Larry David behind a desk
[Photo: HBO]

It didn’t take long to find out what Larry David has been up to in the six years between season 8 and season 9 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. In the world of “Curb”, the “Seinfeld” co-creator has spent this time working on a musical based around the death fatwa from the Iranian Ayatollah to Salman Rushdie.


Larry being Larry, though, after just one appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to promote the musical, during which he repeatedly made jokes about the Ayatollah, he suddenly finds himself the subject of a fatwa of his own. Not only that, but now the hoards of Broadway producers and studios that were previously interested in his musical don’t want anything to do with Larry, and Jimmy Kimmel won’t even have him back on to apologize.


“Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” season 9 opener Foisted! was a welcome and immediate reminder of just what has made the show so beloved by so many. After half a dozen years away it even opened up in a more grandiose manner than usual, tracking above the sun-lit Los Angeles mansions before then swooping down into Larry David’s home, all to the sound of him singing in the shower.


The sight of Larry trying to get into his bottle of shampoo wasn’t as hilarious as his struggles to get into the industrial packaging in season 7’s Vehicular Fellatio, though. In fact, the whole episode didn’t quite hit the heights that we know it is capable of. Of course there were still plenty of laughs, most notably when Leon Black (J.B. Smoove) broke down his past antics while constipated, while the manner in which Larry foisted his terrible assistant (Carrie Brownstein) onto Suzie was particularly pleasing, too. But it felt as though more could have been wrung out from both Richard Lewis’ fury over Larry’s reaction to the death of his parakeet and the argument regarding who should be the bride and who should be the groom in the lesbian wedding.


At the same time, though, the shocking and hilarious revelation that Larry David now has a fatwa out against him immediately opens up a tidal wave of comedic potential, as does the fact that Leon is Larry’s assistant. A position that he clearly isn’t going relinquish any time soon. Plus, was I the only one who saw a potential sparkle between Cheryl and Ted? Which, if true, will almost certainly make Larry furious, too.


All of which proves that, even after nine seasons and 81 episodes, Larry David has somehow found a way to make “Curb” feel fresh and still hilarious, all without missing a beat. Even though it has been torture waiting for its return, Foisted! suggests that this extended break could take “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in a more dangerous and epic direction, while at the same time putting Larry David through even more hell than usual. A place that, if the Ayatollah gets his wishes, Larry might actually soon find himself going to.