TV Revivals Are A Bad Idea. The ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Revival Isn’t

09.27.17 3 months ago

HBO

TV revivals are bad ideas.

I can’t wait for Sunday night’s Curb Your Enthusiasm revival.

These ideas aren’t irreconcilable. There are exceptions to my revival rule — Twin Peaks: The Return being among the year’s most memorable (if occasionally frustrating) TV events — and Curb is exceptional in many ways, in addition to being one of the greatest comedies TV has ever seen.

Let me explain:

1. This isn’t really a revival.

Larry David doesn’t need the money. He doesn’t need the work. He doesn’t need any of this. The moment he left Seinfeld, he could have retired to a secluded location — only not the beach or a lake or a forest or… well, he could have found something that didn’t annoy him if he looked long enough — burned residual checks for warmth, and never wanted for anything for the rest of his life.

So the deal he made several HBO administrations ago was this: the only person to decide when, or if, Curb would continue would be Larry David. If he had a new idea for a season? Great. If he needed to wait a few years? That’s fine, too. If he was all done? The show’s legacy needs no adding to.

The first three seasons aired on a more or less regular schedule, in the falls of 2000-2002. There was then a gap of 14 months between seasons three and four, 18 months between four and five, and about two years between the next several seasons. Nearly every time the show went away, no one knew if it would come back. And then it did. That it’s been over six years since Larry and Leon fled to Paris is only a matter of degree, not kind. Curb is a show that goes away until it’s ready to come back.

David has already written multiple season finales that would work as series-enders — Larry dies, Larry and Cheryl divorce, Larry stages a successful Seinfeld reunion (which worked as a stealth apology for the real Seinfeld finale) — and then started things up again. This is a thing Curb does, and has always done. It’s not like Will & Grace having to erase its original series finale from existence in order to tell stories where the title characters are still friends and have no children.

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