Because Larry David’s world is certainly one full of judging, slights, and winners and losers, each week during Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm we will be applying a keen eye to all of the show’s social chaos to effectively answer this question: Who won the week? We’ll also be handing out a few other stray awards, much as we did while ranking every episode of the series. Let’s get started with Sunday night’s episode, “The Shucker.”
After eight episodes either wholly or partially devoted to Larry David living life under a fatwa, “The Shucker” was set to be our first glimpse at an unburdened LD after a fateful meeting in a buffet line led to the Ayatollah rescinding the bounty one episode earlier. On Sunday night, Larry celebrated his freedom in style, bringing together friends — including Bridget (Lauren Graham), who shockingly stayed with Larry after last week’s boarding school fiasco — for a dinner prepared by his very own oyster shucker (Steven Weber). But there’s a big problem with the Shucker. When Larry shares the news that he’s meeting with Lin-Manuel Miranda to discuss a starring role in Fatwa! The Musical, he confesses that he fell asleep watching Hamilton. His excuse? He’d played 36 holes of golf before the show. The Shucker overhears the shameful admission, and Larry realizes he’s indebted to the guy, because you can’t work in the entertainment industry if you haven’t given Hamilton the proper respect. To keep his mouth shut, Larry promises to score the Shucker Hamilton tickets.
Getting free Hamilton tickets is the least of Larry’s concerns, though, because Miranda is a total asshole. He sits behind his manager’s gigantic desk during their meeting, a power play that trips up Larry and Jeff to the point that they agree to all his suggestions for the musical. That means, for starters, that Mandy Patinkin, Larry’s first choice to play the Ayatollah, has been replaced by F. Murray Abraham. (Conveniently, both star in Showtime’s Homeland.)
Perhaps if Miranda’s tinkering of the musical had been the only thing on Larry’s mind, he would’ve had a better chance of standing up for himself. However, Larry was also being sucked into the unnecessary vortex of this week’s winner, Rose Shapiro (Carol Herman). Rose used to live in Larry’s house before he bought it, and in “The Shucker” she showed up unannounced at his dinner party to tour her old digs. She was horrified that he installed a rug in the entrance, changed the wallpaper, and wasn’t taking care of the ficus tree. Though I have to agree with Larry that the ficus was none of her business — and that she shouldn’t be showing up to houses she doesn’t live in in the first place — the fact that she later broke in (Larry never changed the locks) and stole the plant is undeniably badass.
Which leads to another reason why we should be thankful for Rose and her plant-stealing — because that petty larceny made its way to Judge Judy’s courtroom, in one of Curb’s most absurd escalations ever.
In the “trial,” Rose argued for sole custody of the plant, even bringing before-and-after photos of the withered ficus to prove her case — which was, of course, pretty flimsy, when you consider that all of it stems back to her breaking and entering.
Naturally though, Larry found a way to lose the pretty straightforward case; that’s what happens when you try to bribe a judge with a lozenge (he should really stop trying to bribe judges with candy in court) and complain about the courtroom’s unfiltered tap water. In the end, Rose got to keep the ficus. If I were Larry, I’d forget the ficus fiasco ever happened. Rose is plain better at interior decorating, and if Larry ever pushes her buttons again, maybe she’ll break in and redesign the house with her preferred wallpaper. And now, some awards.
Best Larryism: “He shouldn’t be getting into there, he should be getting into you, and I don’t mean that in a sexual way. I mean it in terms of time. Don’t — don’t get into the weeds of the show. Get into your weeds, again not sexual, but delve into you, you know. And again, delve into you — nonsexual delving is what I’m saying. A nonsexual delve.”
Best Cameo: Miranda, who does an excellent job subverting his lovable, Internet Boyfriend–worthy Broadway star persona. Curb’s version of Miranda is charismatic, yes, but he’s also an arrogant control freak who wants to turn everything into a hip-hopera. He also literally threw Larry to the ground during their meeting so that he could sit in his preferred seat. Still, I have no doubt that in Miranda’s hands, Fatwa! The Musical and its verses are “going to be Satanic.”
Best Staredown: The faceoff between Larry and Miranda belongs in the Larry David Staredown Hall of Fame. It lasts like 15 seconds!
Worst Fake NBC Chicago Series: Chicago Homicide, which Bridget mentions while lounging on Larry’s uncomfortable sofa. Dick Wolf’s massive Chicago TV series universe is an unstoppable force on NBC — as Bridget says, “people will watch anything with ‘Chicago’ in the title, it’s been proven.” However, the Jerry O’Connell–starring Chicago Homicide seems like a total bore, with or without the unapproved-penis talk.
Come back next week as Larry attends Sammi’s wedding and finalizes Fatwa! The Musical in the Season 9 finale, and what could be the final Curb episode ever.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.