Yahoo Entertainment already filled you in on the five things you need to remember before that troublemaker, Larry David, returns for another round of Curb Your Enthusiasm on Oct. 1. Allow Curb executive producer, Jeff Schaffer, to tell you all about the five things you need to know about this long-in-the-works new season, the ninth overall and the first in six years. And here’s one thing to be aware of off the top: The perpetually self-critical David is — gasp! — thrilled with how this new batch of 10 episodes has turned out. “We’re really happy with this season, and we’re not usually ones to be happy,” Schaffer remarks with audible glee in his voice. And we’re not about to be the ones to tell him to curb his enthusiasm.
Larry David didn’t want to make another season of Curb… until he did
“There’s never a decision from Larry where he says, ‘Hey, we’re going to do another season,” Schaffer says of David’s hands-off approach to getting another year of Curb off the ground. “Every season is reverse-engineered. It starts with him going, ‘I don’t know why we’d do another season! I don’t have any ideas — except this one.’ Then we start talking about that one idea and add more stuff until seven or eight episodes are written. At that point, I go, ‘Larry, do you want to tell HBO we’re doing another season? We have to tell someone so they can hire a crew to shoot this stuff.'” Schaffer adds that David’s finally ready to accept that Curb is coming back when he hits upon the unifying arc for each season, whether it’s Larry landing a role in The Producers or finally agreeing to a Seinfeld reunion. “It’s always very important to him to have a season-long arc locked in. Not that every episode has to touch on that arc, but so that you know what you’re writing towards.”
This season’s arc involves Larry’s attempts to persevere in the face of “meh”
Picking up five years after Larry was run out of New York City by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg for picking a fight with beloved citizen, Michael J. Fox, Curb‘s ninth season reveals that the artist-in-exile has used that time to craft his passion project. The only problem? Everyone else he shows it to has a profoundly “meh” reaction. “Larry has spent the last five years working on something he’s very excited about,” Schaffer explains. “Once he turns it in, he’s surprised that others don’t feel the same way! And Larry’s not the kind of guy who takes criticism well.” That’s the jumping off point for a season that the producer promises will take some wild twists and turns, and feature plenty of metaphorical explosions on Larry’s part. “No one is safe from Larry’s indignation.”
Expect to see some old friends and big names
“Everybody is back,” Schaffer reassures fans of which frenemies will return to bedevil Larry in Season 9, name-checking such favorites as Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, J.B. Smoove, and Cheryl Hines. “None of these amazing actors were sitting by the phone waiting for us to call, so we had to figure out how to schedule all of them back into Curb. That was the trickiest part of the season.” Check that… second trickiest. During the writing process, David and Schaffer scripted several episodes specifically for major celebrity cameos without first checking to see if said celebrities might be available. “That was not smart at all!” he says, laughing. “And we had no Plan B, so it had to work. Boy, were we dumb.” Each of their dream cameos ultimately came through, but it did involve a bit of waiting on their part. “We finished filming the season in March, but have been shooting in bits all summer due to availability. We wrote things only one person on the planet could do.”
One of those cameos probably isn’t Donald Trump
Schaffer says that shooting commenced on Curb the day after Donald Trump shocked the world by winning the 2016 Presidential election, which made that first day a little rough, morale-wise. And Trump’s presence in the Oval Office will definitely be felt in Season 9. “The TV version of Larry is focused on all the petty indignities and violations of etiquette, so there’s not a lot of space for the larger issues. He can’t usually see the forest through the indignity trees. But he’s also Larry living on the west side of Los Angeles, so dealing with the Orange Menace is just part of the social fabric now. I believe the promos are completely accurate: We need him now more than ever! These are dark times, Larry had to come back.”
Season 10 could be pretty, pretty great
Schaffer knows better than to promise another season given the glacial way the show often comes together. But the overall positive experience of making the ninth season has him hopeful that David will continue to mine his awkward social interactions for Curb comedy gold. “It’s not like Larry stops getting into awkward situations when he’s away from the show. He’s got his notebook, and that notebook is always getting filled. It’s just a question of where those stories are going to go. I hope there’s another season! We had a blast with this one.”
Curb Your Enthusiasms premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. on HBO.
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