8:17pm PT by Jackie Strause
'Curb Your Enthusiasm': How the Finale Worked as a Season and Series Ender
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season nine finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, "Fatwa!"]
Larry David thought he was a free man, but Sunday's season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm showed that a fatwa is forever.
David's comeback season of the HBO comedy launched with a death sentence placed on the TV character Larry David. After insulting the Ayatollah while pitching his fatwa-themed musical on live television, the season premiere sent Larry off running from a threat on his life, courting women attracted to the danger of the fatwa (including those played by Elizabeth Banks and Lauren Graham) and avoiding any mysterious man who might be following him around.
Though the threat appeared to be over after Larry appeased a panel of Muftis in the eighth episode, the final moment of Curb's ninth season finale saw Larry once again running for his life from a man who didn't get the memo that the fatwa had been revoked. The episode faded to black with Larry screaming as the man chased him, "Fatwa's over! Didn't they tell you? Don't shoot! They called it off!"
The nearly 50-minute season ender also capped a two-episode story heralded by guest star Lin-Manuel Miranda, as the Hamilton star was the only actor the Muftis would allow Larry to cast in his show, Fatwa! The Musical, if it were to go on. Viewers were treated to several musical numbers from Miranda for the Fatwa! musical, as he was joined by the likes of F. Murray Abraham, who was name-checked in the episode prior, This Is Us star Chris Sullivan and Nick Offerman.
Larry and Lin, who have sparred since their first meeting, continued to disagree creatively and ended up dueling it out, Hamilton-style, in a paintball match. When Larry mistakenly shoots Lin in the mouth, Lin likens him to Aaron Burr and calls off the musical. Larry's friends are now all out money after investing in the musical, including Jeff and Susie Greene (Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman), but happy-go-lucky Larry still walked away skipping, while singing Mary Poppins' "A Spoonful Of Sugar," despite the misfortune. That is, until the fatwa again reared its head.
David, and HBO, have yet to announce any official news on a tenth season. The tight-lipped creator, however, did imply ahead of the season that more of his TV character's shenanigans could be in the future — meaning the cliffhanging assassination attempt on Larry's life likely won't be the end.
"If I do another season, I’m not going to wait five years — that I can tell you," David told The Hollywood Reporter at the season premiere, with a smile. That sentiment was something David's right-hand man echoed shortly after. "If it ended here, it would be a cool ending. But it doesn’t have to end here," he told THR.
In weekly seasonlong chats since then, Schaffer, Curb's executive producer, has long warned that Sunday's season finale — an episode that he had teased as "one of the most ambitious things we’ve ever tried" — would also be doubling as a series finale, should that be the case. After last week's penultimate episode, Schaffer said, "The end of next week's episode could easily be the final Curb ever — or not. It's built that it could go either way."
Elaborating, "In Curb-land, season finales are usually series finales in Larry's mind. How could he ever do another episode? Where are those ideas going to come from? Larry is the only one who doubts he'll ever have another good story for the show. So when we wrote this season finale, our goal was to come up with a good ending that could easily be the final Curb scene ever ... or not. It will all depend on what Larry wants to do."
Still, he offered this ray of hope: "But I personally wouldn't bet on him running out of ideas. Documenting the indiscretions of the selfish and the petty is an evergreen business."
What did you think of the finale? Tell THR in the comments below and check back in with Live Feed on Monday for more on the Curb season ender.