Over the course of 20 years and 11 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David has found himself on the opposite end of countless arguments and showdowns, usually over a social inconvenience most humans would simply shrug and grit their teeth through. And yet, while his approach lacks nuance and his candor any semblance of grace, there is no denying that David has been, across numerous screaming matches and physical clashes, 100 percent in the right on certain occasions.
With Curb’s 11th season upon us, here’s a look back at 10 times Larry David has been completely correct in his philosophy and challenge to social conventions, all in spite of his methods.
Episode: “Trick or Treat” (Season 2)
As Halloween approaches, adults should keep David’s code in mind when it comes to passing out candy: The cutoff for candy is at about 16 or 17 years old, especially if they aren’t wearing a costume. Yeah, they may “trick” your house and write “Bald Asshole” on your door, but to not call out greedy, entitled teens who show up to your door for candy would be societal chaos. Otherwise, what’s the cutoff? 20s? 30s? Should 40-year-olds be allowed to show up to your door demanding candy? Sure, maybe it’s easier to just give out the candy, but just repeat what David said to the cops: “I will not be intimidated, even on Halloween.”
Episode: “Ben’s Birthday Party” (Season 4)
When invited to Ben Stiller’s birthday party in season four, David was explicitly told not to bring a gift to the party from Stiller himself. When chastised for it later after everyone else brought a gift anyway, David rightly stood firm. Saying no gift means you get no gift. Who cares if “No one means it”? If you tell people to come to your birthday and to not bring gifts, you best be ready to have zero festively wrapped packages in your house the night of. Them’s the rules.
Episode: “The Anonymous Donor” (Season 6)
It’s one thing for someone to want to donate to charity and leave their name off the contribution, so as to avoid the fanfare and keep the focus on the mission. But all of that is negated when that person—in this case, Ted Danson—is going around telling people he is, in fact, “Anonymous.” David was right to call it all out as total B.S., another way to earn praise looking humble. Either you’re anonymous to everyone, or you’re anonymous to no-one is David’s sound logic.
Episode: “The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial” (Season 6)
Just because you can get the little spoons at the ice cream counter and try out a few flavors doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to try out each and every flavor in one sitting. One of David’s more righteous crusades had him calling out one of these Sample Abusers, who was holding up the line by asking for sample after sample. In a perfect world, we would be able to sample everything, but this is not that world, and other people are waiting for ice cream too. Do you like banana-flavored things? Great, get that one. How about coffee? That one’s good too. It’s ice cream. Just pick one and keep it moving.
Episode: “The Reunion” (Season 7)
This scenario found David facing something we should all be on the lookout for when having a nice meal with a friend. David wanted a little tip coordination when the checks arrived during his lunch with Alexander, who refused and kept his tip secret. This restaurant anarchy led David to look like a putz when his likely-solid tip was overshadowed by Alexander’s larger, possibly spiteful tip. Real friends don’t make friends look like fools by being a Tip Show-Off, and David was right to demand some tip consensus and call out Alexander, even if it meant ruining the Seinfeld reunion.
Episode: “The Hot Towel” (Season 7)
Just because there’s food available for people to help themselves to at a social function, doesn’t mean you stuff your face before anyone else can get in on it. As David tells Slater, who was making a mountain of caviar on crackers, you take a little, hang back, see what kind of action is going on, and maybe come in for a bit more. To take so much is just downright rude (as party host Mary Steenburgen would also agree with), and good on David for stepping up to Slater, or else that caviar bowl would’ve wiped clean in no time.
Episode: “Palestinian Chicken” (Season 8)
We often make little goals for ourselves, and often ask friends to help out by saying things like “No matter what, don’t let me have any sugar.” Fickle friends would let you abandon that goal once you say “I take it back!” But not Larry David. He was right to stand by that request, even if it meant wrestling with a friend who told him not to let her have dessert, no matter what. Like “no gifts,” “no matter what” means no matter what. If our words are to mean a thing, we should be ready to wrestle our friends to the ground to live up to our promises.
Episode: “Never Wait for Seconds” (Season 9)
David’s line to a couple making out in front of his window in this season nine episode—“You’re allowed to be happy, but not in front of me”—should be printed on mugs and plastered on billboards. I don’t believe it’s at all controversial that witnessing a couple’s PDA can ruin even the best of days, and David was absolutely right to nip it in the bud without hesitation. A brief encounter for David, but certainly among his most triumphant.
Episode: “Fatwa!” (Season 9)
When someone walks across the room to grab your phone for you, a simple “thanks” is cool. But if someone, say, lets your cousin stay at their house as David did for one Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s understandable to get a little irritated when the latter just says “alright, thanks.” “Thank yous” are not a monolith, a one-size-fits-all. Your level of thanks must reflect the level of the gesture, or else the thank you is basically useless, and David was totally justified in taking the Hamilton creator to task for his pithy “thank you.” Use those verbal skills, Miranda.
Episodes: various episodes in Season 10
To get it out of the way now, no, I don’t think it was ideal for a wealthy man like David to start his own business, Latte Larry’s, simply for the purpose of tanking a smaller coffee business, Mocha Joe’s. Having said that, the ideas he brought to his own coffee shop were the stuff of genius. Coat racks and Purell at every table; said tables being bolted down to stop wobbling; heated mug holders to keep the coffee constantly hot; specially designed urinals to prevent splashback and the lack of toilets to make defecation non-existent. All brilliant ideas that should be integrated into every coffee shop in America, fire codes be damned.
Matt Rooney is an entertainment writer whose work has appeared in Collider, IGN, JoBlo, ScreenRant, and more. If you want to read more of his writing and musings, follow him@MrMattRooney on Twitter.