One of the best comedies of the 21st century, Curb Your Enthusiasm ended its 12-season run last Sunday night on HBO.  The misadventures of the misanthropic Larry David delivered plenty of laughs over the past 24 years, with episodes so brilliantly crafted that they deserve multiple viewings on their own.  

The first time I watched the series was the season 6 premiere, “Meet the Blacks,” when Larry and Cheryl take in a family affected by a hurricane.  I saw it with my roommates in our dorm, and I was hooked from that moment on. 

With the series taking its final bow (Maybe. David has said this before about the series), I thought I’d share with you my sixteen favorite episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  These are my go-to episodes whenever I get the urge to watch the show, and ones I recommend to anyone who’s never seen the series.

So I don’t get into the weeds with plot elements, the first paragraph for each episode will be the short plot blurb from the Max app, followed by my commentary.

Let’s begin!

“The Bracelet” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Larry is continually thwarted in his effort to buy a bracelet as a peace-making gift for Cheryl.

Commentary:  One of my favorite Larry David/Richard Lewis episodes where the conflict escalates to a fever pitch as the story unfolds.  This was the first episode I watched again upon hearing about Richard Lewis’s passing.  Comedy gold.

“The Car Salesman” (Season 2, Episode 1)

Larry shocks everyone by taking a job as a car salesman.

Commentary:  I love this episode.  Larry watching Maury at the beginning is hilarious, and Larry attempting to sell cars is great.  We get another fun bit with Richard Lewis and Larry at the car dealership and keep an eye out for the actor who would go on to play Mr. Takahashi as one of Larry’s potential customers.

“Thor” (Season 2, Episode 2)

Larry seeks revenge against pro wrestler Thor Olson, who he believes slashed his tire after an incident.

Commentary:  Anytime Larry is put in awkward situations, he’s great, and this episode is no exception.  When his tire goes flat, the montage of him attempting to get someone to help him change the tire is hilarious, as is his meeting with Jason Alexander.

The series is a master class in comedic set-ups and pay-offs, and this episode has a subtle but effective one involving Wanda Sykes, a red light camera, and Jeff’s mother.

“The Doll” (Season 2, Episode 7)

The daughter of a TV exec gets Larry to cut the hair off her beloved doll–and then throws a fit.

Commentary: This episode has so many cringeworthy moments that it’s hard to pick my favorite one. Larry can’t seem to get out of his own way throughout the episode, and the whole sequence of Larry and Jeff attempting to replace the damaged doll—especially once Susie catches on—is excellently done.

“The Grand Opening” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Larry figures out a way to fire a chef and alienate an important restaurant critic.

Commentary: Larry saves the day for once in this wonderful episode. The whole season has been leading up to the opening night of a restaurant Larry has invested in. With all the problems that have popped up over the past nine episodes, this solid entry ties everything together and delivers one of my favorite Curb finales.

“The Carpool Lane” (Season 4, Episode 6)

Larry finds an innovative way to use the HOV lane to get to a Dodgers game.

Commentary:  Probably the most well-known episode since footage helped exonerate a man accused of murder, “The Carpool Lane” easily is one of my top three favorite episodes.  So many great moments that tie into other storylines from earlier episodes and help set things up for future episodes.  The actress who plays the hooker, Monena (Kym Whitley), deserved to be in one more episode aside from her brief appearance in season 9). 

“The Bowtie” (Season 5, Episode 2)

Larry hires a private investigator to uncover a personal secret and adopts a “racist” dog.

Commentary: This is another great episode in which Larry keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into socially awkward territory with the lesbian and black community. This episode has so many great moments that escalate at a fever pitch until the final moments. And anytime Larry and Wanda Sykes share a scene, it’s magical (see Season 4, Episode 7, “The Surrogate” for another classic Larry/Wanda interaction).

“The N Word” (Season 6, Episode 8)

Larry tries to do Auntie Rae a favor, but ends up offending her.  Jeff’s hospital stay opens a door for Larry.

Commentary: Easily one of the most comedically nuanced episodes of the series, this “The N Word” has so much going on and so many interwoven story elements that it takes a second viewing to catch everything that’s brilliantly presented here.  Once again, Larry can’t get out of his own way, leading to more chaos throughout the episode.  

Eight down, eight to go.  We’ll see what other Curb episodes made my list next time!

What’s your favorite Curb episode, season, or moment?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Enjoy the show’s theme below:

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