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‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Review: In Evading Death, Larry David Gives Life to a Premiere Well Worth the Wait

The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Season 9 premiere didn't disappoint, as Larry David raised a number of dicey issues worth discussion — so let's dig in!

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9 Larry David

John P. Johnson/courtesy of HBO

Every Issue Larry David Took Up in “Foisted!”

1. Soap bottles

In the opening scene, Larry struggles to pump out soap from a traditional dispenser.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes. These soap bottles are a menace, and they need to be corrected. The fact that most of them work intuitively does not make up for the fact that the few that don’t ruin everything, as evidenced by the shattered bottle dripping soap into Larry’s hand.

2. Holding the door for someone

Larry, upon entering a public building, notices a woman approaching and decides not to hold the door open for her.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes and no. Half of Larry’s “equation” is wholly accurate, and he knows it. “Type plus distance equals no door hold,” Larry says to Betty. “Where did you get that equation from?” she says. “I made it up.”

Of course he did, but the first part is not wrong. There’s an acceptable distance, probably greater than 30 feet, when anyone entering is not required to hold the door open for the person behind them. So Larry was right to say, “You can’t argue with the distance.”

He was wrong, no matter how mad Numa got later in the episode, to say that a “type” of person doesn’t warrant common courtesy. It’s always nice for anyone to hold the door for anyone. It just makes life easier, and the less politics get involved with actions that just make life easier, the better.

3. Constipation as an excuse to miss work

Larry’s assistant, Mara (Carrie Brownstein), misses two days of work because she’s constipated.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes. This is not a good excuse to miss work. It’s a good excuse to work from home, perhaps, if that’s an option, but it’s not a good enough reason to not show up if you’re needed.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9 Larry David Ted Danson

4. The death of a bird

Richard Lewis’s parrot dies. Larry sends a text that’s deemed too jokey.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes. This one’s easy: If you know your friend is as upset as Richard, perhaps play along to spare his feelings. But there’s no reason to go overboard, grieving a bird that may or may not have recognized you once.

5. Bride vs. groom

Larry tells a woman she’s more fit to be a groom than a bride, and vice versa for her partner.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

No. Larry. Come on. This one’s obvious. Just keep your mouth shut and let the couple choose whatever makes them happy. This is a largely meaningless distinction, so Numa was right to say, “Why are you here?”

6. Haircuts for (mostly) bald men

Larry is charged $150 for a haircut, despite being mostly bald, while Jeff (Jeff Garlin) is only charged $75 by the same stylist.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes, technically, but Larry was paying for his rudeness, not for the service itself.

7. “This is not the middle.”

Larry and Richard fight over who should walk over to whom at a party.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

No. Just get the steps in, Larry. It’s good for you.

8. Foisting, as an acceptable way to unload an employee

Larry finds out his assistant was “foisted” upon him by Jimmy Kimmel; in other words, she was passed on to him in order for Kimmel to avoid having to fire her.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

No. As evidenced by Susie (Susie Essman) laying into Mara at the end of the episode, employees need to be told exactly what they’re doing wrong, why, and as soon as possible. This is a job, and it needs to be done properly. “Foisting” just perpetuates the problem: a bad worker gets to keep doing the same job, or, even worse, move up!

9. Walking through a door that’s left “ajar”

Larry enters a home without being invited because the door is ajar.

Should Society Conform to Larry?

Yes, with a very big caveat: If the door is ajar, it should be investigated to make sure nothing is wrong. However, if voices can be heard inside that obviously belong to the owners — like Numa and Betty having a knock-down, drag-out fight — then you should certainly knock, or perhaps announce yourself, before entering.

Larry’s scorecard for Episode 1: 5.5 / 9

Larry is batting over .500 to start the season, and — more importantly — the humor derived from his societal suggestions was near 1.000. It’s a great start no matter what. Welcome back, Larry.

Grade: A-

Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 9 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

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