A year and a half after the fictional Larry David’s coffee “spite store” burned down in a hilarious blaze of glory, the real life writer and actor has returned for an 11th season of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The new season opens with Larry discovering that a burglar has drowned in his pool because it did not have proper fencing, kicking off a blackmail attempt by the burglar’s family that interferes with Larry’s latest creative endeavor. Always audacious and unpredictable, “Curb” missed out on Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations last year, but could this long-running series make a comeback?
According to our current SAG Awards predictions, “Curb” is in the race. It ranks among the Top 10 for Comedy Ensemble and David ranks in the Top 12 for Comedy Actor. To make it into the top five in each of those categories, “Curb” will have to overcome some tremendously buzzy series like “Ted Lasso,” “Hacks” and “Only Murders in the Building,” plus legends like Steve Martin, Martin Short and reigning victor Jason Sudeikis. Unlike a number of its biggest competitors, though, “Curb” has a track record at the acting guild with six nominations over a 12 year period, so it is clearly a show voters know well and return to often.
“Curb” landed its first SAG Award nominations for ensemble and David in 2006 for its fifth season, which revolved around fictional Larry fretting about whether to give his best friend Richard Lewis a kidney while also hiring a private investigator to see if he was adopted. The series and David returned to the guild in 2010 for its seventh season, in which Larry stages a brilliant, alternate reality “Seinfeld” reunion, with Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards playing heightened versions of themselves and also stepping back into their iconic sitcom roles. “Curb” and David last broke through in 2018 for the ninth season, which finds Larry attempting to mount a musical he has written about the fatwa placed on novelist Salman Rushdie, which leads to him receiving a fatwa himself.
Even though “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was snubbed for its 10th season last year, SAG Award voters clearly continue to watch, as it has managed to resurface at the awards after missing for its sixth and eighth years. What could really help it return this time is its Season 11 arc. Much like the “Seinfeld” season, the current installment of “Curb” centers on a TV industry plot line, with Larry pitching a comedy series about his early life as an aspiring stand-up comic and part-time chauffeur called “Young Larry.” The early episodes are chock full of fictional Netflix and Hulu executives, cast auditions and screen tests. Larry tries to court Dylan O’Brien and Woody Harrelson for starring roles and Seth Rogan for a guest spot on “Young Larry,” but inevitably alienates them in hilarious fashion. These insider baseball stories – complete with memorable guest stars and even a cameo by legendary casting director Allison Jones – might just resonate with the actors who vote on the SAG Awards.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that “Curb” has been receiving critical acclaim and airing strong episodes in the ramp-up to SAG Award voting. The new season has a Metacritic score of 89, its highest score since season 6, which indicates “universal acclaim.” Its three most recent installments – “The Watermelon,” “IRASSHAIMASE!” and “Man Fights Tiny Woman” – showcase what “Curb” does best, balancing its most brazen and controversial stories with the small, petty grievances and observations that Larry has documented on the series since its first season over 20 years ago.
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