Curb Your Enthusiasm kicked off its first season since 2011 Sunday night. Since the show is set in a just-slightly-skewed version of real life, it couldn't just pick up where it left off, it needed to address the five-year gap (this season started production last year) somehow. But this isn't the kind of show that gets mired in off-screen detail... Plots have to be just believable enough; and more importantly, funny.
So what's been going on is that Larry David has spent the last five years writing a musical called Fatwa about the novelist Salman Rushdie, and the death sentence the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran placed on the author. Larry wants to play the Ayatollah. Sure, why not?
In the second scene, Larry presents the script to his agent Jeff (Jeff Garlin), who loves it... And that's pretty much the only scene that addresses the passage of time. Yes, Jeff and Susie's (Susie Essman) daughter is old enough to get married now. But otherwise, Leon (JB Smoove) still lives with Larry, Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) is still a regular presence in Larry's life despite the divorce, and they are all still the same bad people they've always been.
The biggest difference from prior seasons is that the stakes quickly grow higher than they've ever been on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry goes on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote the in-development musical (again, it just has to be believable enough) and does an impression of the Ayatollah... That the Ayatollah then sees, and issues a fatwa against Larry David. So now he's marked for death. And Curb Your Enthusiasm has never been a life-and-death show.
The fatwa thread is going to run throughout the season, like Season 4's arc where Larry was the star of a Broadway production of The Producers or Season 7's Seinfeld reunion. Will it get borderline sacrilegious? We'll see.
Curb Your Enthusiasm airs Sundays at 10/9c on HBO.