Get ready to cringe.
The return of Curb Your Enthusiasm brings another season of Larry David confronting life's awkward situations in his own infuriating manner.
As on Seinfeld, which he co-created, the HBO comedy's scenarios are derived from real-life human minutiae, as viewed from David's uniquely dyspeptic perspective. He makes you laugh, but you also want to throttle him. Consider Larry David's 10 most cringe-worthy Curb moments.
The Pants Tent (2000)
In the very first episode in the series, Larry is amused to discover that his new pants bunch up in front when he sits down, giving the appearance of an erection. "Maybe it's not such a bad thing, you know?" he jokes to his wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines). Not so funny later on, when Cheryl's best female friend notices his pants-bulge. In the same episode, Larry insults his friend Richard Lewis's girlfriend (by staring at her breasts) and offends the conservative Jewish parents of his manager/friend Jeff (Jeff Garlin) with a Hitler reference. Quite the beginning.
The Group (2000)
Shortly after Cheryl gets an audition for a role in a stage production of The Vagina Monologues, Larry bumps into an old girlfriend who asks him to accompany her to an incest survivor's group, which, in keeping with the Curb universe, is being led by the play's director. Everyone in the group tells their story, and when they come around to Larry, he feels compelled to contribute: "I had sex with my uncle when I was 12," he improvises. "He lived in Great Neck. He was a doctor. An osteopath, I don't even know what they do, but I know they're doctors." Needless to say, Cheryl's stage career was short-lived.
The Doll (2001)
During a party at the home of a high-ranking broadcast executive, the man's young daughter asks Larry to give her doll a haircut. He naturally butchers the job, leaving the child wailing and her father unlikely to green-light Larry's idea for a new TV show. Discovering that his friend Jeff's daughter has a similar doll, Larry goes to his home and steals the head, which he shoves down his pants, causing itching and Larry worrying about a trip to the doctor. "That's going to be a lot of fun. 'Where'd you get the rash?' 'Oh, I stuck a doll's head down my pants, doctor.' " Compounding his woes, Larry is caught in his thievery by Jeff's scary wife, Susie (Susie Essman).
The Blind Date (2004)
Trying to be helpful in his own brutally honest way, Larry informs his new blind friend Michael that his girlfriend is not particularly attractive. Michael falls into a funk and Larry makes it his mission to find him a new love connection. Then one day, while going door to door in search of a washroom, Larry finally meets a Muslim woman, named Haboos, in full burka. Larry: "I think I got a guy for you." Haboos: "A blind date?" Larry: "Literally."
The Surrogate (2004)
When his friend Richard Lewis begins dating an African-American woman, he admits to Larry his feelings of insecurity about his "equipment." Larry then demonstrates his general racial ignorance with two classic blunders: Outside an L.A. restaurant, he hands his parking tag to the black man standing beside him, assuming him to be the car valet. The man was waiting for his own car. More embarrassingly, Larry and Lewis find themselves flanking NBA star Muggsy Bogues at a urinal and can't resist sneaking a peek to see if the stereotype about black men being well-endowed is true. Muggsy is not amused.
Meet the Blacks (2007)
Trying to make amends with Cheryl for skipping two social engagements, Larry agrees to take in the Black family, who lost their home and all belongings in a hurricane. Of course he's hours late to pick up the family at the airport, and when he sees them, he's astounded that the Blacks are, well, black. Larry: "Your last name is Black?" Loretta Black: "Yes." "That's like if my last name was Jew. Like, Larry Jew."
The Freak Book (2007)
Desperate to reconnect with his estranged wife Cheryl, Larry arranges an elaborate scheme to arrange a fake mugging of her therapist, allowing him to rush in and play the hero. Somehow, Larry convinces his own therapist Dr. Bright (Steve Coogan) to play the mugger. Does Larry feel guilty when the police happen upon the fake crime scene and haul away Dr. Bright? Nah.
The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial (2007)
Obviously, the Larry David system of checks and balances deviates from the norm. When his friend Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) sticks him with a sweaty, unusable $50 bill, Larry is enraged. Soon after, when he needs flowers to curry favour with a school administrator, he steals three bouquets from the roadside memorial for Funkhouser's dead mother. That'll show him.
Funkhouser's Crazy Sister (2009)
Larry tries to break up with his live-in girlfriend Loretta (Vivica A. Fox) before she receives the results of her biopsy. He doesn't quite make it. Dr. Schaffer: "Your life is mostly going to be taking her to appointments or here with her in the house." Larry: "I can still play golf." Dr. Schaffer: "Absolutely not. I don't imagine you'd have time for that." Larry: "Once a week?"
Denise Handicap (2009)
Larry asks Denise out on a date, not realizing she's a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. He's not thrilled with the concept but warms to her once he realizes the relationship is earning him some nifty perks, including getting re-invited to a recital that he was dis-invited to. After he loses Denise's phone number, he meets another woman in a wheelchair named Wendy. The jig is up when both women turn up at the recital. Larry: "You can't break up with a handicapped person by phone, can you?"
Curb Your Enthusiasm returns Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO Canada.