Leave it to the inimitable Susie Essman to tell it like it is. When asked about the possibility of still more seasons of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” finally back on the small screen after six years away, Essman kept the door wide open. “I mean, did he come back after six years just to do one more season? Maybe they’ll be 11, 12, 13, who knows,” she told IndieWire.
And she’s got a point. After “Curb” wrapped up its eighth season in the fall of 2011, even David’s own cohorts were concerned that the bold and brash HBO comedy series had come to an end. Essman, who said she was sure the series was going to return (until she very, very much sure that it wasn’t), remembered speaking to David about seven months after the last season finale, set in Paris.
“He said to me, it was very serious, ‘This is it, we’re done,'” Essman said. “I really got into a depression, I was surprised how sad I felt. He always says, ‘This is it,’ and I never believe him, and this time, I really believed him.”
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Executive producer Jeff Schaffer, who also directed this season’s opener, was a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing. Like Essman, he’d been down that road with David before.
“Season eight ended like all the other seasons I’ve worked on, which is, ‘this is the last “Curb” ever, of all time,'” Schaffer said. “So every season is the last season, the final episode is the final episode of ‘Curb’ that will ever exist.”
Still, Schaffer admits it did take awhile to really crack the code of David’s reticence to jump into a new season (or to even think about one).
“I finally figured out why, which is because Larry puts all the ideas he likes into the season,” he said. “So when the season is over, he doesn’t have any more ideas he likes, so why would he ever do another season if he doesn’t have any ideas he likes? And he’s the only person on the planet that thinks he’s not going to have another good idea.”
He added, “He never wants to be in a position where he’s doing something he’s not happy with.”
With Season 9 almost in the can (Schaffer and team are still in the process of editing the final two episodes), talk is inevitably turning to the possibility of still more seasons. David didn’t really come back after all this time for just one more, right?
“Let’s put it this way: the last show of this season was built to be the very last ‘Curb’ ever, or not,” Schaffer said. “We’ll see. Larry would never want to do another season if he doesn’t have any good ideas, but I would not bet on Larry running out of ideas.”
Essman is a bit more effusive, and when asked if she thinks there are more seasons to come, offered up a “yes,” with a caveat.
“Yes. That’s not a definitive, but I think there’s a very good possibility,” Essman said. “Not up to me, it’s Larry’s world, I’m only living in it. It’s up to him, but he has indicated that he would not be against it. That’s the best I can do with him!”
She certainly doesn’t think the idea well is dried up either, no matter how David might hedge it.
“He always has ideas, he has a little notebook, he’s always writing down little ideas,” Essman. “But it’s gotta be more than little ideas. There’s always going to be a little idea, of this indignity, that little slight, this thing that’s socially ridiculous, but it’s gotta have an arc.”
Co-star J.B. Smoove admitted that he’s had the future of “Curb” on his mind for a long time, certainly before all the kerfuffle around the ninth season was even a glimmer in David’s eye (or his notebook). The actor and comedian remembered an early interaction with David during Smoove’s first season on the show, when conversation turned to the future — specifically, “where, how far, how long it would go.”
“I said, ‘Think about this, you gotta think about how many seasons are going to look good in a boxed set,'” Smoove said. “You don’t want no goofy-ass number. I said, ‘Think about what’s a good number for you…You gotta make sense of your boxed set, so when you see it, it don’t throw you off. Think about that shit.'”
It’s as good a metric as any. “Nothing throws people off more than a stupid-ass number,” Smoove added. (A prime example of a stupid-ass number that Smoove sparked to: Four.)
But it’s all up to David. “Who knows when Larry’s gonna stop?” Smoove said. Hopefully, not after nine, because ten sounds pretty, pretty, pretty good.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.