Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Season 12 premiere or streamed with a Max subscription, so be pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty warned.
When it was revealed that Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 12 would be real-life Larry David’s final run through society’s gauntlet as fictional Larry David, it seemed like a cruel joke spread by Susie Greene. Sadly, the long-running HBO cringefest is indeed wrapping up in the coming months, having outlasted David’s previous hit Seinfeld by three seasons. Speaking of, it seems as if Curb Your Enthusiasm is echoing Seinfeld once more with its swan song, this time concerning its infamous series finale.
At least that’s how I felt after watching the Jimmy Kimmel-infused season premiere, which delightfully brought back both Keyla Monterroso Mejia’s terrible-actress-turned-megastar Maria Sofia and Tracey Ullman’s Irma Kostroski, who can unnerve Larry like no other. They weren’t so much a direct part of my argument here, but are worth celebrating all the same. Let’s get into why the premiere felt like a direct echo of “The Finale,” which is seemingly at the top of no one's lists of the best Seinfeld episodes.
Both Start With Good News And Success For The Main Characters' TV Projects
The final season of Curb kicks off in a world where the semi-autobiographical sitcom Young Larry inexplicably became a huge hit, which near-instantly granted Maria Sofia household celebrity status. She’s popular enough that, possibly in the same week, she was booked for late night TV and also a rich dude’s birthday party in Atlanta. (You know, that classic benchmark of fame.)
Seinfeld didn’t quite take things that far, but its two-part finale kicked off with NBC giving Jerry and George’s pilot Jerry a series order. And it’s while on the trip to celebrate the news that everything went awry.
Both Seinfeld And Curb Have Characters Getting Into Trouble While Traveling
It’s during the aforementioned trip to Atlanta where Larry’s troubles with the law happen, putting him in a situation where he’s not so familiar with his surroundings. Georgia and California are opposite sides of different coins, which may not bode well for him. As if anything does.
Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer found themselves in the unfamiliar berg of Latham, MA after their flight made an emergency landing. While not as far away from their familiar New York City neighborhoods as Curb’s cross-country distance, the quartet might as well have been on Mars.
Returning Characters From The Past
While Seinfeld's final episode may be one of the most polarizing sitcom offerings ever created, its most inarguable delight was the fantastic assortment of side characters who returned to help bring karma-laced doom to Jerry & Co.
Given that only Curb Your Enthusiasm's premiere has aired, it's understandable that Larry David and co-creator Jeff Schaffer didn't trot out dozens of Larry's victims, so to speak. But "Atlanta" did bring back Ellia English as Leon's Auntie Rae, who was a show fixture back in Season 6 when the whole Black family was present. I can only expect to see more familiar faces, with Vivica A. Fox hopefully among them.
Seinfeld Characters Arrested For Law Against Not Doing Good, Larry Arrested For Law Against Doing Good
The twist of satirical irony that befell Jerry's crew in Seinfeld was that their choice not to help the victim of a nearby carjacking made them guilty under the rarely enforced "Good Samaritan" law requiring bystanders to offer others assistance.
Curb Your Enthusiasum seemed to spin that concept on its head in the Season 12 premiere, as it was Larry's empathetic attempt to soothe the overheated Auntie Rae by bringing her a bottle of water as she waited in line to vote. That act is what causes the cops to scoop him up, as it's illegal in Georgia to offer just about anything to someone waiting to vote.
Both Were Written (At Least In Part) By Larry David
Following Seinfeld's popular and acclaimed seventh season, Larry David surprisingly exited his role as head writer, though he later returned specifically to pen the final episode's antics. So he's more or less the target of all the complaints the finale received over the years, making him the opportune creative to deconstruct Seinfeld's conclusion in whichever way he chooses.
Meanwhile, it's not really any big surprise that David also co-wrote the first episode of Curb's final season with Jeff Schaffer, since they handle the bulk of the improv-provoking plotting in each season, give or take a few other writers' assistance. But the point remains, if he wasn't behind the story arcs on the HBO series, or he wasn't the one who returned after nearly two seasons to close out Seinfeld, then it wouldn't be very meaningful for the current comedy to nod back to "The Finale" for any reason.
This May Have Already Been Hinted At By Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld teased back in October 2023 that "something" would be happening with Seinfeld's finale, but he kept it completely vague as to what he might be referring to. At the time, it seemed possible that anything from a reunion special to a Super Bowl commercial might happen, but it would be a fantastic turn of events if the stand-up comedian was actually talking about Curb Your Enthusiasm's final eason at the time. Whether or not this ends up panning out, I can't deny loving how much time I spent speculating about this. Thanks, Lar - sorry- Larry.
Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sunday nights on HBO at 10:00 p.m. ET, and is available to stream on Max.