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Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George pitched his idea for a show in which nothing happens? Curb Your Enthusiasm is that show.

Larry David, the super-wealthy co-creator of Seinfeld, plays Larry David, the super-wealthy co-creator of Seinfeld, in this improvisational comedy, broadcast on HBO since 2000. Edgy, cynical and anarchic to a degree not even achieved by its predecessor — basically, think if Seinfeld had been just about George.

In a typical episode, Larry casually offends someone in the first act, discovers that he desperately needs their help in the second, and then makes matters worse trying to secure it. Usually, he acts like such an unrepentant jerkass to everybody he meets that when there's a genuine misunderstanding, he can't convince anybody of his innocence. Of course, this varies from one episode to the next. Sometimes, Larry is the more-or-less hapless victim of circumstance; sometimes, he makes all the worst possible choices on the way to his comeuppance. Either way, the comeuppance is the punchline to the show, and will be saved for the very end.

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Initially beginning as a one-off HBO special in 1999— coincidentally just a year after Seinfeld ended and a decade after its own initially one-off NBC pilot special premiered— the show ran for eight seasons (from 2000-2011), going on hiatus until a long-awaited ninth season premiered on October 1, 2017.


This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Season 10 had one: Larry and Cheryl sleep together in the heat of the moment, but they don't end up getting back together. It's dropped after episode 4.
  • Accidental Pervert: A common theme in many episodes is Larry getting accused of being a pervert, usually due to a misunderstanding.
    • In the episode "The Rat Dog", Larry makes a hand gesture while explaining how a product works to his elderly father in a store; a deaf acquaintance sees him making this gesture, which is sign-language for "masturbation".
    • In "The Surrogate", both Larry and Richard Lewis are in awe of the size of a black man's genitals while at a urinal, the man notices Larry "peeking" and tries to fight him.
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    • In "The Lefty Call", Larry calls Richard Lewis's girlfriend, Cha Cha, and she believes that he is hitting on her - first, because he asks what she is wearing (so that his wife can plan accordingly) and then because he starts moaning (because his ear hurts).
    • Season 10 starts off with a multi-episode arc where Larry falls deep into Accidental Pervert territory.
      • At a party, a waitress assumes that Larry keeps making eye contact because he's ogling her. When he follows her into the back to get the food she was carrying, she tries to move past him and he accidentally puts his hand directly on her breast.
      • His assistant hears about the party incident and then feels he made her feel uncomfortable too. She then walks into his office to see him wearing a MAGA hat, quoting Donald Trump's infamous "grab them by the pussy" line, wearing a bathrobe, and sitting next to an unshaven Jeff, who she mistakes for Harvey Weinstein. The next couple episodes involve Larry trying to bumble his way out of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Richard Lewis to Larry in the first episode.
  • Adam Westing: Apparently the real Larry David is more or less just his character on the show, but the other celebrities he encounters are all taking the piss out of themselves in one way or another.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Twice in season 5, Larry says he's turning over a new leaf (once, because he almost drowned while swimming in the ocean, and twice, when he had a near-death experience in the season finale), but almost immediately goes back to his usual petty self.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In "Palestinian Chicken", Larry gets an anti-Semitic Palestinian woman into bed by overplaying his Jewishness.
  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: In "The Ski Lift", Larry pretends to act stereotypically Jewish so he can butter up a Jewish member of the doctor board so that Richard Lewis will get bumped up the waiting list for a kidney.
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Larry is rather often characterized as a "cheap Jew" in his endless quibbling and penny pinching over tips, bills, and other minor sums that he shouldn't really care about in his financial position. Other times, he objects to the cheapness of his friends, who are mostly Jews themselves.
  • Analogy Backfire: Jerry and Larry discussing the Seinfeld reunion show:
    Jerry: It's like, you're going back to an old girlfriend and say: "Hey, maybe I can make it work now?" Ten years later? Does that ever work in any relationship you can think of?
    Larry: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood! How about that? They got divorced, and they got back together.
    Jerry: And then she slipped off the boat and died.
  • Annoying Patient:
    • In the episode "Interior Decorator", Larry throws a tantrum at his doctor's office over their waiting list policy, culminating in him tackling another patient.
    • In the episode "Mel's Offer", Larry gets in a drawn-out argument with his doctor, Dr. Morrison, after he is told he cannot use the examination room's phone to make a personal phone call.
    • In a later episode "The Hot Towel", he manages to get Dr. Morrison's home number on the condition that he will only use it when it's absolutely necessary. He ends up calling it accidentally and tries to start a conversation with the annoyed doctor.
  • As Himself: The entire premise of the show is that this is actually Larry David, but the events are indeed fictional. Almost runs into Adam Westing territory, but then you realize the Larry David we see isn't all that far off from the Real Life Larry David. And many others, just a sample here...
  • Ass Shove: In "The Bat Mitzvah", some characters suspect Larry of sticking the Black's pet gerbil up his ass. This rumor is made worse by Larry lying that he did this because he was annoyed at the nurse asking him so many questions.
  • Baseball Episode: Notable examples include "The Car Pool Lane" "The Ski Lift" and "Mister Softee".
  • Bathroom Break-Out: "The Doll" ends with Larry attempting this after being Mistaken for Pedophile.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Larry is accused of getting a boner from petting Jeff and Susie's dog Oscar. He hadn't, but that didn't stop the duo from telling Ted Danson, who turned down his offer to watch his dog while he was out of town.
  • Bigot with a Crush: Played for Laughs when Larry, who's Jewish, has a brief fling with a stridently anti-semitic Palestinian woman and has to decide whether a bit of Category Treason is worth the best sex — and roast chicken — of his life.
    Marty: [After overhearing them in the act] When did you have your orgasm? When she said she'd "fuck the Jew outta you"?
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Larry David to his secretary.
  • Billy Needs an Organ: The Story Arc in season 5 is Richard Lewis needing a kidney transplant. One episode is even called "Lewis Needs a Kidney".
  • Black Comedy: Pretty much everything is Played for Laughs, from mental illness to straight up death.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed: A plot point in the episode "The Surrogate", where Richard Lewis dates a black woman, and worries that he won't be able to satisfy her because of this trope.
  • Body Horror: In "The Freak Book", it's implied as Larry leafs through the book:
    Larry: (laughing) It's three penises!
  • Brutal Honesty: Larry often acts completely tactless, and tells the truth in situations where he really shouldn't. However, he's also an accomplished liar.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Sammy. Though she isn't featured in many episodes and has relatively few speaking roles, you can be sure that any episode she's in will feature something awful happening to her.
    • Richard Lewis. Every time he gets a girlfriend, Larry always ends up ruining the relationship.
    • Marty Funkhouser, who Larry always seems to upset.
  • Call-Back: To a previous series. In "Car Periscope", Larry and Jeff invest in an invention for your car: A periscope so you can see over the traffic. Such an idea was first suggested by Kramer in Seinfeld, but Jerry thought it was stupid and illogical.
    • In the season 6 premiere, Larry called bad drivers "schmo-hawks", which made a comeback in the season 7 premiere.
  • Captain Obvious: Wally's trait in "The Surprise Party". He overexplains everything, prompting many frustrated interrupts from Larry.
  • Cassandra Truth: In "The Car Periscope": Larry saying that a "one-armed man" played Scrabble with an old man.
  • Cast Full of Rich People: Larry and his circle of friends.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Maggie Wheeler's best known role is Janice on Friends who has a trademark Annoying Laugh. In the Curb episode "Palestinian Chicken", she plays a woman who is annoying because she says "lol" instead of laughing.
    • Similarly, in Season 4, David Schwimmer portrays himself as whiny, stubborn and irritable, much like his Friends character Ross. However, unlike Ross, he's often able to get his own way due to his popularity from Friends, much to Larry's frustration.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Pretty good. Prettaaay, prettaaay, prettaaay, pretty good.
    • Susie has "You bald fucking prick" or variations thereof, which are usually directed at Larry and "fat fuck" when referring to Jeff. She also had "She was hysterical" whenever Larry has upset Sammy (this is mostly in the early seasons).
  • Camp Gay:
    • In the episode "Larry vs Michael J. Fox", Larry meets the son of his girlfriend, who exhibits stereotypical Camp Gay mannerisms - but he's only seven. Larry terms him "pre-gay".
    • In another episode, Larry takes on the mannerisms of a choreographer he's working with.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Of course Seinfeld is a real show in-universe, and the main actors from that show appear as themselves, but paradoxes start popping up when actors who played supporting roles on Seinfeld play other supporting roles on Curb. For example, library cop Mr. Bookman is also Larry's doctor, Dr. Morrison.
    • Becker co-stars Ted Danson and Saverio Guerra work together against Larry's 'spite store'. Danson's character is actor 'Ted Danson', Guerra's is coffee shop owner 'Mocha Joe'.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Features in pretty much every episode.
  • Circular Reasoning: Larry and Jason Alexander get into one of these arguments in "Thor" when Larry is late for a meeting with Jason, and keeps trying to claim that his effort should count as the meeting (of course, the real reason why Larry is saying this is because he doesn't want to make the long drive to Jason's office every time), while Jason disagrees and says that the plan (the meeting itself) was never accomplished. Back and forth.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: In "The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial", Marty gives Larry a $50 bill from his sock, which no store will accept because it's floppy and gross.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Funkhouser's sister, Bam-Bam. Unlike most examples, she's like that because she has a serious mental disorder.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Susie would be mute without this trope. Leon too, though he tends to go with "motherfucker".
    • The cook in "The Grand Opening" qualifies, due to his apparent Tourette's Syndrome.
    • Larry himself doesn't swear often, but he lets loose in a Martin Scorsese film that he has a part in.
  • Cold Open: Rare for the series, "The Spite Store" opens with an in-universe news report on the popularity of spite stores after Larry opens his.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: All the time.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Cheryl when the divorce begins part way through Season 6; she is still credited in the opening credits even if she does not appear in episodes or is present only briefly (once in a flashback). Season 8's premiere seemed to have officially put her on the bus for good, but she took a more prominent role again in Season 9, and also appears a few times in season 10.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Seinfeld reunion show features many plots that occurred to Larry in previous seasons.
    • A poster for The Producers can be seen in Larry's office.
  • Country Matters: Larry David's use of the word during a poker game causes an effeminate acquaintance to have a slow motion nervous breakdown. And of course, the obituary misprint: "Devoted sister, beloved cunt". And Marty Funkhauser's joke "P.S. Your cunt is in the sink". And Susie to Cheryl in the episode "The Grand Opening": "Fuck you, you carwash cunt! I had a dental appointment!"
  • Cringe Comedy: The show is all about Larry David ending up in embarrassing situations. This is occasionally due to bad luck, but more often than not it's because of Larry's Jerkass tendencies.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: The basic concept of the show. Plots are as follows: Larry David horribly offends a minor character, then realizes he needs their help. Larry tries to make amends, typically fails on an epic scale.
  • Crying Wolf: A plot point in season 10. Larry pulls over to let emergency vehicles by, only to find the vehicles were abusing their positions to get coffee faster. This comes back to bite him in the finale, when his coffee shop catches on fire and he refuses to get over for the emergency vehicles because he thinks they're faking again. Only he soon finds out, they weren't.
  • Curse: A tourist (played by Stephen Colbert) puts a hex on Larry in "Opening Night" and hopes he fails at The Producers. At first, it looks like the tourist was successful when Larry forgets a line and the audience starts to leave, but then he turns it around and the show ends up being a success.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: In "The Safe House", Larry says he got his black eye after falling down. Subverted in that this actually was the reason Note , though Larry phrased it in a way that could be taken otherwise:
    Larry: I was home and I was talking to somebody. And I said something I shouldn't have said. (…) I'm clumsy. I'm really clumsy. I trip all the time. But, you know, I kind of, I deserved it, actually.
  • Dark Secret: Larry killing the golf club's mascot, a black swan.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Larry explaining that the purpose of a mezuzah is for anti-Semitic pyromaniacs to recognize a house owned by Jewish people.
  • Destructive Romance: Larry and Cheryl, who eventually divorce because of it.
    • Also Larry and Loretta, who grow close in the season 6 finale but by season 7 they're definitely on worse terms. She leaves him in "Vehicular Fellatio" because she thinks she saw him getting oral sex from another woman in the car.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: A major driving force behind many of the show's plots, and much of its humor.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Larry does this constantly.
  • Disabled Love Interest: In the episode "Denise Handicapped", Larry dates Denise, a pretty woman in a wheelchair, mainly to use the fact that people are more considerate with the disabled to his advantage.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Michael J. Fox irritates Larry (such as handing him a shaken pop), then claims it's a result of Parkinson's.
    • A plot point in season 9. Larry is dating a woman with a teenage son who has Asperger's. Larry wonders whether the teen really has trouble reading social cues or if he's just an asshole.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Larry is not the best person in the world, but some of his "faux pas" are extremely minor, or not even offensive—Larry was just unlucky enough to piss off the wrong person. For example, in one episode Larry goes to a department store to buy a new set of shoes he already had, but had lost. Since they're not in stock, Larry has to order them through the store. Before long he finds his original pair, though, and has them fixed up at a cobbler. The salesman who fulfilled the order happens to run into Larry as he's leaving the cobbler, and not only lectures Larry on spurning the "favor" he did for Larry, but appears out of thin air to basically run Larry out of the building when he tries to return the new shoes at the store.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In "Fatwa!", Lin-Manuel Miranda is discouraged by the tepid reaction to one of his musical numbers. Larry counters that everyone, including the actors, is distracted by the voluptuous sign language interpreter.
    • She later interprets at Sammi's wedding, distracting most of the men in attendance - including the groom.
    • In "The Surrogate", Larry got turned on by the nurse while on the treadmill during a physical, which caused his heart rate to increase and the doctor to prescribe a medical device.
  • Downer Ending: Season 10. Mocha Joe moves in next door to Larry and has loud parties, none of which Larry's invited to. Granted, like most everything in the show, it's Played for Laughs, but that would still suck if you were in Larry's shoes.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The pilot is a Faux Documentary, unlike the rest of the series.
    • The series proper doesn't have as much of this as many other shows; they seemed to nail the concept almost immediately. Regardless, there are some oddities to the first season: Larry and Cheryl lived in a different house, Cheryl had darker hair, and there wasn't a season-long story arc. Also, Wanda and Sammi don't appear until season 2.
    • The show initially presents Larry as the sole cause of all his problems, but gradually, more characters are introduced with their own awkward personalities. His reputation means that often he is blamed for something that is someone else's fault. An example is in Season 4 where both his co-stars Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer argue frequently with him.
    • A minor one: "Porno Gil" is the only episode where the show title is superimposed over the action; all other episodes have it on a black background.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Susie is a lot different in her first appearance in "The Pants Tent", but it's "The Wire" that solidifies her character. Specifically, the scene where she chews out Jeff and calls him a "fat fuck", a frequent insult of her husband.
  • Everything Is Racist: Wanda thinks everything Larry does is racist.
  • Exact Words: In "Thor", Larry was accused of saying Wanda has a big ass. Larry defended himself by saying that he actually said "I'd know that tush anywhere." But Wanda and Cheryl still took his exact words in a pejorative way.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Larry would sometimes make outrageous claims about other people and be scolded for that, only to be proven right at the end of the episode, like in "The Shrimp Incident" where he claimed that the boss of HBO ate the shrimps from his mixed-up fast-food takeaway and returned the rest to get a full replacement.
  • Eye Scream: The skewer incident with Ben Stiller.
  • False Friend: Larry is accused of being this in "The Terrorist Attack" when he doesn't tell many of his friends about a potential terrorist attack in L.A. and they find out about it.
  • Fan Disservice: In "Mister Softee", Susie has an orgasm in Larry's car, due to its rattling seat. The sounds she gives are the most unsexy imaginable.
  • Fanservice Extra: The topless Playboy bunnies in the outdoor pool in "The Smoking Jacket".
  • Faux Documentary: The pilot only, which was an HBO special about Larry trying to make an HBO special, and originally planned as a one-time project.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: A driving force of narration. Some fans use the term "Larry David moment".
  • Fiery Redhead: A flashback to when he and Cheryl first got married revealed the abrasive Larry to have curly auburn hair; years later, lost the red tresses but the spirit is still fiery.
  • First-Person Perspective: The audience briefly takes the perspective of Eddie in "Never Wait for Seconds" as Larry lays down the law:
    Larry: All right, you little prick, okay? I got some gratitude sex coming to me, and you're not gonna ruin it. You got it? Now get under those covers. You're gonna go to sleep, and I'm gonna have sex with your mother.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: In "Mister Softee", the origin of Larry's catchphrase ("Pretty good. Prettaaay, prettaaay, prettaaay, pretty good") is revealed: when he was a kid, he once played strip poker with a girl and lost. This was her reaction to seeing him naked.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: How Heaven is portrayed in "The End".
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Even though Cheryl and Susie weren't credited as main cast members at the same time, it still works. Larry is Melancholic, Cheryl is Sanguine, Jeff is Phlegmatic, and Susie is Choleric.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The seventh season's story arc is about creating a Seinfeld reunion show with a new finale, to "make up" for the old one (even though in Larry David's words, "There was nothing wrong with it.'')
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": In the episode "The 5 Wood", Larry tries to get his golf cub back from the casket of his friend's father.
    • In "Running with the Bulls", during Kenny's funeral, Larry is convinced that a man with something hidden in his coat is a man sent to assassinate him as part of the fatwa. He stands up and shouts, "Fatwa! He's got a gun!", causing chaos as everyone runs out of the church. It turns out the guy wasn't hiding a gun in his coat, but his right arm in a cast.
  • Funny Background Event: In "Denise Handicapped", after Larry tells the waiter, "Get this thing away from me, thank you very much!", a guy behind him at the nearby table has to turn away from the camera because he's laughing so hard.
  • Gag Penis: Hugh Mellon's son has one.
    Jeff: He's got a bigger penis than me!
    • Also Funkhouser's transitioned son has a huge one, which actually causes Larry's spite store's downfall- long story.
  • Games Of The Elderly: In the episode "Kamikaze Bingo", Larry visits his father at the senior home and joins in a game of bingo. His social skills and consideration for others being what they are, he accuses the home of Fixing the Game, makes an ass of himself when he wins, and offends some of the other residents to the point that he gets charged by an old man in a wheelchair.
  • Get Out!: It's a running gag that Larry is kicked out of Jeff and Susie's house. In "Beloved Aunt", Larry is kicked out of Jeff's house for (supposedly) groping his mom.
    • In "Krazee-Eyez Killa", Larry is kicked out of Jeff's new house by Susie for refusing to take a house tour.
    • In "The Hot Towel", Susie throws Larry out for telling Sammi to "shut the fuck up" while she's singing loudly very early in the morning.
    • Non-Jeff and Susie example: In "The Divorce", Larry is given 24 hours to vacate his house as part of the divorce settlement. It wouldn't have happened if Larry hadn't fired his non-Jewish lawyer.
  • Gold Digger: Cheryl turns out to be this in the Season 5 finale "The End" when Larry temporarily dies.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Thor the wrestler spoke in this manner to Larry. "'FREAK YOU!"
  • Groin Attack: In the episode "The 5 Wood", the Greene's dog, Oscar bites Larry's penis.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In "The Car Salesman", a "house sound" drives Larry nuts, to the point where he hires a mechanic to inspect the whole house for the source (he doesn't find any).
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Larry and Leon have gradually turned into this.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: A plot point in "Trick or Treat": Larry is accused by a neighbor of betraying his Jewish heritage by whistling Richard Wagner, since Hitler frequently used his music during the Nazi era.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: It afflicts the French chef that Larry and his associates hire for their restaurant in Season 3.
    Chef: Fuckhead, shitface, cocksucker, asshole, son of a bitch!
  • I Am Big Boned: In "The Korean Bookie", Larry is criticized for calling Susie's dog fat; she claims he's just big boned.
  • I Am Not Spock: invoked In-universe example. In season 2, Larry contemplates making a TV series about an actor who can't find work, because he's always typecast as his character from a hit television show, first with Jason Alexander, then with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
    Larry: I'm sorry that you hate the character so much!
    Jason: I don't hate the character, I'm a little tired of it. I mean, I'm an actor. I have a range of characters that I can play. Why am I relegated to this?! Everywhere I go on the street, "Hey, Costanza! "Hey, jackass!"
  • Identical Stranger: In "The Lefty Call", a bald Neo-Nazi calls Larry a "faggot" and a "Jewboy". Larry leaves in shame, but Leon builds his confidence by telling him that if he ever sees him again, to "get up in that ass". At the end of the episode, Larry spots who he thinks is the same guy and is ready to fight him, but it turns out the guy isn't the same Neo-Nazi from before, just a chemo patient.
    Man: (as he leaves) Asshole.
  • I Didn't Tell You Because You'd Be Unhappy: In the episode "The Special Section", Larry's mother dies while he is shooting a film in New York. No one in his family tells him this because it was actually her dying wish that they not bother him about it. Larry is understandably upset that his mother died, had a funeral, and everyone has moved on - all while he was filming in New York and only just found out about it. He calls her out on this when he meets her in the afterlife.
  • Idiot Ball: Every episode revolves around someone being completely inconsiderate toward an aspect of common etiquette or being unreasonably committed to enforcing a minor rule. Larry is usually the worst offender.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: In "Mister Softee", Susie has one in Larry's car, due to its rattling seat. Larry is horrified.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The Palestinian Chicken.
  • Improbable Weapon: In "The Hero", Larry beats up a mugger with a very hard baguette.
  • Incessant Music Madness:
    • In season 7, Sammy sings in the shower as Larry's trying to sleep, prompting an extremely agitated outburst. 'SHUT THE FUCK UP!'
    • Cheri Oteri's appearance is as a mentally unstable nanny who was driven mad by constantly hearing the Looney Tunes theme while working at an amusement park. She sings it constantly and it drives her into a murderous rage.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: "Frolic" by Luciano Michelini. Larry supposedly heard the theme in an ad and liked it.
  • Invention Pretension: In "Trick or Treat", Cliff claims that his grandfather invented the Cobb Salad. Larry thinks that's bullshit and goes to some length to expose the untruth.
  • Iris Out: The season 9 finale ends with one of these.
  • Ironic Echo: Early in season 5, Larry used the handicapped stall in the bathroom, and was called on it by a wheelchair-bound person, who told him, "Well then you wait" for a non-handicapped stall to open up instead of taking his. The same man is later seen using the non-handicapped stall, so Larry tells him, "Well then you wait". Also, in the season finale, Larry is being wheeled out of the hospital and notices a different man exiting the handicapped bathroom. Larry tells him, "Well then, you wait".
  • Irony: In "The Hot Towel", Larry admonishes a man sitting next to him on a plane for wearing shorts, saying male legs are gross to look at. Near the end of the episode, Larry himself is in shorts, running door-to-door because his workout was interrupted by a jealous boyfriend coming to his house. One of the houses he stops at is Ted's, who is grossed out by his not wearing pants.
  • It Is Not Your Time: After getting into a petty argument with one of his guardian angels in Heaven in "The End", they decide to send him back to Earth, using the excuse that he's not ready yet.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Season 10's finale. Wow-ee. Larry opens a "spite store" to get back at Mocha Joe's coffee shop, and his three innovations- bolted down tables to prevent wobbly tables, coffee warmers to keep coffee hot, and no-toilet bathrooms, end up being his downfall. Funkhouser's son's penis knocks over one of the warmers, starting a fire. When the firemen get to the store, they're unable to get the tables out to make room to fight the fire because they're bolted down, and because there are no toilets, they don't have a ready water supply. AND, because all of these things look suspicious when taken together, Larry is now under investigation for insurance fraud.
  • Japanese Politeness: A subplot in "The Bi-sexual": Larry receives an apology bow from a Japanese restaurant owner. Initially he liked it, until he noticed a different Japanese person bowing to someone else and they bent down much farther, making him realize the restaurant owner gave him a "shit bow".
  • Jews Love to Argue: Larry and most of his friends are Jews, and they bicker almost nonstop.
  • Kafka Komedy: While Larry is indeed an awful person, it's often his good-intentioned acts that backfire or are misunderstood, and make him hated.
  • LGBT Fanbase:invoked In-Universe; Larry is very popular amongst lesbians.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: We get to see little Sammi Greene grow up on screen to be as catty as her mother, Susie.
    Larry: Boy, you really are your mother's daughter.
    Sammi: Yeah, now get the fuck out of my driveway, you bald prick.
  • Living Lie Detector: When Larry suspects someone of lying, he will stare at them suspiciously for several seconds, trying to detect if they're lying or not. The same leitmotif ("The Puzzle") always plays on the soundtrack. The audience is left to draw their own conclusion about how effective his method is. Occasionally, this is subverted when another character suspects Larry of lying, such as the Japanese golf course owner in "The Black Swan" and Jerry in "Seinfeld".
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Larry responds to his wife's concern that he never initiates sex by pointing out that he's always ready, and instructs her to tap him on the shoulder when she's ready. Of course, this backfires when she gives him the tap just after he's finished masturbating ("tapped out").
  • Method Acting: Invoked in season 10; Jon Hamm is studying Larry David's mannerisms to play a similar character in an upcoming movie. This backfires on him when he starts inadvertently acting like Larry in regular situations, turning off Cheryl, who he took out for a date.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Loretta leaves Larry because of this. Larry doesn't try to clarify the situation, because by this time, he had enough of her, but feels that he can't break up with her, because she has cancer.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile:
    • Larry is mistaken for a child molester in the episodes "The Doll". He walks into a women's restroom and stores his water bottle inside his pants. When a young girl hugs him, she runs out and tells her mother that Larry was in the ladies room with "something hard in his pants".
    • In "The Table Read", Larry exchanges text messages with a 9-year-old girl. Larry sees a doctor and describes his relationship with the girl in such a way that can be perceived as sexual (even though it is strictly platonic), leading the doctor to call the police.
  • Mistaken for Racist: Larry, quite often, particularly by Wanda Sykes. He does have an unusual obsession with Hitler despite being Jewish.
    • Larry's dog in "The Bowtie", though when the dog doesn't growl and bark when the black Omar Jones pets him, Larry realizes the dog is probably homophobic instead.
    • Michael Richards gets into an argument on the street with a black man over Something Completely Differentnote . He doesn't say anything racial and it's definitely Not What It Looks Like, but considering what happened to him a few years prior, and, well...
      Richards: - If only there were a... a horrible name that I could call you, that'd make you as angry as I am! (seeing someone filming him on their phone) Wha- Aw
    • Since the introduction of Leon in Season 6, it's quite common for Larry to turn to him in these situations and ask if what he was doing is racist. Leon pretty much never thinks so, and even justifies it on a number of occasions. Admittedly, Leon is somewhat of a self-involved Cloud Cuckoolander. This is something of Truth in Television; it's very common for people with racist views to say they are not because they have a black friend who they consulted on the matter and they didn't think it was racist.
    • Larry sees two black people next to each other in line at the airport and assumes they're a couple. They're not.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Larry assumes a black man is a valet because he's wearing a vest and standing by the valet sign. Wanda calls him on it, though Larry says he would've said the same thing had a white man been in the same situation.
  • Mythology Gag: In "Car Periscope", Larry tests out a car with a built-in periscope that lets you see above the traffic. This idea was pitched by Kramer (and shot down by Jerry) way back in Larry David's previous series, Seinfeld.
    • In "The Hot Towel", Larry's hands are scalded by the titular object, much the same way that Kramer in Seinfeld was scalded by a surprise hot towel in "The Café".
  • Near-Death Experience: Larry has one in both the premiere and finale of season 5 (the former, from almost drowning, and the latter from complications from kidney donation surgery).
  • Never My Fault: Played both ways for laughs. Larry often acts like a huge jerk to people and refuses to apologize on principle, refusing to admit his culpability. In turn, people are often needlessly abusive, rude or just jerks to him and go out of their way to blame him.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Jeff and Susie. There are two reasons why they are still together - their daughter Sammy, and that Susie has promised to get the most corrupt lawyer she can in the event of a divorce so she can take Jeff for all he has.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever the mobster boss (played by Larry) in Martin Scorsese's movie chews out his subordinates for. It had something to do with gambling. All we know is, the boss is pissed.
  • Not a Date: In "The Rat Dog", Larry and Mike go to a school theater production of Grease together. Despite both being heterosexual men, there is awkward sexual tension in spades.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In "The Car Salesman", Jason Alexander claims the things George Costanza did were unrealistic, until Larry corrects him that he actually did those things:
    Jason: What is more jerky or putzy than going to a girl's house and stealing a tape out of her answering machine?
    Larry: (offended) I went to a girl's house and took a tape out of an answering machine!
    Jason: Larry, he's eating éclairs out of a garbage can?
    Larry: So what, I ate an éclair out of a garbage can!
    Jason: And, masturbation contests, four people agreeing-
    Larry: I was in a contest, and you know I was in it!
  • Not What It Looks Like: Occurs to Larry in "The Vehicular Fellatio" when Loretta thinks she sees a woman giving Larry a blowjob in his car; subverted, in that Larry doesn't even attempt to correct Loretta because she's leaving him and that's what he wants.
  • No, You: The "argument" between Larry and Hugh's son in "The Nanny From Hell" pretty much equates to this.
  • N-Word Privileges: Averted, as Krazee-Eyez Killah has no objection to Larry repeating the term after the rapper affectionately uses it in reference to Larry. Even inverted later when Larry tells Krazee-Eyez (before their inevitable falling out) that he's his "Caucasian".
  • Obfuscating Disability: In "The Bowtie", Larry pretends he has a stutter Note  so he can bypass the line and use the wheelchair stall in a bathroom. It doesn't work.
  • Oblivious Mockery: Several gags rely on this. Typically, someone tells Larry David how rotten they think George Costanza is or how a plot of Seinfeld was unbelievable because nobody would act that stupidly. They don't realize that George was based on Larry and that many "unbelievable" Seinfeld plots were based on things Larry actually did.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: In the episode "Mister Softee", Bill Buckner is still remembered 25 years after committing a mistake that cost the Red Sox the World Seriesnote , everybody still hates him for it.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Larry would sometimes initiate actions that backfires on him later.
    • In "Interior Decorator", when Larry's bickering at his doctor's waiting list policy leads to an adjustment of it which worked to his disadvantage next time he showed up.
    • In "The Black Swan", Larry is opposed to the idea that he has to introduce someone to his friends. Near the end of the episode, while speaking to Marty, Larry badmouths the stonemason he spoke with on the phone who was going to fix his mother's gravestone, and the man Marty's standing with just happens to be the stonemason. He calls Larry a prick and leaves, and when Larry asks why Marty didn't introduce him, he replied, "What about your policy? No introductions."
    Larry: So I'm hoisted on my own petard.
    Marty: Exactly.
  • The Other Darrin: In-story example; when Jason Alexander quits the Seinfeld reunion, Larry suggests that he could play George and even brings up the other Darrin.invoked
  • Parental Substitute: Larry becomes one to the Blacks during season 6. Further reinforced by a montage in the last minute of season 6, which shows Larry participating in stereotypical dad situations (yelling at the ref in the son's soccer game; telling the kids to knock off the rough-housing in the backseat; posing in a family photo).
  • Persona Non Grata: In "The Anonymous Donor", Cheryl bans Jeff from the house after she learns that he ejaculated on their bed sheets. When Susie learns of Jeff's banning, she retaliates by banning Larry from her house.
  • Person as Verb: In "Mister Softee", Larry makes a fielding error that costs his softball team the game, causing the coach to scream that he "Bucknered" it, after former Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's infamous ground ball fielding error that cost his team Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (allowing the New York Mets to tie and ultimately win the pennant).
  • Platonic Prostitution: Larry hires a hooker so he could use the car pool lane. Being Larry, he then haggles over the amount she charges him based on the number of blowjobs he believes she could fit into the same amount of time.
  • Playing Against Type: In-universe; Larry, known for his comedic efforts, plays a fearsome Jewish mobster in a Scorsese film.
  • Poorly Timed Confession: Larry confesses something to a mechanic just before he's about to fix Jeff's classic car, causing the mechanic to refuse fixing it, and he can't find any others who work on such cars.
  • Potty Emergency: In season 10, Larry and Leon have some Bavarian licorice which causes them to run to the bathroom with violent diarrhea.
  • Put on a Bus: The Blacks in "The Vehicular Fellatio". Except Leon.
    • Marty Funkhouser is said to be doing business in China during season 10, because the actor who played him, Bob Einstein, passed away before season 10 could begin.
  • Racist Grandma: The grandpa variety. In "The Car Periscope", Larry plays Scrabble with an old man who suddenly starts casually dropping racist slurs.
  • Railing Kill: Larry (playing a mob boss) threatens this to a mook in the film Martin Scorsese is directing.
    Mook: I'm scared of heights, boss!
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted; the scripts are only outlines, and most of the dialogue is improvised.
  • Repetitive Name: Lewis Lewis.
  • Reunion Show: In season 7, Larry organizes a Seinfeld reunion show.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Did Susie want to kill Jeff via a heart attack in "The Surprise Party"?
  • Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Reason: The episode "Carpool Lane" follows Larry on his trip to a Los Angeles Dodgers game with a prostitute. This included shooting footage at a real game, including mundane footage of Larry going up and down stadium stairs and sitting down and getting up from his seat, most of which never made the final cut. However, in the exact same row sat Juan Catalan, who would later be accused of a murder that took place at the exact same time as the shoot. So even though the footage didn't make the episode, it ended up clearing an innocent man of murder.
  • Road Trip Plot: "The Baptism". It didn't begin as such, but Larry lost his and Cheryl's plane tickets, and they missed the flight to Monterey, so they had to take a flight to San Francisco and then rent a car to drive the remaining two hours there.
  • Running Gag: Many times in the series, Larry will think someone is lying to him and, after questioning them about what he suspects and they deny it, will eye them suspiciously while the other person eyes them back. This gag is accompanied by the music piece "The Puzzle".
  • Sassy Black Woman: Wanda.
    • Loretta Black epitomizes this, as she takes zero crap from Larry and even puts the acerbic Susie in her place!
  • Scout-Out: Averted; "The Divorce" explicitly refers to the troop as the Girl Scouts.
  • Secret Test of Character: Larry pretends this was the case in "The Bat Mitzvah" when he pretends to be mentally challenged to a prospective tenant; he makes up the excuse that the guy failed because he got uncomfortable at Larry's behavior and thus was intolerant and didn't deserve the office. In reality, Larry simply didn't want someone moving in across from him.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Larry engages in these constantly.
  • Serious Business: Larry, and some of his social rivals, can make a big deal of absolutely anything.
  • Show Within a Show: The Producers in season 4, and the Seinfeld reunion in season 7.
  • Significant Reference Date: Played with in "The Survivor": A brother-in-law of the rabbi's was killed on September 11th... not from the terrorist attacks, but being run over by a bike messenger in uptown Manhattan.
  • Sit Comic: Larry David used to be a stand-up comedian.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: While the characters are not as unpleasant as Larry David's other show Seinfeld, Larry David makes the show very cynical.
  • Snap Back:
    • The story arc of Season 3 is Larry investing in a restaurant, which opens in the finale, then never mentioned again.
    • Similarly Susie's pregnancy that motivates her and Jeff to get back together is never mentioned again once that plot point has been resolved.
    • The end of season 4 had Larry's version of The Producers poised to be a smash hit that will run for years... and it's promptly forgotten about in the season 5 premiere.
  • Soda Can Shakeup: Done by Michael J. Fox to Larry as a means of retaliation in "Larry vs Michael J. Fox", with the former pretending that the shaking was unintentional due to his disease.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The show features light-hearted and goofy Italian stock music amidst the Cringe Comedy.
  • Spanner in the Works: That audience member that caused the disturbance in "Opening Night" with Andy allows Larry go improvise humor off-script about Andy, and win back the crowd after flubbing his lines as Max Bialystock. The crowd laughs as they think it's part of the play...and causes Mel Brooks to panic when he's made to believe that instead of killing the show that Larry will make The Producers run for another five years...and have Mel and wife Anne Bancroft lament, "No way out..."
  • Springtime for Hitler: The season 4 finale "Opening Night" as a Whole Plot Reference to The Producers. Mel Brooks (along with his wife Anne Bancroft) has Larry and David Schwimmer play the leads in the broadway show "The Producers" in order to close the show. As the trope implies, it doesn't work.
  • Standard Snippet: "The Barber of Seville" is used in both "The Larry David Sandwich" and "Mister Softee".
  • Sting: A series of them at the end of "The Lefty Call" when Larry thinks he's spotted the same guy who called him a racial and homophobic slur earlier in the episode.
  • Story Arc: Every season has one except the first.
    • In season 2, Larry tries to create a new TV show.
    • In season 3, Larry becomes an investor for a restaurant.
    • In season 4, Larry stars in The Producers.
    • In season 5, Larry tries to find a kidney donor for Richard Lewis. Also hiring a private investigator to find out if he's adopted.
    • In season 6, the Black family moves in and Larry and Cheryl separate.
    • In season 7, Larry organizes a Seinfeld reunion show and Larry tries to reunite with Cheryl.
    • In season 8, Larry goes to New York.
    • In season 9, Larry creating a musical play called Fatwa!, which causes a fatwa on Larry himself.
    • In season 10, Larry opening a rival coffee shop next door to Mocha Joe's.
  • Stuck on a Ski Lift: Used in "The Ski Lift" to force Larry and an Orthodox Jewish woman to be "alone" together after sundown; since this isn't allowed under Jewish law if they're not married, she tells Larry he has to jump off if he's truly Orthodox (which he's pretending to be). When he refuses, she does it instead. Judging by Larry's reaction, it didn't end well for her.
  • Take Our Word for It:
    • In the episode "The Weatherman", a close-up photo of Larry's teeth horrifies everyone who sees it. It's not shown to the audience.
    • In "The Benadryl Brownie", Richard Lewis's girlfriend eats peanuts to which she's allergic to. As a result, her face becomes hideous, and, of course, it's never shown.
    • "The Nanny from Hell" features a little kid with an impressively large penis. For obvious reasons it's not shown.
    • The various pictures in the freak book in the episode title of the same name.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: In "Seinfeld", Larry quits the reunion show because the cast preferred the earlier version he wrote (where George and his ex-wife get back together) and didn't want him playing George (who had stormed out upon reading the revised ending).
  • Taking the Bullet: In "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox", Jeff claims that he'd do it for Susie, but she doesn't believe him. Later, he jumps in front of a bicycle messenger who was about to hit Susie. He suffers internal injuries and has to take a suppository... shaped like a bullet.
  • Teeny Weenie: In "The Ski Lift", Larry meets a woman, Lisa, who says that she used to date his friend, Jeff, but broke up with him because he has a very small penis. When Larry tells Jeff about this, he denies having a small penis, and says that actually it's Lisa who has a huge vagina.
  • Teeth Flying: Larry is accidentally hit in the mouth by a kid trying to hit a piñata in "Chet's Shirt". He has to get emergency dental surgery.
  • The "The" Title: Most of the episode titles are done this way.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Leon. In season 6, Larry and Cheryl decide to temporarily house a family of African-American victims of the fictitious Hurricane Edna: single mother Loretta Black, her children Keysha and Daryl, and their Auntie Rae. Loretta's brother, Leon decides to move in too, even though he wasn't affected by the hurricane. Larry and Cheryl eventually split up, and Larry starts a relationship with Loretta. In season 7, when she (mistakenly) thinks that Larry is cheating on her, she leaves with her family... but Leon stays behind. In the episode "The Safe House", Larry complains: "He just moved in, doesn't pay any rent and he eats all my food. He knows all about me. He knows my mother's maiden name. I've got to get this guy out of my house. It's driving me crazy."
  • They Do: This trope is discussed on several levels and ultimately parodied in the Seinfeld arc. George's relationship with his ex-wife is used as a way to discuss how believable/satisfying it would be for Larry and Cheryl to get back together. Then the Season 7 finale seems to build up a standard They Do ending... Only for it to be subverted at the last moment with Larry's standard behavior ruining their moment.
    • Arguably this doesn't get subverted until the first episode of season 8. The end of season 7 is quite sweet and gives the impression that their relationship is back to normal. It's only in the next episode that we see it going wrong.
  • Tough Room: Averted, as Larry David claims it's unrealistic and unnatural for friends in sitcoms to deliver incredibly witty one-liners and nobody laughs. In this show, if a character makes a legitimately funny observation and another character happens to laugh at it, it's kept in the show. A good example is the first episode, when Richard Lewis chuckles at one of Larry's jokes, despite being mad at him.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Larry and Cheryl. Also, when Cheryl leaves him in season 6, Larry dates a number of attractive women, and lives with Loretta Black (Vivica A. Fox) for a while. Richard Lewis also had an array of very attractive girlfriends.
    • In the episode "Car Periscope", Larry decides to invest in a man's invention (the titular periscope) after seeing his unattractive wife, because he thinks that means that he's a man with integrity. He also refuses a potential business manager, after he sees that his wife is much more attractive than him, thinking (rather hypocritically) that he must be superficial.
  • Understatement: In "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox", Larry talks to his girlfriend's seven-year-old son about Hitler and says that he "didn't really care for Jews. He thought they were a bit much."
  • Vacation Episode: Season 10's "You're Not Going to Get Me to Say Anything Bad About Mickey" had Larry going to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with his latest girlfriend for Mickey's wedding.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Larry and Richard Lewis are constantly fighting.
    • Same goes for Larry and Ted Danson; despite supposedly being good friends, they get into a tiff whenever they're together, even for something as trivial as whether Larry will eat a piece of pie Ted offered him.
  • Wham Line: "The TiVo Guy":
    Cheryl: I'm leaving. I'm leaving, Larry. I can't do this anymore.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In a season 3 episode, Susie finds out she is pregnant which is how she and Jeff make amends. We never see the baby being born and in a season 4 episode, Jess mentions their new baby, but otherwise, the kid never pops up onscreen and is never mentioned again.
    • We never do find out what David Schwimmer told the flight attendant in "Opening Night".
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Larry pretends to be this in "Officer Krupke" by wearing women's panties (he's actually covering for Jeff, who was caught with said panties in his glove compartment).
    Larry: (casually) I'm Larry David, I like wearing women's panties. (shrug)
  • With Friends Like These...: Larry actually can't stand most people in his social circle, and constantly gets into fights with them, that sometimes even lead to physical altercations.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • Cheryl is usually the voice of reason why Larry is being his usual self.
    • Averted with Susie Greene who is far more neurotic and bad tempered than Jeff.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In "Denise Handicapped", Larry gets into a physical fight with Rosie O'Donnell. Later, he's angry when he hears that Rosie claims that she won.
    Denise: Why are you fighting women?
    Larry: She started it!
  • Write What You Know: In-universe example: Larry writes things that happened to him into the Seinfeld reunion show (he did that with Seinfeld in real life too).
  • Xanatos Gambit: Larry accused food critic Andy Portico of doing this in "The Grand Opening": Larry was worried Andy was going to give their new restaurant a bad review. During a game of dodgeball, Larry accidentally threw the ball too hard at Andy, busting his fingers so he couldn't type the review. But when Larry mentioned that he fired his head chef, Andy recommended a friend of his from New York, Guy Bernier, but it turns out the guy has Tourrette's Syndrome. Larry thinks Andy chose Guy to deliberately sabotage the restaurant.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The standard formula. Midway through the plot it looks Larry gets a break but any fortune will be undone before the end of the episode.
  • You Must Be Cold: Inverted in the episode "The Korean Bookie." Larry takes a jacket from a woman (though it's his jacket, and she took it without asking).
  • Your Cheating Heart: Jeff has had sex with other women while being married to Susie. He's almost caught in "Officer Krupke", but Larry takes the fall by pretending some panties found in his glove compartment are his.

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