode. Larry is officially labeled a ‘social assassin’ and, in a heated conclusion, must choose between the Jewish community and a beautiful woman who serves scrumptious poultry.

From the iconic “The Smiley Face” episode, where Larry is branded by sunscreen with a smiley face burned into his forehead, to the “Vow of Silence,” featuring the always funny Michael Hitchcock, season 8 delivers repeatedly. Larry travels to New York City with Jeff and Susie, where things only intensify. In “The Bi-Sexual,” Larry and Rosie O’Donnell compete for the same woman, and in “Car Periscope,” Larry and Jeff goofily audition a new invention. The last episodes of the season are incredibly re-watchable and include “Mister Softee” and “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox.” In the penultimate episode, Larry recounts the origin of a traumatic experience that continues to haunt him, and the season finale features a self-aware comedic performance by Fox. Season 8 captured the show’s spirit but was bold enough to experiment further, pushing boundaries audiences hadn’t realized Larry had yet to cross.

2 Season 6 (2007)

Goodbye Cheryl, Hello Blacks

Larry David and Jeff Garlin laughing at a book on the couch in Curb Your Enthusiasm
Image via HBO

In the opening of the delightfully unhinged 6th season, Larry takes in a family displaced from Hurricane Katrina to make amends with Cheryl in “The Blacks,” introducing the iconic character, Leon (J.B. Smoove), to the show. Larry accuses a woman of being a ‘sample abuser’ at the ice cream shop and steals Marty Funkhouser’s (Bob Einstein) deceased mother’s flowers after an unacceptable sweaty $50 repayment in “The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial.” Then, Larry revisits his pre-fame days as a limo driver in a fan-favorite episode, “The Freak Book,” after an incident at Ted Danson’s birthday party. Larry repeatedly shows Danson’s birthday gift to people, including John McEnroe, in laugh-out-loud scenes. Toby Huss, who played ‘The Wiz’ in the classic Seinfeld episode, “The Junk Mail,” returns as the over-served limo driver, Charlie.

An equal-opportunity offender, Larry’s faux pas multiply as the season progresses. By the 7th episode, Cheryl finally decides she wants out of the marriage when she calls Larry during a near-death moment, and he puts her on hold to talk to the TiVo guy. Larry tackles discrimination in “The N Word,” and fans of Seinfeld are reunited with Brenda Strong, who played the bra-less candy heiress, Sue-Ann Mischkie. Larry devises a plan to get Cheryl back by staging a mugging in “The Therapists,” in a season where ratings and viewership increase with each episode. The finale, “The Bat Mitzvah,” is the highest-rated episode involving a uniquely placed gerbil and an unexpected romance. Guest stars Tim Meadows, Steve Coogan, Vivica A. Fox, and Michael McKean elevate a season that was already pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

1 Season 7 (2009)

Seinfeld, Revisited

Curb Your Enthusiasm- The Table Read-Seinfeld-cast
image via HBO

The moment everyone’s been waiting for, the Seinfeld Reunion, finally arrives in an epic season Rotten Tomatoes awarded a mammoth 97% fresh. Picking up where season 6 left off, Larry is dating Loretta but learns she might have cancer and must dump her ASAP. Before he has the opportunity, Marty Funkhouser requires a favor involving his sister, Bam-Bam (an uproarious Catherine O’Hara), in the episode “Funkhouser’s Crazy Sister.” After Cheryl mentions that she ‘missed the Larry from Seinfeld days,’ Larry proceeds with a Seinfeld reunion show he’d previously refused to do, hoping to win Cheryl back. The episode “The Reunion” features a cameo from Meg Ryan and stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards, who return throughout the season. The series found an effortless groove, each installment in season 7 flowing seamlessly into the next like a comedic ship gliding on the water; there were no mediocre episodes.

Medaling in the Inappropriate Olympics, Larry goes the distance with a series favorite (in a season containing multiple fan favorites), the episode “Denise Handicap,” overtly relishing the perks of dating a woman in a wheelchair. Remarkably, Larry manages to level up with two separate counts of murder in “The Black Swan.” The remaining episodes, “Officer Krupke,” featuring guest star Elisabeth Shue, “The Table Read,” and “Seinfeld,” are a riot but also exciting for fans of Seinfeld. Newman (Wayne Knight), Mrs. Costanza (Estelle Harris), and Bania (Steve Hytner) return after a disappointing Seinfeld finale in 1998 left fans wanting more. Like a marathon runner who quits the race inches from the finish line, Larry sabotages another chance with Cheryl and learns the truth: she doesn’t respect wood. Over 24 years, the HBO series kept fans wondering if the show would return or ever end. On the cusp of season 12, Larry David swears it’s over; he wouldn’t tolerate a ‘double goodbye.’

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