‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ ending explained: Larry David pays tribute to ‘Seinfeld’

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Just like that, one of the greatest comedy series of all time comes to a close, with Larry David deciding to call time on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Joining the ranks of such other celebrated sitcoms as Seinfeld, Cheers and The Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm came to a close on April 7th, 2024, with the release of season 12, episode ten, ‘No Lessons Learned’, tying the bizarre events of the final series into a neat bow. 

Aptly titled, the finale demonstrates that, even after 120 episodes and subsequent life lessons, David’s character is no less argumentative, petty and cynical than when the first episode aired in October 2000. Arrested at the start of the season for giving water to someone while they were queuing to vote, the finale finished off this story with David standing trial for a crime he didn’t know he had committed. 

True to life, the law was instated in Georgia in 2021, with the first episode highlighting the idiocy of the legislation, which states that no one but election workers can provide food or water to voters waiting in line. Violation of this crime can remarkably result in a 12-month jail sentence and a fine of $1,000, with the remainder of the final Curb Your Enthusiasm season following David’s legal agony as a result of his kind deed.

In true Curb style, however, David protests this idiocy with so much vigour that he attracts the attention of the press, becoming a pop-culture icon for defying the law and pointing out the flaws of the legal system. It all leads to the finale, which begins with David and his entourage of close friends and family travelling back to Atlanta to attend court, with the lead character opting to watch old episodes of Seinfeld while travelling, the first of many nods back to the iconic sitcom which David produced throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The Curb Your Enthusiasm cast reunion

Being the finale of the beloved series, the final episode became something of an all-encompassing celebration of 12 seasons of Curb, with several iconic characters making long-awaited returns. In court, the prosecutor attempts to attack David’s personal integrity, suggesting that he is a menace to society thanks to his general disruptiveness and history of being associated with controversial, colourful characters.

Such characters as Tackahashi (Dana Lee) and Mocha Joe (Saverio Guerra) were brought back from the series’ past, with the judge questioning the figures as to the reputation of David. But they were merely the start of a host of cameos, with Bruce Springsteen returning alongside the likes of Tracey Ullman, Ted Danson and Jerry Seinfeld, the title star of Seinfeld, which David watched during his flight back to Atlanta.

Though, despite the efforts of the defendants, the judge was not convinced that Larry wasn’t a public nuisance, so the show ends with him receiving a one year jail sentence for his petty crime. Shown to his cell, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the one that the cast of Seinfeld ended up in during the divisive 1998 finale. David accepts his fate until he is told by Jerry Seinfeld himself that one of the jurors broke sequester, and, as a result, his charges have been dropped.

Telling him that the judicial nightmare is over, Seinfeld exclaims, “You don’t want to end up like this. Nobody wants to see it. Trust me,” making reference to how many people disliked their fate at the end of the 1990s sitcom. But, if this wasn’t enough of a hint, David consolidates this reference, stating, “This is how we should have ended the [Seinfeld] finale!” as they leave the scene, and Seinfeld adds, “How did we not think of that?”

For a series that has long thrived with self-referential in-jokes, the final scene of the Curb Your Enthusiasm finale ‘No Lessons Learned’ feels like the perfect end to a remarkable show and a flourishing swan-song one of TV’s funniest creatives.

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