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Review: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Wraps Up in Familiar Fashion

After 12 seasons, spread across 25 years, the HBO comedy staple “Curb Your Enthusiasm” ends with an episode that sees Larry David put on trial. Witness after witness testifies to Larry’s lifetime of selfish and antisocial behavior. The jury finds him guilty, of course.

Then he gets out of jail on a technicality and goes home. Because that’s the only kind of ending that makes sense in “Curb”-world.

In fact, even former “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans who hadn’t watched the show in years — but dropped back in for the finale — probably could have predicted how it was going to end. David (the creator, not the character) has never varied much from the formula he introduced on HBO back in 2000, when he first started telling darkly farcical, often cringe-inducing stories about the twists and turns of modern manners, featuring a fictionalized, exaggerated version of himself: a ridiculously rich crank, living off the fortune he made cocreating the sitcom “Seinfeld.”

The final episode pays off a story line that had run through the final season since the premiere, when Larry (the character, not the creator), gave an old acquaintance named Auntie Rae Black (Ellia English) a bottle of water while she was waiting in line to vote in Atlanta, in violation of a Georgia election law.

It also validated the popular theory that the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” finale would reflect or at least reference the polarizing final episode of “Seinfeld,” which David wrote. With its trial setting, callbacks to earlier episodes and cameos from memorable past guest stars, the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” finale mirrored the basic premise of the “Seinfeld” one, with a few key tweaks, and Jerry Seinfeld played a key role.

In the “Seinfeld” finale, the main characters were put on trial for violating a Good Samaritan law by failing to help a person in need. In the “Curb” finale, Larry is on trial for being a Good Samaritan; the voting line incident had made him a folk hero to voting rights advocates. But in the world of the show, the words “hero” and “Larry David” couldn’t remain closely linked for long — it causes too much cognitive dissonance.

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