Editor’s note, October 15: These rankings were last updated in March. We’re repromoting today in honor of Curb’s 20th anniversary.
Larry David — social assassin, four-eyed fuck, utmost respecter of wood — has just wrapped the 10th season of his HBO show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which means it’s time to reflect on some very important questions: Can you pause toast? Is the chat-and-cut a morally indefensible move? And, of course, what is the best episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm? We at The Ringer did our best to answer those questions — well, at least the last one — by revisiting our ranking of every episode of Curb, now updated with seasons 9 and 10.
100. “Lewis Needs a Kidney”
Season 5, Episode 5
Plot summary: Lifelong friend Richard Lewis is ill and, as the title indicates, needs a kidney transplant. Lewis compels Jeff, his manager, and Larry, his closest friend, to get tested to see if they’re a donor match. When both tests turn up positive for a match, Jeff and Larry go to war over who will donate their organ to Lewis.
Episode MVP: Lewis. Though a young Mindy Kaling as Lewis’s hysterical assistant is a close second.
Best Larryism: “You stupid idiots, you don’t even know how to play eeny, meeny, miney, mo. You don’t know how to play eeny, meeny! You don’t know the first thing about eeny, meeny!” —Sean Fennessey
99. “The Acupuncturist”
Season 2, Episode 6
Plot summary: One of the more confusing Curb episodes, “The Acupuncturist,” is about a $5,000 bet and a $5,000 loan, which both lead to explosive confrontations between Larry and the unfortunate strangers who’ve entangled their fortunes with him.
Episode MVP: Ed Asner, who roasts everyone in the episode and goes on an extensive rant about denim (and then dies).
Best Larryism: “I mangled the whole belly button, and now the kid won’t even talk to me.” —Justin Charity
98. “The Smiley Face”
Season 8, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry has started dating the hostess at his favorite restaurant, but he has some concerns about her use of the titular smiley face in text messages. (It’s 2011; grown-ups haven’t caught on to emoji yet.) Meanwhile, his assistant Antoinette has left to care for her dying father, so Larry is left to wage war against his new office neighbor Dino (Harry Hamlin) —a.k.a. “Big Dog” —who has claimed too many kitchen cabinets.
Episode MVP: Harry Hamlin, who wins the kitchen-cabinet war and also out-Larrys Larry on the subject of counter space and breakfast cereals.
Best Larryism: “The Dog days are over.” —Amanda Dobbins
97. “The Therapists”
Season 6, Episode 9
Plot summary: Larry attempts to win back his wife, Cheryl, under the advice of his therapist. When it goes horribly wrong, he enlists Dr. Bright (Steve Coogan) to make things right again.
Episode MVP: Dr. Bright, who psychically unravels in the space of half an hour.
Best Larryism: “Sometimes you make friends in a situation like this,” Larry calmly tells his now-imprisoned therapist. “They become your friend for life.” —Claire McNear
Season 1, Episode 7
Plot summary: “You never congratulated me on my new car,” Jeff tells Larry. The boys then go for a joyride, and Larry, mistaking a radio AAMCO ad for a honking car, provokes a fellow driver to rear-end Jeff’s pristine ’57 Chevrolet. In its entirety, Curb Your Enthusiasm is a series about how these people can’t have nice things.
Episode MVP: The ’57 Chevy. It’s a beautiful car, and Larry was rude to ignore and then imperil it like that.
Best Larryism: “What is this compulsion to have people over your house and serve them food and talk to them? What a strange thing.” —Charity
95. “The Safe House”
Season 8, Episode 2
Plot summary: Larry has run-ins with his unbeknownst-to-him neighbors over Chubby Hubby ice cream and small piles of dog shit, but ultimately, thanks to a patient marm, he opens his house to their dirty laundry. Larry uses political correctness to exonerate himself over the loss of a stranger’s “watch-my-laptop,” but it turns into a wrongful arrest. And Larry’s genuine concern for the real human attached to a pair of breasts (“It’s like Jello pudding inside those motherfuckers,” per a vending-machine-beating Leon) destroys Richard Lewis’s handsy relationship.
Episode MVP: Feminism, in the form of both Stella (Jan Anderson) —because it takes an extremely confident burlesque dancer to reduce her bosom by half —and Dale (Jen Kober), who carries around a laundry basket and injures obnoxious men like a boss.
Best Larryism: “It’s very hard to apologize to a dog, because they’re a stupid animal.” —Katie Baker
94. “Vehicular Fellatio”
Season 7, Episode 2
Plot summary: The two main stories are Larry going to great lengths to get out of his relationship with Loretta (Vivica A. Fox) —including going to a cancer doctor he knows will recommend she dump him —and Larry being unable to approach Richard Lewis’s girlfriend after he hears that she gave him a blowjob in the car. The stories cross when Loretta ignores the doctor’s advice —specifically because she sees the doctor performing “vehicular fellatio” —but breaks up with Larry anyway after she thinks she catches him receiving road head. She moves the Blacks out of Larry’s house; Leon, of course, stays behind.
Episode MVP: This one is all LD; the episode opens with a two-minute feat of acting in which he loses his mind trying to open a vacuum-sealed package.
Best Larryism: “Blowjob in the car? Wow, how gentile.” —Andrew Gruttadaro
93. “Thank You for Your Service”
Season 9, Episode 5
Plot summary: Larry wants to “reset” his relationships with the golf club’s chatty parking attendant and his mailwoman, who he went on an awkward date with. Larry also gets in trouble at the club when he remarks that a fellow member, Ken, has a child who looks “a little Asian.” The club’s owner, Mr. Takahashi, sends Larry a letter about revoking his membership—however, his mailwoman has stopped delivering his mail after their date. Meanwhile, Larry offends Sammi’s fiancé, Victor, for not thanking him for his military service before triggering his PTSD at a Revolutionary War reenactment. Larry is reinstated at the golf course because Mr. Takahashi was, in fact, having an affair with Ken’s wife.
Episode MVP: Victor, who is played by Chet Haze, a.k.a. Tom Hanks’s extreme fuccboi of a son who recently made a fool of himself at the Golden Globes red carpet. But credit where it’s due: It’s a fine performance, and quite literally the only time I have been amused by Chet Haze’s presence. Let’s just not make it a habit.
Best Larryism: “The whole system’s screwed up. You don’t need to send me something to tell me you’re gonna send me something, just send it. If I’m saying something to you, I don’t say to you, ‘I’m gonna say something to you,’ and then say it. I just say it.” —Miles Surrey
92. “The Hot Towel”
Season 7, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry goes to the doctor for treatment on a hand burn that he got from a too-hot hot towel on an airplane. In the parking lot he runs into an old flame, Mary Jane, and they make a date for the next day. Larry gives Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen a $300 gift certificate to a restaurant, and is flabbergasted to see them dining there with Jeff and Susie instead of him the next night —especially because Jeff and Susie’s gift to Ted and Mary was merely a vocal performance by their daughter, Sammi. (“At least I got you a gift! I didn’t have my daughter go up and sing a song. … That’s not a gift!”) Later, when Mary Jane’s boyfriend is on the hunt for Larry, Larry hides out at Jeff and Susie’s house, where he’s awakened by Sammi’s singing. When Larry yells at her to “shut the fuck up,” Susie kicks him out: “You squashed the spirit of a talented young girl. You piece of shit, you heartless piece of shit. Out!” Christian Slater, who is somehow also in this episode, gets the last laugh.
Episode MVP: Larry’s doctor, Dr. Morrison, who is played by the inimitable Philip Baker Hall, and who balances the sturdiness of a seasoned doctor with the dyspeptic deadpan of a Borscht Belt comic.
Best Larryism: “I’m comfortable in pajamas but I don’t wear pajamas on a plane. I like to sing, I like to whistle, I like to play the bongos on my leg. I like to imitate horses but I don’t do it, OK? ’Cause there’s somebody sitting next to me.” —David Shoemaker
91. “Mel’s Offer”
Season 4, Episode 1
Plot summary: In anticipation of his 10-year wedding anniversary, Larry reminds Cheryl of a promise she made him before their nuptials: After a decade, Larry would be allowed to cash in a one-time-only sexual escapade with another woman —so long as he can find a willing participant. Later, after a friend’s karaoke party, Larry is called upon by Mel Brooks to join the cast of The Producers on Broadway as Max Bialystock.
Episode MVP: Then-77-year-old Mel Brooks, who not only sings karaoke and puts a dent in Larry’s head with a bathroom door, but also hires him (alongside Ben Stiller) to star on Broadway. Honorable mentions to Stiller in an inspired turn as the crankiest version of himself and Philip Baker Hall as a doctor with a predilection for doctor’s office etiquette and a bit of a drooling problem.
Best Larryism: “You got yourself a partner? I got a wife. Not exactly a partner —more like a, uh, rival. You know what I mean? It’s a rivalry.” —Fennessey
90. “Ted and Mary”
Season 1, Episode 2
Plot summary: There’s no double date that sounds more delightful than bowling with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, and even Larry has fun. Almost too much fun, as he develops an embarrassing friend crush on Mary and proceeds to make the interpersonal dynamic between the couples as awkward as possible.
Episode MVP: Mary’s mother (Anne Haney) is a gentle Southern woman who just wants to go shopping and enjoy the music of Paul Simon with her daughter, and instead spends most of the episode attempting to be polite to Larry. She’s the MVP for keeping a straight face when Larry buys a jacket to match Mary, a feat few people could manage.
Best Larryism: “Nothing gives me more pleasure than cracking an egg.” —Kate Knibbs
89. “The TiVo Guy”
Season 6, Episode 7
Plot summary: Cheryl’s plane encounters severe turbulence, and when she calls Larry to tell him she loves him for what may be the last time, he rushes her off the phone so he can deal with the TiVo repairman. Finally fed up with his antics, Cheryl decides to leave Larry. Hearing the news of their breakup, Larry and Cheryl’s friends are put in the awkward position of having to choose between them. They all choose Cheryl. Meanwhile, Larry sustains a scrotal hematoma and contusion (“twisted balls”) and goes on a date with Xena the Warrior Princess (Lucy Lawless).
Episode MVP: Ted Danson. When Larry asks him why he didn’t get an invite to Danson’s “oceans fundraiser,” Danson’s excuse is, “I thought you were a global warming guy.”
Best Larryism: “My testicles got ensnared in the fly of my underwear, and the doctor says I can’t have sex for a week … but we can go [to your house] for dinner?” —Jordan Coley
88. “The Shucker”
Season 9, Episode 9
Plot summary: An oyster shucker overhears Larry say he slept through most of Hamilton, and Larry, who’s scheduled to meet with Lin-Manuel Miranda about Fatwa!, agrees to get him tickets to the show to keep him quiet. Meanwhile, Jeff starts wearing the shucker’s cowboy hat, much to Susie’s delight; the former owner of Larry’s house keeps popping in to criticize his upkeep; and Larry can’t say “no” to Miranda while he’s sitting behind a big desk.
Episode MVP: The shucker, in one of the best dirtbag roles of the show’s run. Honorable mention to Rose Shapiro, the former house owner, for facilitating the episode’s best moment: the showdown with Larry on Judge Judy.
Best Larryism: “He shucks all over town. I don’t know what circles he shucks in.” —Justin Verrier
87. “The Blind Date”
Season 4, Episode 3
Plot summary: After Ben Stiller drops off his wife at yoga, Larry refuses to join him in the front seat of their car —an argument that pushes Stiller to quit The Producers. Mel Brooks’s partners become convinced something is wrong with Larry after they spot him at lunch with a mentally disabled car washing crew and a burka-clad Muslim woman. Larry attempts to set up the Muslim woman with his blind friend, Michael, but the date is ruined when he misfires his umbrella, removes her veil, and decides she’s unattractive. Cheryl’s cousin Stewart refuses to tell Larry the secret to a card trick.
Episode MVP: Stewart, for his deadpan assessment that Larry is not “a natural magician.”
Best Larryism: “Lil’ baby’s gonna walk!” —Alyssa Bereznak
86. “The Smoking Jacket”
Season 5, Episode 6
Plot summary: Larry goes to the Playboy Mansion and swaps his dad’s smoking jacket for Hugh Hefner’s. He also brings a terminally ill tween to the mansion in his own twisted version of Make-A-Wish because the kid wants to see a naked woman. I don’t know if HBO had some sort of arrangement with Hef for Playboy-themed episodes in the early 2000s (remember the L.A. episodes of Sex and the City?) but watching this in 2017 is less notable for how funny it is —it’s pretty mediocre by Curb standards —than as a reminder of how quickly Hef and Playboy fell off the cultural radar. (Would a 12-year-old boy even know what the Playboy Mansion is now?)
Episode MVP: Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt, Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriends, who look so convincingly uncomfortable during their prolonged chat with Larry that it both made me uncomfortable and curious enough to find out what happened to them after The Girls Next Door ended. (Holly performed in a burlesque show in Las Vegas and wrote a few juicy memoirs; Bridget operates an Etsy store.)
Best Larryism: “Double transgression theory.” —Knibbs
85. “The Baptism”
Season 2, Episode 9
Plot summary: Larry crashes a baptism. Importantly, he does this after bugging Cheryl with his wild musings and unhelpful directions on the long car ride to said baptism, which Larry mistakes for an attempted murder by drowning.
Episode MVP: Kaitlin Olson as Cheryl’s sister. Her cameo is brief —she mostly screams in a river —but I’m Sweet Dee hive for life.
Best Larryism: “We don’t need more states —we’re not the British Empire. Are they trying to turn us into the British Empire? And what is Puerto Rico, anyway?” —Charity
84. “Wandering Bear”
Season 4, Episode 8
Plot summary: Larry seeks medical advice from his Native American gardener, Wandering Bear, after he wears a condom inside out and numbs Cheryl’s vagina. Meanwhile, Larry tries to conceal a College Girls Gone Wild video and an injury to Jeff’s dog, Oscar, in addition to repairing his relationship with his personal assistant.
Episode MVP: Larry. By this point in the series, Larry has come into his own as a comedic actor —it’s not just his observations, but his intonations and expressions. Every aspect of his performance in this episode works, from the fake voice he uses to order the video to his discomfort and disinterest during the whole first scene with his jilted assistant (“What are those, Mentos?”) to his anxiety about having his “web of lies and bullshit and deceit” exposed.
Best Larryism: “Marvin, I’ve had every sexual problem known to mankind. What is it, you’re impotent? I’ve gone 10 years with no erection.” —Ben Lindbergh
83. “The Massage”
Season 2, Episode 10
Plot summary: Larry declines to “stop and chat” with the maître d’ at his favorite restaurant —which has consequences when Cheryl takes Larry to a celebratory dinner and Larry attempts to “borrow” a fork. At some point in the middle of this, Larry gets an inappropriate massage and tanks his pitch to CBS because he’s worried Cheryl will find out through her psychic.
Episode MVP: Cheryl, who does indeed figure out the wrongdoing via psychic and who doesn’t get caught stealing a fork.
Best Larryism: “He wanted to do a stop-and-chat, and I don’t know him well enough for a stop-and-chat.” —Dobbins
82. “Car Periscope”
Season 8, Episode 8
Episode Summary: Larry and Jeff go into business with an inventor who has pioneered a mechanism that’d allow drivers to see ahead of traffic and who Larry trusts almost solely because the man’s wife is less attractive than him. (A form of judgment that permeates the whole episode.) The B-plot is an homage to The Fugitive in which Larry is accused of taking advantage of a (very racist) old man during a game of Scrabble when really, it was a one-armed man. (One noteworthy musing that only slightly makes it into the plot: the ethics of walking ahead of someone in order to get a cab before them, otherwise known as “upstreaming.”)
Episode MVP: Aida Turturro, who plays the inventor’s wife! The sight of her stalking toward Larry —as he hurls popcorn at her in self-defense —after he lets slip why he trusts her husband, is a magical sight.
Best Larryism: “I always think of nice things, but I never act on them … What is that?” —Gruttadaro
81. “Opening Night”
Season 4, Episode 10
Plot summary: Larry travels to New York for the opening night of his Broadway show, and makes a couple of final efforts to cash in on his 10th-anniversary gift from Cheryl.
Episode MVP: A frantic cameo by a pre–Colbert Report Stephen Colbert as an irate tourist with possibly mystical powers.
Best Larryism: “What could you be talking to a stewardess about? Did you allude to me?” —McNear
80. “The Korean Bookie”
Season 5, Episode 9
Plot summary: Larry uses a Korean florist named Sung as a bookie to bet on NBA games. When Jeff and Susie’s German shepherd, Oscar, goes missing, Larry suspects that Sung has kidnapped Oscar and cooked him. Later, at Dr. Mark and Marla’s wedding, when Larry learns that Sung has not only provided the flowers for the ceremony, but made one of the dishes being served at the reception, he freaks out and tells everyone that they’re eating dog. As Cheryl and Larry are pulling out of the parking lot and leaving the wedding, Oscar appears and runs out in front of their car.
Episode MVP: Sung is definitely the MVP of this episode. He’s an in-demand, multitalented businessman. I mean, the guy’s a florist, a bookie, and he cooks a mean bulgogi?
Best Larryism: “You know the story of The Three Little Pigs? The one who built his house with bricks? That’s me. … I’m the third pig. Think of me that way, the third pig.” —Coley
79. “Side Sitting”
Season 10, Episode 2
Plot summary: Facing a sexual harassment charge from his assistant, Larry begins overly emphasizing consent (“I’d like to take this left hand of mine and place it on the rib cage, fairly close to the breast, while keeping a safe distance”), but it all goes left for two reasons: a feud with his lawyer that explodes when the lawyer won’t let Larry use his private bathroom; and the assistant growing uncomfortable when Larry tries to sit adjacent to her in the middle of a lunch meant to be an armistice. Meanwhile, LD flips out over some iffy test results, buys Susie a painting of herself, and dives into creating a “spite store” in his war against Mocha Joe.
Episode MVP: For the pure ire that courses through his veins after Susie hangs up her massive portrait and for his upfront admission that “I’m not a cancer friend, I can’t do the cancer friend”—this award goes to Jeff. Garlin is historically great at being angry, uncomfortable, and an extreme schmuck. In this episode, he gets to be all three at once.
Best Larryism: “This is why homeless people don’t make a lot of money from people in cars—because no one wants to go into their pockets!” —Gruttadaro
78. “The Divorce”
Season 8, Episode 1
Plot summary: The Season 8 premiere begins with a typical argument between Larry and Cheryl and then, quite unceremoniously, the announcement that the two will be getting a divorce. But, in keeping with Curb’s elite pettiness, no part of the episode is dedicated to processing the emotional drama that led to the disintegration of their considerably long marriage. Highlights include: Larry confronting his divorce lawyer, “Berg,” after evidence indicates he is feigning Judaism, and Larry instructing a Girl Scout as to how to insert a tampon through his bathroom door.
Episode MVP: Berg (Paul F. Tompkins), for peppering his conversations with just enough Yiddish to appear marketable, while also maintaining plausible deniability.
Best Larryism: “I got Sweded!” —Bereznak
77. “The Ski Lift”
Season 5, Episode 8
Plot summary: Larry pretends to be an Orthodox Jew to improve the kidney-transplant prospects of Richard Lewis, whose at-home nurse is stealing valuable objects and hiding them in her “huge” vagina. Yep.
Episode MVP: Larry, who takes full advantage of the Tim Whatley rule to (poorly) impersonate an Orthodox Jew. This episode is an exquisite blend of slapstick, accents, and absurdity, and its disparate strands all tie together in a satisfying, Seinfeld-esque fashion. I will never not laugh at Larry’s vagina-size accusation, vaguely Yiddish-sounding gagging noises, and faux-outrage about missing milchig plates.
Best Larryism: “I’ll tell you what I’m driving at. I submit you took that baseball, stashed it in your unusually large vagina, and walked right on out of here.” —Lindbergh
76. “The Surprise Party”
Season 10, Episode 6
Plot summary: An overstuffed episode that features Rebecca Romijn as a pissed-off receptionist, some truly incredible urinal innovations, and a dog that responds to Nazi commands. In the A plot, Larry becomes convinced that Susie is plotting to kill Jeff and his weak heart by throwing a surprise party. (He enlists the help of Fred Armisen, playing a man with a disability in an uncomfortable cameo, to help him suss it out.) To account for his worries, Larry devises a plot so that “Rusty” Holzer, Jeff’s doctor and a social hanger-on, can attend. In the end, however, Rusty is the one who couldn’t handle the surprise.
Episode MVP: The urinal—or rather, the “pee cube,” which includes a ramp, shuts after each use, and adjusts to the user’s height and, um, space needs. “I feel like I’m with Howard Hughes right before the nails go big,” says Freddy Funkhouser (Vince Vaughn) as Larry shows off his creation.
Best Larryism: “It’s as if coffee is dictating to us when it must be consumed. I’m not OK with that.” —Justin Sayles
75. “The Car Salesman”
Season 2, Episode 1
Plot summary: Larry tries to prove that he can be a successful car salesman, and promptly gets himself fired. Larry and Cheryl also buy a new house that is plagued by mysterious “house sounds.”
Episode MVP: Jason Alexander, who is tired of being seen only as George Costanza and repeatedly insults the real-life George Costanza himself, Larry David.
Best Larryism: “OK, the GTS is ‘guaranteed tremendous safety.’” —Lindsay Zoladz
74. “The Wire”
Season 1, Episode 6
Plot summary: Cheryl is on a mission to remove an ugly electrical wire from the backyard, a task that requires the signatures of their odd neighbors. The neighbors agree to cooperate in exchange for a meeting with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but waffle after those encounters turn hostile. Meanwhile, Larry loses his ideas notebook, and burns through a series of rude late-night calls and house visits in his quest to find it.
Episode MVP: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who stares straight into the camcorder of Larry’s neighbor and answers a question about Jerry Seinfeld with: “I gotta tell ya, I don’t have any fucking idea.”
Best Larryism: “Cut-off time is 10:30. Everybody knows that.” —Bereznak
73. “The Reunion”
Season 7, Episode 3
Plot summary: When the opportunity to do a Seinfeld reunion show comes up, Larry is unenthusiastic —until his ex-wife, Cheryl, expresses interest in playing a part on the show. Jerry Seinfeld is skeptical about a reunion, but he agrees, while also mentioning that Meg Ryan should play the part Larry created for Cheryl. Aside from that wrinkle, everything is moving along smoothly, but when the head of NBC gives Larry nosebleed seats to a Lakers game, Larry tells him to “go fuck himself.” The reunion show eventually gets back on track, but then Larry calls Jerry to tell him the show’s back on, and Jerry is with Meg Ryan, who has already agreed to take Cheryl’s role.
Episode MVP: Jerry Seinfeld, whose inquisition (and unintentional undermining) of his old friend is positively Larry-esque: “Get together? You’re not a ‘get together’ guy. You don’t like ‘together.’ You hate to get ‘together!’”
Best Larryism: “You don’t believe in tip coordination? Is that it?” —Shoemaker
72. “Affirmative Action”
Season 1, Episode 9
Plot summary: Lewis introduces Larry to his dermatologist, who is black. As he’s “trying to be affable,” Larry jokingly feigns surprise that Lewis would hire a black dermatologist despite affirmative action, which would seem to suggest that Lewis’s dermatologist is a subpar dermatologist. Of course, Larry lives to regret this joke for the rest of the episode.
Episode MVP: Lewis’s dermatologist, who has to be the butt of the affirmative action joke at the heart of all this.
Best Larryism: “I tend to say stupid things to black people sometimes.” —Charity
71. “Denise Handicap”
Season 7, Episode 5
Plot summary: Larry strikes up a conversation with a woman who is sitting a table over from him at a coffee shop, and he eventually gets her to agree to go on a date with him —something he instantly regrets when she rolls her wheelchair over to hand him her number. After he fails to pleasure her in the bedroom and can’t figure out if it’s his lack of skill or her condition, he decides to break up with her. But then they go to dinner one more time, Larry notices what he sees as perks that come with being with a handicapped person, and decides that an unorthodox sex life is worth enduring if it means front-row parking, not waiting for tables at restaurants, and the get-out-of-jail-free card he can use on friends who think he’s an asshole. The relationship falls to pieces, though, when Larry loses his BlackBerry and has no way of getting a hold of his girlfriend, who he had saved in his phone only as “Denise Handicap.”
Episode MVP: Rosie O’Donnell kicks Larry’s ass two different times (and has a third attempt prematurely broken up), which is plenty to earn MVP status in my book.
Best Larryism: “All I’m wondering is this: If you took an American kid who has never used chopsticks before and a Chinese kid who has never used chopsticks before, would the Chinese kid do better?” —Mark Titus
70. “The Weatherman”
Season 4, Episode 4
Plot summary: Photographic evidence of Larry’s horrible dental hygiene terrifies everyone around him. Meanwhile, Larry wages war on a weatherman —a friend of the dentist, naturally —he thinks is purposely predicting bad weather so that he can have the golf course to himself.
Episode MVP: An inexplicably barefoot Russian who, as with all the best things on Curb, seems to exist only to torment Larry.
Best Larryism: “I’m not saying it’s a great Hodgkin’s. It’s a good Hodgkin’s.” —McNear
69. “The Beep Panic”
Season 10, Episode 9
Plot summary: The spite store is in business! Latte Larry’s is open and crushing Mocha Joe’s. But his new coffee shop isn’t even the flashiest thing Larry does in the name of petty vengeance in this episode: When the BMW salesman (correctly) accuses him of faking car troubles to score licorice from the dealership’s service center, he buys an i8, fully loaded, including a tin of licorice. In a giving spirit, Larry lets Diane, a waitress who got fired from the country club for having diarrhea, have his old car, which quickly produces disastrous results: She’s texting at a stop sign when the person behind her beeps, causing her to panic, hit the gas, and smash into Larry’s new whip. LD later has another diarrhea-related mishap courtesy the licorice while Mocha Joe is visiting under the false pretense of calling a truce. While Larry and Leon are in the bathroom, Mocha Joe finds a way to get Larry in trouble with the FBI—thanks to a Roma screener.
Episode MVP: Leon, who will eat only the black licorice. “Is there something wrong with a person supporting black and shit?”
Best Larryism: “No one’s down with diarrhea, Diane.” —Sayles
68. “The Pants Tent”
Season 1, Episode 1
Plot summary: In the first episode of the series, Larry goes to the movies with Cheryl’s friend Nancy, and because he is wearing an awkwardly cut pair of pants, Nancy believes that she has caused Larry to get an erection. This is also the one where Larry offends Jeff’s parents by making a Hitler joke about Cheryl, not realizing he’s on speakerphone.
Episode MVP: Nancy (played by, fun fact, Mike Myers’s ex-wife Robin Ruzan), who isn’t buying the “pants tent” excuse for a second.
Best Larryism: [Discussing Richard’s new girlfriend’s breasts.] “They’re not breasts; they’re just big, chemical balls, OK?” —Zoladz
67. “The N Word”
Season 6, Episode 8
Plot summary: Larry’s lack of control over his manhood after five seconds leads to a disgraceful misunderstanding with Auntie Rae that only gets worse when she sees him massaging a painful groin as instructed by his love interest, Dr. Flomm. But that’s far from the worst miscommunication for Larry: After overhearing a man telling a racist story, Larry’s attempts to relay it to others end consistently badly —especially for Jeff, who finally sees why Larry complains about bald discrimination. (It’s Susie who is the real victim of medical malpractice, though: “He had a beautiful head full of hair that I loved, a mane!” she screams at Larry about her newly shorn husband. “And now he looks like you!”) Larry’s bizarre medical dates with Dr. Flomm come to a disappointing end after an offended pharmacist hands him the wrong prescription.
Episode MVP: The pharmacist, because he alone has the power to decipher Dr. Flomm’s chicken-scratch love note —but also because he alone has the power to stymie Larry’s usually ol’ reliable “five-Mississippi” erection.
Best Larryism: [Shaking his head, terrified, and refusing to speak.] —Baker
66. “The Lefty Call”
Season 6, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry gets Richard’s girlfriend, Cha Cha (Tia Carrere), a job as the receptionist at his office. But with her desk positioned next to the men’s room —and in prime position to monitor Larry’s frequent lavatorial habits —Larry begins to regret the favor.
Episode MVP: Daviday (Taylor Negron), the waiter who refuses to allow Susie to take home leftovers for her dog (and gets revenge when she does so anyway).
Best Larryism: “I don’t need her bowel concern!” —McNear
65. “The Bat Mitzvah”
Season 6, Episode 10
Plot summary: After being convinced by Leon to stop being such a mopey dick over Cheryl, Larry gets out of bed and learns of a gerbil on the loose in his house. He also visits a gastroenterologist to see about the “tickle in his anus,” meets a mysterious woman in the waiting room, and asks her out on a date. Elsewhere, impressed by the moxie of a line-cutter at the movies who pretends to be disabled, Larry tries to use the same trick to ward off a man who is looking to rent the unoccupied office across the hall. The plan backfires when “rec-o-mmen-ded” director Matt Tessler is offended by the act and spreads a rumor about the gerbil that Larry tries to clear up via a speech at Sammi’s bat mitzvah.
Episode MVP: The gastroenterologist’s receptionist, who, despite having “no formal education” not only puts up with Larry’s badgering over the patient list but also gives him fair warning about the mysterious woman “just there for a checkup,” whom he takes on a rather uncomfortable double date.
Best Larryism: “You calling him Ben Ladin or Bin Laden? Ben, that’s almost like a Jewish name.” —Baker
64. “The Hero”
Season 8, Episode 6
Plot summary: Larry trips over his shoelaces and tackles a belligerent man who is accosting a flight attendant, leaving the passengers on the plane thinking that he is a hero. A woman sitting next to Larry named Donna, who had previously turned down his advances, suddenly warms up to him. During a party, a guest (played by Chris Parnell) trips over his shoelaces and bumps into Ricky Gervais, prompting Susie to mention that that’s exactly how Larry stopped the drunk man on the plane. Upon hearing the truth, Donna is no longer interested in Larry and instead starts seeing Gervais. At episode’s end, Larry follows Donna and Gervais onto a subway, where the two of them get mugged until Larry intervenes and beats the robber with a loaf of bread.
Episode MVP: Ricky Gervais dunks all over Larry for the entirety of this episode. He picks out the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu when Larry offers to buy him one. He says he loves the laugh track on Seinfeld because “it reminds you when to laugh.” He gets to sit at the cool kids’ table at the dinner party while Larry gets sent to be with the losers, he roasts Larry for not only bringing bread to a party but for bringing the hardest loaf of bread imaginable, and he makes Larry pay $200 for tickets to see his play. Then he steals Larry’s girl.
Best Larryism: “Everybody brings wine. I bring bread.” —Titus
63. “Officer Krupke”
Season 7, Episode 8
Plot summary: Susie finds panties in Jeff’s glove box, and the explanation Jeff comes up with is that they belong to Larry. Jeff then relays his alibi to Larry, who starts behaving more feminine around Susie. He oversells it, and Susie starts to suspect that her intuition was right all along. So Larry devises a brilliant plan —involving a kids’ subpar lemonade stand, a police officer named Krupke, and a pair of khakis from Banana Republic —to prove once and for all that he does, in fact, wear women’s panties.
Episode MVP: Jeff is a forgettable idiot in this episode and wouldn’t be the MVP under any other circumstances, but I’m giving it to him solely because it’s an all-time classic Curb moment when he shows up at Larry’s front door with a neck brace on and says, “You gotta tell Susie I was in a car accident.”
Best Larryism: “As far as I know, there are only two ways you can injure your neck: One is a car accident. The other is cunnilingus.” —Titus
62. “The Thong”
Season 2, Episode 5
Plot summary: On the advice of his therapist, Larry takes Cheryl to the beach. While there, he spots his therapist wearing a thong bathing suit, which makes him extremely uncomfortable. He tells Richard Lewis, who is also a patient, and they both decide to leave the therapist. Elsewhere, Larry is recruited by Rob Reiner to auction himself off as a lunch date as part of a charity event for “Groat’s syndrome.” During the ensuing lunch, Larry gets into a heated argument with the winner because he refuses to wait for the man’s lunch to arrive before he starts eating.
Episode MVP: Larry David, for having relatable sentiments with regards to the beach and waiting to eat until the other person’s food arrives.
Best Larryism: “You ever catch your parents having sex? No, me either. You know they did … but you wonder when.” —Sean Yoo
61. “Insufficient Praise”
Season 10, Episode 5
Plot summary: Larry rattles Clive Owen when he leaves a less-than-enthusiastic voicemail to “praise” the star for his performance in the Castaway-esque play Kon-Tiki. In addition to Vince Vaughn’s bizarre first appearance as Freddy Funkhouser, the episode also features brief appearances from the pee cube (genius), a sex doll (shout-out Uncle Moke), a judgmental cleaning lady (who hates Susie), and some delicious sandwiches from Metzler’s, which Larry saves his highest praise for. “You know, that kind of thing, that’s not for people, that’s for sandwiches, or a well-struck iron, a good golf shot.”
Episode MVP: Richard’s latest girlfriend, Carol, the professional crier played by Isla Fisher, steals the show and saves another. In the end, she comes away with Larry’s mother’s mink stole and rejuvenates Clive Owen’s play with her own dramatic performance. She also gets Larry to roast Richard with this all-timer at lunch: “He thinks people are aware he dresses in black. He thinks he’s Johnny Cash. No one gives a fuck.”
Best Larryism: After Ted aligns with Mocha Joe and marches over to the spite store, Larry asks: “You think you’re up for this fight, General Lee?” —Matt Dollinger
Season 2, Episode 2
Plot summary: Basically, Larry accidentally incites the rage of professional wrestler Thor Olsen when he makes finger guns at his children while driving.
Episode MVP: Thor (Deron McBee), and if you suggest otherwise, he will slash your tires.
Best Larryism: “Anybody know how to change a tire? I never took a shop class and I need a little help. OK, I’m just coming flat out and saying help me, that’s … anybody wanna help me, semi-retarded individual change a tire? Twenty-five, 30 dollars to change a tire. OK, $35 to change this tire for me right now. I’ll give you $10 for a response! Anybody wanna make $10 and respond verbally?” —Zoladz
59. “Ben’s Birthday Party”
Season 4, Episode 2
Plot summary: Larry reencounters the blind man he helped move in Season 1 (“The Bracelet”) and informs him that his girlfriend is not as attractive as she claims to be —leading to their breakup. Ben Stiller throws a late birthday party with the directive “No gifts!” but Larry is the only one who takes this literally. Midway through the party, he insults Susie by poo-pooing the designs of her new bedazzled T-shirt business. He later refuses to sing “Happy Birthday” and then accidentally stabs Ben’s eye with an hors d’oeuvre skewer. In a double-play apology tour, he buys one of Susie’s sweaters to give to Ben, a gesture that backfires after a series of regiftings.
Episode MVP: Susie. No one can mouth “fucking asshole” across the room like that woman.
Best Larryism: “Thursday I have a Klan meeting, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it.” — Bereznak
Season 9, Episode 7
Plot summary: The episode is aptly named, as it begins with Larry getting kicked out of a yoga class for refusing to say “namaste.” Yogi Tina explains to Larry that, “Namaste means the light within me greets the light within you,” to which Larry responds, “Well, there’s no light within me.” And that point is evident throughout the episode as Larry receives a one-star Uber rating for offending his Romanian driver, calls a kid with Asperger’s a prick, and gets thrown off a public bus for being an annoying backseat driver. Larry is not a dark person, per se, but as seen in the episode, he clearly doesn’t have much light within him.
Episode MVP: Leon, who hooked up with Yogi Tina in Larry’s own home, with the heat set to 92 degrees! Larry tells Leon and Yogi Tina to GTFO, to which Leon perfectly responds, “I’m still gonna namastick it in her, I’ll tell you that.”
Best Larryism: “I’m not prejudiced in any way, toward any group, except my own.” —Yoo
57. “The Surrogate”
Season 4, Episode 7
Plot summary: Perhaps the most racially charged half-hour in the show’s run, “The Surrogate” includes disquisitions on interracial relationships, biracial identity, the crisis of surrogacy, linguistic coding, road rage, and waiting-room reading material. In short, Larry must pass a physical to perform in The Producers, but doing so requires more than just a simple test.
Episode MVP: Muggsy Bogues. David Schwimmer. Melissa McCarthy. Richard Lewis. Garcelle Beauvais. Mel Brooks. Wanda Sykes. Take your pick, this is one of the most loaded episodes in show history. For Ringer purposes, let’s go with Muggsy, who is, er, sized up by Larry and Richard Lewis at a bathroom urinal and nearly clocks LD in the face before he weasels out of it with a fake heart attack. (This show is real and spectacular.)
Best Larryism: “It’s a mulatto. … … … … No good?” —Fennessey
56. “Larry vs. Michael J. Fox”
Season 8, Episode 10
Plot summary: Larry spends an episode befuddled by Michael J. Fox because he can’t tell if the actor is lashing out against him or if he’s merely living with Parkinson’s. Did Fox shake his head in disdain of Larry, or was it a “Parkinson’s shake”? Was Fox clomping around in boots late at night to keep Larry up, or was he just relieving Parkinson’s-related cramps? Did Fox shake up a can of Coke as an act of revenge, or, you know. Elsewhere, Larry gets into trouble with his girlfriend because he buys her 7-year-old son, Greg, a sewing machine after assuming the child is gay. The kid loves the gift so much that he knits Susie a pillow sham adorned with a swastika —a symbol Larry introduced him to.
Episode MVP: As fun as it is to see Michael J. Fox, the MVP here is Eddie Schweighardt, the kid who plays the flamboyant, swastika-loving Greg. His response to Larry explaining how Jewish people don’t like Hitler —“Get a life, Jews!” —is the biggest laugh of the episode.
Best Larryism: “He will be gay; he’s just —he’s pre-gay!” —Gruttadaro
55. “Artificial Fruit”
Season 10, Episode 3
Plot summary: Larry tracks down his favorite scone baker, but the scones are so dry that no one else likes them—especially not Alice, who chokes on one toward the end of the episode, ending Larry’s legal problems. In other plot lines, Larry and Richard Lewis compete to prepay for lunch; Larry donates a worthless doodle and gets pelted with bread at a benefit for Survivors United; and thanks in part to some realistic-looking fake fruit, Larry, Leon, and Jeff chip their teeth and start lisping, which culminates in all of them ending the episode upside down in garbage cans (which, unlike some other trash cans in the episode, aren’t just for show).
Episode MVP: Roger Swindell, Esq. Larry’s lawyer’s office, Larry notes, features “Fruit that’s not for eating, garbage that’s not for garbage, and a bathroom that nobody can use.” Swindell’s expressionlessness and calm, controlled manner make for an amusing contrast to Larry’s agitated state, and this episode offers some insight into why Swindell keeps such a tight leash on his emotions: his dad’s angry apple-eating during Swindell’s formative years. “My dad ate angry apples all the time,” Swindell says. “He communicated a tremendous amount of hostility. In fact, I think there are a lot of emotional colors available when eating an apple.”
Best Larryism: “There’s no other way to eat an apple but blithely. That’s how apples are eaten.” —Lindbergh
54. “The Seder”
Season 5, Episode 7
Plot summary: Cheryl decides to host Passover seder for Larry’s father, and, in typical Curb fashion, things do not go well. Larry befriends a sex offender played by Rob Corddry, and, after he helps fix Larry’s golf swing, Larry invites him to seder. There, Larry asks his neighbor Ethel to see if she recognizes anyone at the party, hoping that she identifies Mark (Rob Huebel) as the man stealing his newspapers. Instead, she recognizes the sex offender and faints. The episode ends with Jeff and Susie’s daughter choking, with only the sex offender able to save her.
Episode MVP: Rob Corddry, for being the nicest, creepiest, and most helpful sex offender in the neighborhood.
Best Larryism: [After Cheryl finds out Larry invited the sex offender and promptly freaks out.] “Cheryl, what would Jesus do?” —Yoo
53. “Meet the Blacks”
Season 6, Episode 1
Plot summary: The season premiere of Season 6 is a classic “full-circle” Curb episode. The episode starts with Larry destroying a smoke alarm with a baseball bat. He then chats with Jeff and Richard and cooks up a plan to avoid going to two parties in two nights. The plan ends up being a total disaster both nights, leaving Cheryl unhappy. Larry’s only solution is to allow a family displaced by Hurricane Edna to stay at his house. The Blacks arrive, and the Davids host a party, which ends thanks to a penis-shaped cake from Marty Funkhouser’s go-to erotic bakery. The episode ends with Larry eating some penis cake and then telling Loretta Black (Vivica A. Fox) that she can’t smoke indoors. Larry throws out the cigarette in a trash can under the destroyed smoke alarm and ends up causing a house fire, which displaces the Blacks and the Davids.
Episode MVP: Larry David, who introduces us to the term “schmohawk” and gives us a solid “pretty, pretty, good” and plenty of penis jokes.
Best Larryism: “Funkhouser, he knowingly served us penis. What is wrong with that guy?” —Yoo
Season 2, Episode 8
Plot summary: Larry and Richard Lewis sit right next to the bench at a Lakers game, which takes a nasty turn when Larry inadvertently trips and injures Shaquille O’Neal and gets booed out of Staples Center. The following day, Larry gets ridiculed by nearly everyone he sees. But somehow, miraculously, Larry’s luck turns around and everything starts going well for him—you even get to see an elated LD dance in the middle of Starbucks. Later on, Larry goes to the hospital to apologize to Shaq by delivering DVDs of Seinfeld, and while there, he exposes Shaq’s doctor for cheating in Scattergories. Shaq and Larry make up, but unfortunately it reverses Larry’s luck.
Episode MVP: Shaq, because he was on the show during his prime, and he effortlessly shines in one of the best guest spots in Curb history.
Best Larryism: “I’ll have a vanilla—one of the vanilla bullshit things, you know, whatever you want. Some vanilla bullshit—latte, cappa, thing. Whatever you got, I don’t care.” —Yoo
51. “The Larry David Sandwich”
Season 5, Episode 1
Plot summary: After nearly drowning, Larry decides he wants to reinvest himself in his Jewish faith, but with tickets already sold out for Rosh Hashanah, he must resort to using a scalper. (A bad idea with equally bad consequences.) In other news, Larry finds out his favorite deli has named a sandwich after him, but it’s a terrible, fish-filled sandwich—“That sounds awful,” Ted Danson tells LD—so he spends the episode trying to get different ingredients on the “Larry David.” Oh, also? Larry finds out he may be adopted.
Episode MVP: Larry David, who recoils in disgust when someone asks if he’s married to Susie, tells Jeff to “shut the fuck up” with a hilarious amount of frustration, uses his yarmulke to clean his glasses, and reacts to possibly being adopted with stupendous glee.
Best Larryism: [With the most sarcasm possible.] “Mustn’t interrupt intercourse! Oh, sacred intercourse, cannot be interrupted. Oooh, everybody quiet. Quiet for intercourse! Shh! Don’t disturb the intercourse!” —Gruttadaro
50. “The Ugly Section”
Season 10, Episode 7
Plot summary: This episode, as Susie so eloquently states, focuses on the “depths of depravity” Larry is willing to reach to get things he wants. The main plot revolves around Larry’s friend Carl dying by suicide because of the Jets (which my colleague Katie Baker expands more on here). The rest of the episode focuses on Larry’s gripe with a restaurant that has an ugly section and his attempt to have sex with a widow who apparently has a magical vagina. While at Tiato, the restaurant managed by Nick Kroll, Larry realizes that he is ugly and finally has proof. Larry, after multiple attempts, sits in the good-looking section after making a deal with a desperate Kroll. The depths of depravity continues in the other plot, as Larry not only compares the death of his childhood turtle to the grieving process of a husband, but also brings up the Jets as he’s about to close the deal with Veronica. In the end, Larry’s depravity takes the L as he ruins his shot with the magical vagina and most likely kills a man because he was sitting in the good-looking section of [in an overly Italian accent] Tiato.
Episode MVP: Nick Kroll as the restaurant manager was an excellent foil to LD in this episode. From his condescending looks at Larry to the ridiculous way he pronounces Italian words, this was a solid showing from Kroll. It was the perfect role for him to play and I don’t think I’ll ever get over the way he pronounced burrata.
Best Larryism: “You know, I don’t want to listen to Louis Armstrong’s son play the trumpet,” after getting a diagnosis from his doctor’s son. Also shout-out to Richard Lewis, who said Larry looks like “Einstein’s gardener.” —Yoo
49. “Funkhouser’s Crazy Sister”
Season 7, Episode 1
Plot summary: Season 7 is a strange one—as Larry schemes to break up with his cancer-stricken girlfriend, Loretta (Vivica A. Fox), he does etiquette battle with her doctor, his pal Marty Funkhouser, and Funkhouser’s sister, Bam Bam, recently released from a mental institution. When Jeff takes advantage of Bam Bam, all hell breaks loose.
Episode MVP: Incontrovertibly Catherine O’Hara as Bam Bam. She is unwell, voracious, and riotously funny. Her darting eyes and flirting gestures are screwball magic.
Best Larryism: “Can I tell you something about apricots? You know one in 30 is a good one. They’re such a low-percentage fruit. Always mealy, dry.” —Fennessey
48. “The End”
Season 5, Episode 10
Plot summary: Richard Lewis needs a kidney transplant and Larry, who is a match, keeps finding excuses to not be a donor. (“I’m not even that friendly with him. Yeah, I’ve known him 44 years, but we’re not really close friends. He’s more of an acquaintance. Who gives a kidney to an acquaintance?”) But when Larry is told that he was adopted and that his biological parents are Christians from the Midwest, he immediately converts, loses his neuroses, and becomes a compassionate and loving person who happily offers up his kidney to Lewis. As Larry is being wheeled into the operating room, a private investigator tells him that he wasn’t adopted, and that he’s always been a Jew, and all of Larry’s anxieties come flooding back. Larry goes into a coma after the operation, eventually dies, and then gets kicked out of heaven and sent back to Earth after he fights with his guardian angel (played by Dustin Hoffman) over the best system for ensuring DVD cases never get lost.
Episode MVP: Larry, for his superior system for DVDs—put the case on top of the DVD player the moment you remove the disc from the case; for begrudgingly telling a hospital patient, “Congratulations, again, on getting out of the coma”; for using his dying breaths to ask his wife if he’s allowed to fool around in heaven; and for wearing a fanny pack, a white straw cowboy hat with a ribbon around it, and a TGIF shirt.
Best Larryism: “See, this is what you get when you do good deeds. I avoided good deeds my whole life. Turns out I was right.” —Mark Titus
Season 9, Episode 10
Plot summary: Larry prepares for the grand opening of Fatwa! The Musical, starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as Salman Rushdie and F. Murray Abraham as the Ayatollah. Larry organizes a paintball game for the cast and crew, but tensions boil over between him and Miranda. They decide to have a paintball duel, where Larry inadvertently Aaron Burrs Miranda by shooting a paintball into his mouth, putting his star out of commission for six months and cancelling the play. All of this commotion causes Larry to miss Sammi’s wedding. The final shot of the season sees an Iranian man—unaware that the fatwa against Larry was lifted—chasing our guy through the streets of Los Angeles.
Episode MVP: In the spirit of many Curb celebrity cameos, the finale has Lin-Manuel Miranda play against type—in the show’s universe, he’s an asshole who doesn’t give a good thank-you and fails to tell Larry that the couple he’s agreed to house are swingers. As per usual, Larry’s grievances with the Hamilton creator were pretty legit. On the plus side, Miranda is an elite Musical Number Salman Rushdie:
Best Larryism: “Please do not misconstrue this. This is not a pickup in any way, shape, or form. I don’t pick up; I put down.” —Surrey
46. “The Survivor”
Season 4, Episode 9
Plot summary: Larry and Cheryl prepare to renew their wedding vows for their 10-year anniversary. After a mix-up with Larry’s rabbi, a former Survivor contestant and a Holocaust survivor go head to head at his dinner party. Larry plots to cash in on Cheryl’s promise that he can sleep with another woman, but runs into difficulties when he misunderstands the parameters of sexual encounters in Orthodox Judaism. Many suits and sheets are ruined—somebody get a sponge!
Episode MVP: Sol, the Holocaust survivor, for his perfect indignation at the mere utterance of reality show luxuries like “snacks” and “flip-flops.”
Best Larryism: “It’s a go-home stain, but I didn’t go home.” —Bereznak
45. “A Disturbance in the Kitchen”
Season 9, Episode 3
Plot summary: Thanks to a pep talk from Salman Rushdie about the transcendence of “fatwa sex,” Larry sheds his mustachioed disguise—even if Susie did like it better—and picks up Elizabeth Banks at a bar with his alluringly cursed aura. Arguments with the police, Susie, a chef, and (under my breath) Swat ensue.
Episode MVP: God bless the impervious restaurant manager, played by Rich Fulcher, and his god-tier talent for industrial-grade obfuscation; what’s he doing at a restaurant when he could be a spokesman for a fossil fuel company with that vibe? Not only will he not elaborate on the meal-delaying “disturbance in the kitchen,” he won’t even get pinned down about the color of his tie: “I believe the tie is self-evident,” he smarms. “The color is there.” And really, where’s the lie?
Best Larryism: “Your horn cannot hit the subtle notes required in the art of beeping,” Larry fumes to Ted Danson after borrowing his new Tesla and pissing off a cop with an unexpectedly aggressive reminder-beep. —Baker
44. “The Bare Midriff”
Season 7, Episode 6
Plot summary: A midriff-revealing shirt disrupts Larry and Jerry’s work on the Seinfeld reunion, and Larry’s super-powered piss stream leads to a miraculous misunderstanding.
Episode MVP: The Larry-Jerry relationship. Nothing beats their booth banter.
Best Larryism: Either Larry’s medication-enhanced urination scenes or his appeal to his midriff-exposing assistant: “You can flaunt two-thirds of the day outside of the office. And then you’ve got one-third non-flaunt. Do you have to flaunt 24 hours? Why not take a break in the flaunt?” —Lindbergh
43. “Mary, Joseph, and Larry”
Season 3, Episode 9
Plot summary: It’s Christmas and Larry has a pubic hair stuck in his throat. He must overcome this physical difficulty in order to navigate tipping season, which he screws up royally because he’s Larry and his housekeeper keeps telling people he went to a U2 concert. Since Cheryl’s parents are visiting, she gets a Christmas tree for the house, and after initial resistance, Larry arranges a nativity scene to get into the holiday spirit. It does not go as planned.
Episode MVP: Jeff Garlin, for asking Larry how to pronounce “Bono.”
Becky: You ate the baby Jesus and his mother, Mary.
Larry: I thought they were animal cookies.
Becky: Jesus Christ is not an animal!
Larry: I thought he was a monkey. —Dobbins
42. “Running With the Bulls”
Season 9, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry duels with two rivals over different thrones—first, with his therapist Dr. Lionel Templeton (played by Bryan Cranston) over his office’s “chair disparity,” then with Richard Lewis over the superior seat at lunch and later at the memorial of Marty Funkhouser’s nephew. Meanwhile, Larry argues about the concept of patient-doctor confidentiality and Jeff does the dirty deed with his real estate agent, only for Susie to eventually buy the deed to the house they were doing it in.
Episode MVP: Kenny Funkhouser takes home the hardware posthumously after falling in love with a prostitute, taking her to Spain, and then dying in the titular running of the bulls. His memorial was ruined by Larry’s false “Fatwa!” sighting, but his death was immortalized with Marty’s priceless quote delivered in his trademark deadpan: “He’s like a son I never had. Although my daughter is transitioning.”
Best Larryism: “I’m often never honest with you.” Larry David channels Yogi Berra with this nonsensical truth to his therapist. —Dollinger
41. “The Spite Store
Season 10, Episode 10
Plot summary: In the country club changing room, Larry runs into Marty’s son, Joey (Chaz Bono), who has recently transitioned—and opted for an extremely large penis in his sex-reassignment surgery. While LD is worried that Joey won’t know what to do with such a big johnson, he doesn’t think twice about giving the Funkhouser scion a job at Latte Larry’s. Unfortunately, Larry is right about the penis, just in ways he couldn’t imagine. First, Joey’s new endowment knocks over and breaks a watch that Larry intended to get fixed for a friend of Jeff’s (played by Veep’s Sam Richardson). Later, it leads to a disastrous end of the coffee shops—both the spite store and Mocha Joe’s. By this point, Mocha Joe has teamed up with Alice, Larry’s former assistant who was suing him for sexual harassment until she suffered partial memory loss after choking on a dry scone earlier in the season. Now that she remembers who Larry is, she’s ready to help Mocha Joe get revenge. With the help of another of Larry’s enemies, an obnoxious real estate agent played by Paul Scheer, and inspired by the anger sparked by Joey’s mishap, Mocha Joe and Alice buy the home next to Larry’s and decide to make his life hell with a spite house.
Episode MVP: Larry has sparked a trend of spite stores, from Sean Penn’s exotic bird shop to M.K. Jewelers, run by Mila Kunis. But none of the featured celebrities are better than Jonah Hill, who is running his own spite deli after being inspired by Latte Larry’s. An interviewer asks him whether this life is better than acting and directing. Every time a person walks into his spite deli over Irv’s next door, Jonah says, is “like my own tiny human Oscar coming in here.”
Best Larryism: “I don’t think you respect the drought.” —Sayles
40. “The Bowtie”
Season 5, Episode 2
Plot summary: At Marty Funkhouser’s anniversary party, Larry discovers that he’s on the outs with both the lesbian and black communities—the former because he was overly congratulatory when Funkhouser told him that his daughter Jodi, heretofore a lesbian, is dating a man; and the latter because his new dog, Sheriff, is racist. But after Larry inadvertently scares Jodi’s boyfriend away from the relationship, his status is reclaimed—until the dog takes a bite out of Rosie O’Donnell.
Episode MVP: Wanda Sykes, who, in one scene, deconstructs the antiseptic quality of the modern McMansion and the racism of the American justice system: “Sheriff? That’s a perfect name for a racist dog. Where’d you get this dog? At the Klan meeting or something?”
Best Larryism: “You’re a gentile, you’ll go [to the bathroom] in the middle of Fifth Avenue! It’s different for Jews!” —Shoemaker
39. “Never Wait for Seconds!”
Season 9, Episode 8
Plot summary: In this nostalgia-filled episode, Larry stands up for a stranger who was attempting to cut in front of a buffet line. That stranger, Morsi, is extremely grateful for Larry’s actions, and despite being a devout Muslim, he decides to not go through with the fatwa against him. Instead he investigates further into Larry’s past social assassinations, which turns into a trip down memory lane for the audience. Morsi visits many past acquaintances, like Monena from the carpool lane, Krazee-Eyez Killa, and even Michael J. Fox. Morsi and the committee come to the conclusion that although Larry’s actions may have been ridiculous and sometimes even rude, they were all in the quest to help people out. Not sure whether I fully agree with the decision, but I’m cool with it as long as you do not overuse the ketchup.
Episode MVP: Navid Negahban as Morsi. Watching Morsi interview all the people Larry previously had run-ins with and come to Larry’s side on most of the issues is so perfectly Curb.
Best Larryism: “You said lets live it up! I would never live it up, I live it down, I don’t live it up.” —Yoo
38. “The Grand Opening”
Season 3, Episode 10
Plot summary: Days before his restaurant is due to open, Larry injures an influential restaurant critic, fires his chef for wearing a toupee away from work, and hires a replacement who has Tourette syndrome.
Episode MVP: Jeff, almost solely for the inspired, out-of-nowhere “grandma” in “Cock! Cock! Jizm! Grandma! COCK!”
Best Larryism: “Guy couldn’t get dates, he takes it out on the rest of the world. I couldn’t get dates, you don’t see me taking it out on anybody.” —Lindbergh
37. “The Pickle Gambit”
Season 9, Episode 2
Plot summary: While hiding out at a hotel under the alias “Buck Dancer” in an attempt to avoid the fatwa placed on him, Larry meets a prostitute, who he gives some helpful life advice to. He returns home, where Marty shows up with his nephew Kenny, an ace pitcher up for a free ride at Stanford and “the jewel of the Funkhouser family tree.” Unfortunately, there’s a mishap with a pickle jar, and Kenny breaks his pitching arm. (It’s also his “ejaculator,” and now the kid can’t relieve stress.) Larry visits his old Palestinian paramour, Shara, for help with the fatwa. Turns out she’s done a little “plotting” and has ties to the Iranian consul. Larry’s able to set up a video call that could get the fatwa removed, but he schedules it for the same time he’s arranged for his sex worker pal to help Kenny out with his, um, problem. The noises from the bedroom trigger Larry’s new fatwa security, Swat, which ruins the call with the consul.
Episode MVP: Leon, who briefly assumes the name “Chappie Johnson” and says to Larry, “I’m not even going to bring up the fact you’re fucking in your goddamn glasses,” after Swat breaks into the bedroom while Larry’s committing a little sacrilege with Shara.
Best Larryism: “Everybody wants to be a pickle jar hero.” —Sayles
36. “The Nanny From Hell”
Season 3, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry attends a fellow restaurant investor’s pool party, where—with the help of the resident nanny (Cheri Oteri)—he circumvents party rules to use the main house’s bathroom. He also, at some point, happens to notice the remarkable endowments of the host’s young son, and being Larry, he later shares these observations with the host in an attempt to bond. The relationship is ruined, so Larry is not able to help the nanny when she gets fired for letting him use the house bathroom. There are also subplots about sponge cake and whether Richard Lewis invented the expression “__ from hell.”
Episode MVP: Lewis, who communicates the deep, quiet shame that comes with having invented the phrase “__ from hell” and getting no credit for it.
Best Larryism: “For some reason, I had a side dish of applesauce, and I have to tell you, it was really fantastic. It was so tasty, and I’m thinking, they never serve applesauce in restaurants. … We should consider it.” —Dobbins
35. “Chet’s Shirt”
Season 3, Episode 1
Plot summary: Larry admires a shirt from a photograph of his dead friend Chet and buys his own. Ted Danson, who is investing in a restaurant with Larry, admires the shirt, too; Larry buys him one, but the gifted shirt has a hole, which leads to some Wizard of Oz–related problems with Ted. Larry also gets his two front teeth knocked out, which is problematic for the usual reasons, and also because he recently snubbed his dentist.
Episode MVP: Mean Ted Danson! Never give Ted Danson a shirt with a hole in it.
Best Larryism: “I don’t like talking to people I know, but strangers I have no problem with.” —Dobbins
34. “You’re Not Going to Get Me to Say Anything Bad About Mickey”
Season 10, Episode 4
Plot summary: Everyone takes a private plane to Cabo for Mickey’s wedding but won’t give their weights to the pilot, forcing Larry to ditch his luggage during an emergency landing and turn to a carnival barker for the answers. Larry uses Cheryl’s toothbrush at the hotel, raising (and eventually confirming) Ted’s suspicions.
Episode MVP: Larry, for his work asking the hotel concierge about the carnival (“Is it fun?!”), and for showing up at the wedding in a white suit and fedora, prompting Jeff to ask, “Are you our man in Havana?”
Best Larryism: “Listen, I don’t know if you’re yo-ing up or yo-ing down, but … you’re definitely yo-ing.” —Verrier
33. “Beloved Aunt”
Season 1, Episode 8
Plot summary: Larry hosts Cheryl’s family for the funeral of her Aunt Louise. They quickly turn against him after an obituary he submitted to the newspaper prints with the typo “devoted sister, beloved cunt” and Cheryl’s sister, Becky, learns that Larry offered her boyfriend breakup advice. After a lot of soul-searching over the labor of gift-wrapping, Larry arrives at Jeff’s house with a birthday present for his mother, a pair of Elizabeth Taylor–esque sunglasses. He’s quickly exiled after accidentally brushing up against her bosom. Larry’s final attempt at shelter backfires, after he fails to usurp the hotel room of Becky’s ex. He spends the night in a parked car, with nothing but the sunglasses for comfort.
Episode MVP: Jeff’s mother, for her steadfast suspicion that Larry purposefully tried to feel her up.
Best Larryism: [On Aunt Louise’s suicide.] “Would it have killed her to leave a note?” —Bereznak
32. “The Bi-Sexual”
Season 8, Episode 7
Episode Summary: Larry gets into a romantic competition with Rosie O’Donnell over a bisexual woman (Amy Landecker). Intimidated by going up against a lesbian, Larry begins taking Viagra, which allows the episode to morph into an allegory about Major League Baseball’s steroids scandal. In the middle of all of this, Larry confronts a Japanese restaurant employee, whom he believes has given him a “shit bow” as an apology.
Episode MVP: J.B. Smoove’s Leon, who makes his first appearance in New York City in this episode after he drives Larry’s Prius across the country. “Why didn’t you fly?” Larry asks Leon. “I don’t fly, baby,” Leon responds. “You gotta have a photo ID for that, know what I’m saying? Fuck that.” He says this immediately after parking a car.
Best Larryism: “What is that—they have to have sex with everyone? Half the population isn’t enough for them? They want everybody? So selfish.” —Gruttadaro
Season 9, Episode 1
Plot summary: In Larry David’s long-awaited return to TV, LD starts production on his musical about Salman Rushdie (which immediately draws the ire of the ayatollah) and offends Jeff’s barber when he doesn’t hold the door for her (“Type plus distance equals no door hold”). But the episode’s title comes from Larry’s attempt to pass his bad assistant—who was passed on to him by Jimmy Kimmel—on to Susie.
Episode MVP: Larry is on fire in this episode, and clearly happy to be back on the air, but—and this is the case with so many episodes of Curb—Leon’s efficiency rating is off the charts here. His introduction of “lamping” to LD; his sniffing out Kimmel’s foisting; his list of things he’s done while constipated (ran a 5K, won a hot-dog eating contest; shot a porno). Art.
Best Larryism: When assessing the death of Richard Lewis’s pet: “It’s a dead parakeet, that’s a funny thing.” —Gruttadaro
30. “The Terrorist Attack”
Season 3, Episode 5
Plot summary: After Larry is rude to Paul Reiser’s wife at a restaurant, he attempts to make up for it by letting her in on some primo intel: that a terrorist attack is planned for L.A., per Wanda Sykes’s brother’s best friend. Unfortunately, Mindy Reiser shares the secret all over town, causing the postponement of a fundraiser featuring Alanis Morissette and alienating Larry from all the friends and acquaintances whom he didn’t tell. When Larry calls out a friend who always disappears to the “little fat boy’s room” right before the dinner check comes, he triggers a rage that results in Alanis performing in a neck brace—though not before she confides in him about who “Mr. Duplicity” is.
Episode MVP: Larry. It’s so satisfying when he calls out the check-evader, his attempt to imitate the Jiminy Glick voice is a delight, and he gets the dirt from Alanis. Also, in later Curb seasons, this episode could never happen because Larry would never feel bad enough about snubbing Mindy Reiser to set off the episode’s sequence of events. All hail early-era, conscience-having Larry David, a true relic!
Best Larryism: “You think I don’t know about that bathroom trick? I invented that bathroom trick!” —Baker
29. “Club Soda and Salt”
Season 3, Episode 3
Plot summary: Larry gets jealous of Cheryl’s new tennis partner, Brad (Josh Temple), and attempts to find a new chef for his restaurant.
Episode MVP: Brad, who gets a little too in-character at his performance of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding.
Best Larryism: “It sounds like pigs fighting” is a perfectly Larry thing to say to Cheryl in the midst of an otherwise pleasant game of tennis. —McNear
28. “The Bracelet”
Season 1, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry promises to buy Cheryl a diamond bracelet. He does not end up buying Cheryl a diamond bracelet, although he does go on a walkabout with Richard Lewis and alienate a service-industry employee.
Episode MVP: On their stroll, Larry and Richard encounter a blind man (Patrick Kerr) who asks if they can help him move furniture. The blind man convinces Larry and Richard to unpack and arrange his entire apartment, and is thus automatic MVP for being the rare stranger Larry meets who manages to get the best of him without Larry first provoking him.
Best Larryism: “How can you say ‘blind man’ in front of a blind man?” —Knibbs
27. “The 5 Wood”
Season 4, Episode 5
Plot summary: Larry makes progress in his rehearsals for The Producers, and he assumes the affectations of his gay choreographer. He also complains about the number of cashews that appear in the packaging of his costar’s father’s nuts and raisins snack brand. When a friend’s father dies, he makes an inappropriate swap of a personal effect at the funeral, which leads to his ejection from their club. Later, a dog bites Larry’s penis. This is a strange, magical episode.
Episode MVP: Paul Mazursky, the sage-like writer-director, who guests as Norm, the man who inspires Larry’s rejection from his country club.
Best Larryism: “A dog, uh … a dog … [muffled] bit my penis.” —Fennessey
26. “The Christ Nail”
Season 5, Episode 3
Plot summary: The orthotic inserts Larry gets for his shoes may provide him physical relief, but they are painful to everyone around him—from young, innocent Sammi, whose belief in the tooth fairy is shattered by the “fakakta shoes,” to Cheryl’s parents, who lose sleep over the obnoxious squeak. When Cheryl asks Larry to fire their housekeeper because she doesn’t wear a bra, he decides to buy one (with some unwitting sizing help from Susie) because he can’t imagine a life without Maria’s chicken salad. Both a visit from Larry’s father and Larry’s life itself are saved by a symbolic nail—but Larry’s biggest faith awakening comes when he finds a five-spot beneath his pillow.
Episode MVP: This episode is a true Susie tour de force. Not only does she look fantastic in a bright, high-ponytailed getup that is Pucci meets I Dream of Jeannie, she tells Larry that “you don’t know child psychology”; that her family’s tooth fairy strategy is “not your business, Larry, you misanthropic moron”; that he was caught bra-handed “mincing around”; and that he is a “sick fuck pervert.” (Bonus points for asking Cheryl’s dad, with a mix of confusion and disgust: “Why’d ya have a nail around your neck?!”)
Best Larryism: “There is no fucking tooth fairy, and it’s about time she learned that!” —Baker
25. “Emily, Margaret and Larry”
Season 10, Episode 8
Plot summary: This is an episode about the dark side of appreciation, whether the word is referring to real estate values or passive-aggressive gratitude. When Larry finds out that Cheryl’s sister Becky (played with sloppy day-drinking abandon by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson) plans to sell the house he bought her and keep the appreciated value, he heads over to get his money back—but gets laid instead. When Larry agrees to let Jon Hamm shadow him as research for a Larry-based role Hamm will be playing, he also goes on a rant about the presumptuousness of telling someone that you “would appreciate it.” Meanwhile, Leon hatches a business plan for a “pee Amazon.”
Episode MVP: The loathsome twosome of Larry and his Method-man protégé, Jon Hamm, earn co-MVP honors for their glasses-wearing, chair-jostling, newsstand-abandoning, shit-talking mind meld. Hamm’s embodiment of Larry’s being is so on the money that even Cheryl winds up repulsed.
Best Larryism: “A bleeding … rectum.” Damn near killed me. —Baker
24. “The Group”
Season 1, Episode 10
Plot summary: Larry runs into an ex-girlfriend, who convinces him to come with her to an incest survivors’ group. The group’s anonymity policy is tested when one of its members turns out to be directing Cheryl in a play.
Episode MVP: Cheryl, for snagging that coveted role in The Vagina Monologues. Go, Cheryl!
Best Larryism: [Musing.] “If they took all the pillows away, if there were no more pillows in the world, you think that would affect you adversely? You think you would notice it? You think it would bother you, like throughout the day, ‘Oh, there’s no pillows on this couch.’ I know at night—it would have an effect at night.” —Zoladz
23. “Kamikaze Bingo”
Season 5, Episode 4
Plot summary: Larry inadvertently causes a suicide attempt by questioning a former kamikaze pilot’s son about his father’s survival, then alienates the residents of his own father’s nursing home by impugning the integrity of their bingo game and appearing to threaten his nursing-home nemesis.
Best Larryism: “Excuse me for having a curious mind that asks questions of people.” —Lindbergh
22. “The Anonymous Donor”
Season 6, Episode 2
Plot summary: Larry is upstaged by Ted Danson’s quasi-anonymous donation, Leon gets unfairly linked to Jeff’s clandestine semen, and Larry tries to repeal the unwritten rules of dry cleaning.
Episode MVP: Leon, in his first Curb appearance. This is an ensemble episode with strong contributions from Jeff, Susie, Cheryl, and Danson, but Leon really brings the ruckus.
Best Larryism: “The flirtatious tap. That’s like sex for platonic friends.” —Lindbergh
21. “The Accidental Text on Purpose”
Season 9, Episode 6
Plot summary: Larry comes up with an idea that will help his friends who are in tough spots with their significant others: the accidental text on purpose, in which a person intentionally sends a message that reads like it should’ve gone to someone else. So when Funkhouser gets dumped by his new girlfriend after Larry insulted the taste of her drinking water, Funkhouser sends her a message that appears to be for LD tearing him a new one. It works—until Susie blows up the entire plan. Elsewhere, Richard Lewis learns the dangers of a “premature honey” and Larry learns the dangers of watching a Sophia Loren video while someone is helping him try on pants.
Episode MVP: Funkhouser’s caving after Marilyn drills him on whether he likes the taste of her water is an all-timer. The highlight: “It’s like I took a straw and put it in a frog’s ass.”
Best Larryism: “At this point in our lives, it’s not so easy to find people to have sex with us,” after Marty informs him he’s choosing her over Larry. —Sayles
20. “The Black Swan”
Season 7, Episode 7
Plot summary: After Larry’s cousin Andy’s breakfast takes forever to arrive because he insists on ordering crispy onions, LD and his foursome get stuck behind Norm, the slowest golfer at the country club. On the course, Larry confronts Norm, which leads to the man having a fatal heart attack. The next day, on the same hole, Larry is attacked by a black swan—the club owner’s prized pet—and kills it in self-defense. Larry, Jeff, Funkhouser, and Andy hide the dead swan in the woods, and spend the rest of the episode trying (and failing) to keep their crime under wraps.
Episode MVP: Funkhouser, for the way he looks at Andy during the drawn-out breakfast and says, “Will you please finish shoveling that shit into your face?” and for telling Larry, after Norm dies: “Look, it may have been an accident but you’re a murderer.”
Best Larryism: “It’s a pointless and useless social convention, to introduce everyone you know.” —Gruttadaro
19. “The Table Read”
Season 7, Episode 9
Plot summary: For fans of both Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld, this episode is a dream come true—we get to see the entire cast of Seinfeld go through a table read in the improv-centered world of Curb. Off the bat you can sense this episode will be one to remember, especially when Stacey tells Larry that her 9-year-old daughter has a “rash on her pussy.” There’s just so many good bits in this episode that it’s hard to keep up: Jason Alexander jawing over a borrowed pen, Funkhouser crashing the table read, NEWWWWMANNN, and Leon pretending to be Danny Duberstein. But the shining moment of the episode comes when the show references Michael Richards’s racist rant in a truly self-aware meltdown.
Episode MVP: Leon, as Danny Duberstein, delivers one of the best performances in his run on Curb Your Enthusiasm. “I Danny Duberstein’d the fuck out of that man in that room,” is an all-time classic line.
Best Larryism: [Asked by a doctor if he might know how he got a rash.] “You know, the only thing I can think of, is, that I’ve been seeing this 9-year-old girl and she kinda has a rash on her pussy.” —Yoo
18. “Trick or Treat”
Season 2, Episode 3
Plot summary: When a friend claims that his grandfather created the Cobb salad, Larry sends his assistant on a fact-finding mission. It’s also Halloween, and Larry goes to war with the father of a teenager who TP’ed his house and spray-painted “BALD ASSHOLE” on his front door after he refused to give her candy. Although, to be fair, Larry was already at war with this man, because he had chastised Larry for whistling Wagner as a Jew.
Episode MVP: Larry David, not only because of the delight he takes in correcting his friend about the origins of the Cobb salad, but because he pulls a move for Cheryl’s birthday—hiring an orchestra to play inside their home—that Kanye West would literally go on to copy.
Best Larryism: “I do hate myself, but it has nothing to do with being Jewish, OK?” —Gruttadaro
17. “Interior Decorator”
Season 1, Episode 5
Plot summary: Because of the first-come-first-served policy at his doctor’s office, Larry misses an important meeting with Diane Keaton. When he finally gets invited back to Diane’s house, he runs into the interior decorator who he’s just fired and is—surprise!—very awkwardly insulted.
Episode MVP: Marissa Winokur, the rival patient with whom Larry has a knock-down, drag-out race to the waiting room. (Also, the disembodied voice of Diane Keaton.)
Best Larryism: “Boo on earth tone, that is so passé. I’m a pastel man.” —Zoladz
16. “Vow of Silence”
Season 8, Episode 5
Plot summary: This convoluted episode involving Larry’s repeated encounters—and inability to communicate—with a man named Vance who has taken the titular, spiritual vow of silence, is largely an on-ramp to one of the show’s quintessential moments: the chat-and-cut.
Episode MVP: Michael Hitchcock, who plays Vance. His wordless, bug-eyed performance threads the episode.
Best Larryism: There is only one answer: “You see what’s going on over here? She’s doing a chat-and-cut. She’s feigning familiarity with someone she vaguely knows for the sole purpose of cutting in line.” —Fennessey
15. “The Benadryl Brownie”
Season 3, Episode 2
Plot summary: When Larry buys his first cellphone (at a Cingular store!), a dropped connection leads to a mix-up in which Richard Lewis’s new Christian Scientist girlfriend is fed peanut products despite being highly allergic. Per her religion, she can’t take any medicine for it, forcing Richard to bring her to the Emmys with a face looking like “turnips and blood.” Meanwhile, Larry is forced to to fire the cable guy because his five-remote entertainment system never works, he briefly joins a prayer circle, and his attempt to butter up Susie in order to reverse-poison Richard Lewis’s girlfriend is a complete failure.
Episode MVP: Susie, who thoughtfully honors the memory of her grandmother by refusing to give up her secret brownie recipe, foiling Larry and Richard’s plan, and who correctly accuses her husband of “[stealing] brownies out of the mouth of his baby.”
Best Larryism: “It’s a good idea ’cause if it works, she thinks the prayer did it.” —Baker
14. “The Corpse-Sniffing Dog”
Season 3, Episode 7
Plot summary: Faced with a choice between her German shepherd and her father, Jeff, Sammi picks the dog (who may or may not smell a rotting corpse under the floor of Larry’s new restaurant, by the way). Larry is called in to try to sway her the other way, and he does, but only because she’s so susceptible after Larry accidentally serves her wine instead of grape juice. After this flawed negotiation is uncovered, Larry has to retrieve the dog from the couple he gave it to. He doesn’t mind though, because he’s feuding with the wife after the two got into an argument when Larry refused to thank her after her husband paid for dinner. (“You can call it your money, but for the sake of discussion, he’s the one who goes to work and earns the money!”)
Episode MVP: Sammi—because she straight-up chooses a dog over her father like a savage, and because a then-10-year-old Ashly Holloway plays a pretty convincing drunk.
Best Larryism: “It’s nice to be affectionate to something German; you don’t get the opportunity that often.” —Gruttadaro
13. “The Doll”
Season 2, Episode 7
Plot summary: In a classic Curb sequence of misunderstandings, Larry gets branded as a sexual deviant and possible pedophile after trimming the hair of a little girl’s doll (it was at the girl’s request) and getting caught in compromising positions inside unlocked bathrooms.
Episode MVP: Susie, for both screaming and, even more menacingly, silently mouthing “four-eyed fuck”; and for ordering the doll-beheading duo of Larry and Jeff to “Get me the head” as imperiously as Cersei putting a bounty on Tyrion.
Best Larryism: “What’s the difference between Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Tubman?” might be the best moment, although “Divorce? Is it a divorce?” is the perfect way for married couples to defuse any argument. —Lindbergh
12. “Happy New Year”
Season 10, Episode 1
Plot summary: In one of Curb’s busiest, most intricately constructed episodes, Larry sets up a season’s worth of ongoing story lines (his “spite store” feud with Mocha Joe, his post-divorce affair with Cheryl, and his #MeToo-type missteps) while still finding time for a few great gags that tie up neatly by the end of the episode, including the concept of the belated “Happy New Year,” talcum powder poisoning, the scourge of wobbly tables, and Larry’s policing of pregnant Randi. The Season 10 premiere is a true ensemble effort, too, giving ample time and classic lines to Leon, Susie, Richard Lewis, and Jeff (who’s repeatedly mistaken for Harvey Weinstein).
Episode MVP: Larry. He works for his award by donning a MAGA hat and a Weinstein-ian bathrobe, twice displaying his nose-first, goose-like coffee temperature test, dramatically vowing to exact vengeance, casually vandalizing scooters and a selfie stick, and giving us “the big goodbye.”
Best Larryism: “I don’t feel that way with people—I feel morally inferior to people—but I feel that way with animals, because they’re generally so stupid. Especially insects, because I can crush them. And they eat each other. I mean, they’re crazy, animals. So, yeah, I feel smarter and morally superior to them.” —Lindbergh
11. “The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial”
Season 6, Episode 3
Plot summary: After Marty Funkhouser’s mother dies, Larry steals a trio of bouquets from her roadside memorial to apologize to a local school headmaster he’d offended by criticizing her frozen yogurt sampling etiquette, as well as to earn some bedroom time with Cheryl.
Episode MVP: Jeff, brought to a rare moment of rage by Larry. “You have ruined my life! You have ruined my life! I have to live with this now!” he screams at Larry after realizing he’ll be going home with a furious Susie. “You hear that? I am fucked! And you fucked me! Hard!”
Best Larryism: “You’re a little too old to be an orphan,” Larry tells his twice-bereaved friend, shortly before he dubs him “little orphan Funkhouser.” —McNear
10. “The Shrimp Incident”
Season 2, Episode 4
Plot summary: In an oblique callback to a legendary episode of Seinfeld, a Chinese restaurant mix-up that links him with HBO president Allan Wasserman complicates Larry’s ability to pitch a show to the network with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Episode MVP: Louis-Dreyfus, who, in a pre-Veep turn, portrays a semi-satirical version of herself, blithely desperate to get a show of her own on HBO. “I wanna be able to say ‘fuck.’ And ‘cocksucker,’” she says to Larry at one point. Eleven years later, she would.
Best Larryism: Larry inexplicably singing the theme song to Rawhide is meaningfully weird. This was an actualizing moment for me. I do weird stuff like sing the theme song to Rawhide for no reason, too. —Fennessey
9. “The Special Section”
Season 3, Episode 6
Plot summary: After Larry’s mother dies, he realizes how perfect of an excuse it is to get out of social engagements. In the cemetery, Larry learns that his mother was buried in the titular special section—a place for “villains, suicides, and gentiles from mixed marriages”—because she and his father got tattoos on their butts. He hatches a plan to move her in the night.
Episode MVP: Larry’s father, Nat, for the unbelievably funny scene in which he explains that he didn’t tell Larry about his mother dying because “she didn’t want me to bother you.”
Best Larryism: “Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m deaf, and I try to imagine what it would be like not to be able to hear [birds chirping] … it’s not so bad.” —Gruttadaro
Season 7, Episode 10
Plot summary: As Larry and the Seinfeld cast prepare for the upcoming reunion show, Larry also feuds with the set’s coffee caterer and frets over Cheryl’s friendship with Jason Alexander.
Episode MVP: It has to be Larry. In the most Curb twist possible, he finally gets what he has been longing for all season—an opportunity to reunite with his estranged wife—and he immediately loses sight of it because of a petty quest to discover who disrespected Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s antique wood table. He also does the greatest bad George Costanza impression of all time.
Best Larryism: “Do you respect wood?” —Knibbs
7. “Porno Gil”
Season 1, Episode 3
Plot summary: After accidentally calling him when he was trying to reach someone else, Larry is invited to a party at the house of his old golfing pal Gil. Except it turns out to be an intimate dinner party, to which Larry and Cheryl are humiliatingly late, and then Larry ruins the night when he insults the hostess by refusing to take off his shoes.
Episode MVP: Ex-porn star and current tiny-bottle collector Gil, played resplendently by a fresh-faced post–Mr. Show Bob Odenkirk, and who at one point regales his dinner guests with an unforgettable story about porn’s on-set secret weapon: Tabasco Sauce.
Best Larryism: [To his wife.] “So what’s the level of anger here, what am I dealing with? An 8.7? That’s not that bad. I thought it would be like a 9. So how do I get to a 7, any way to get to a 7? I know we can’t get to a 6, that’s out of the question, but a 7? We could have a very decent ride home with a 7. And I’ll tell ya what, if we ride home as a 7, as soon as we get home, you can go right back to an 8.” —Zoladz
6. “Palestinian Chicken”
Season 8, Episode 3
Plot summary: Throughout eight seasons of Curb, Larry has always thrived in situations where he calls out annoying and sometimes detestable actions from members of society. In this exceptional episode, Larry’s superhero-like ability is celebrated and exploited; he is officially dubbed a “social assassin.” In true Larry fashion, it all blows up in his face. However, the meat of this episode comes from Larry’s love of Al-Abbas, a Palestinian chicken restaurant that is draped with anti-Israel posters. Larry’s loyalties are tested: Does he stay with his friends and his culture, or does he continue to eat delicious chicken and make love to a beautiful Palestinian woman? The episode ends with Larry caught between those two choices, and perhaps the most-used GIF in Curb history.
Episode MVP: I should pick the chicken, but I must go with Larry. He proudly took up the mantle of “social assassin” and gave us the perfect encapsulation of indecision.
Best Larryism: “You’re always attracted to someone who doesn’t want you. Well, here you have someone who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t even acknowledge your right to exist, who wants your destruction. That’s a turn-on.” —Yoo
5. “The Rat Dog”
Season 6, Episode 6
Plot summary: Larry gets himself into trouble with a deaf woman after he comments on the sickly small size of her dog. When he tries to make it up to her, of course he only makes things worse. First, he accidentally calls her husband, Hal (Tim Meadows), a “cocksucker” using ASL; then a case of mistaken cellphone identity results in Leon insulting Hal; and it all culminates at a school play, where the exterminator Larry invited along kills the woman’s dog after assuming it was a rat.
Episode MVP: Leon, for the aforementioned phone call in which he proclaims, “Black man doin’ his thang, baby—Barack Obama, motherfucker!” And for the amazing scene in which Larry explains the concept of turning an interview around on an interviewee by asking them questions, and Leon’s first hypothetical question is inexplicably, “Why you ain’t got no credit cards? You got no credit cards at all?”
Best Larryism: “You can’t pause toast.” —Gruttadaro
4. “Mister Softee”
Season 8, Episode 9
Plot summary: The Mister Softee song triggers traumatic childhood recollections for Larry, a bumpy passenger seat in Larry’s car cuckolds him, Leon discovers the door-opening power of a pair of glasses, and Bill Buckner finds redemption.
Episode MVP: Larry’s loose-lipped therapist (Fred Melamed), narrowly beating out overenthusiastic softball sponsor Yari’s profane pregame speech, Leon’s “Man cannot compete with machinery,” and Larry’s horror at sitting next to Susie while she gets off on his car.
Best Larryism: “I learned a very valuable lesson today.” “What did you learn?” “I’d rather keep it to myself.” —Lindbergh
3. “The Car Pool Lane”
Season 4, Episode 6
Plot summary: Larry, desperate to see the Dodgers play, tries unsuccessfully to guilt Marty Funkhouser, who is mourning the recent death of his father, into giving his tickets to him and Jeff. Marty refuses, and Larry happens into tickets of his own. When Jeff bails at the last minute, Larry picks up a prostitute named Monena (Kym Whitley) so that he can use the carpool lane.
Episode MVP: This is a runaway for Monena, who does not so much have a heart of gold as copious amounts of marijuana, high standards for Dodgers games, and ironclad confidence in her blowjob prowess: “I got a red snapper that talks to ya,” in her immortal words.
Best Larryism: “Why don’t you ask your dad?” is a classic, as Larry implores the grieving Funkhouser, who’d saved an empty seat at Dodger Stadium to honor his father, to ask the empty space beside him for help jump-starting his car. But I prefer an earlier line. As Larry and Jeff not so subtly try to feel Funkhouser out for Dodgers tickets early on, they follow him to a restaurant he used to visit with his dad. Larry makes a half-hearted attempt at earnestness by asking Funkhouser what he recommends ordering; when Funkhouser, too despondent to eat, recommends the turkey, Larry can’t stop himself from smirking as he gears up for his Dodgers gambit. “Little turkey action today?” Larry exclaims about 100 times too enthusiastically. “Turkey today!” Needless to say, it doesn’t work. —McNear
2. “Krazee-Eyez Killa”
Season 3, Episode 8
Plot summary: When Wanda Sykes breaks off her engagement with her philandering rapper fiancé, Krazee-Eyez Killa (Chris Williams), Larry takes the blame for allegedly betraying Krazee-Eyez’s confidence.
Episode MVP: Krazee-Eyez, not only for his performance in this episode, but for providing a proof of concept for Larry’s later rapport with Leon.
Best Larryism: “Are you my Caucasian?” —Lindbergh
1. “The Freak Book”
Season 6, Episode 5
Plot summary: Larry gifts Ted Danson a coffee-table book called Mondo Freaks at his birthday celebration. Danson kicks Larry out of the party after the limo driver that he had guilted Danson into letting inside gets drunk, breaks a vase, and gropes Mary Steenburgen. The following day, Charlie the drunk chauffeur convinces Larry to pose as him and pick up an important client from the airport. A string of tense, calamitous encounters follow, as Larry tussles with, among other people, a group of random mourners, Paul McCartney’s ex Heather Mills, and tennis legend John McEnroe.
Episode MVP: The Mondo Freaks book takes the cake here. Larry roaring in amusement over it—first by himself, then with Jeff, then with John McEnroe—is some of the funniest stuff Curb has ever done. “Oh! Three legs! What is that?!”
Best Larryism: “It makes me uncomfortable seeing a guy like that stand there and have to wear a bow tie all night.” —Coley
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.