‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: How the Fatwa Will Affect the Rest of Season 9

The Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 9 premiere ended in a big way with the ayatollah issuing a fatwa against Larry David. So was this just a one-off gag that was intended as a funny way to end the episode but that will be ignored by next week? Or is this entire season going to be about Larry David having a death sentence placed on him?

According to producer Jeff Schaffer, the fatwa was not just a one-time gag. It will be a major plot point that affects all of Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He told The Hollywood Reporter that the fatwa story arc is part of what inspired Larry David and the show’s writers to finally bring back Curb after six years.

“The fatwa doesn’t just go away,” Schaffer said. “Once Ayatollahs give one, it kind of sticks! So Larry has to deal with being a wanted man. We see how that impacts his social life, his friends. It permeates the entire season, but not in ways you’d expect.”

Larry David in Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry David in Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. | HBO

Schaffer didn’t want to get into many more details, though it’s worth noting that at the Season 9 premiere event, last night’s episode was shown, but so was the season’s fifth episode. Apparently, that’s because the fatwa doesn’t affect that episode at all.

“There are real reasons for why Larry is normal in [the fifth episode], which is why we screened it during the premiere,” Schaffer said. “…Lots of stuff happens between the first and fifth episode that makes the fifth episode make sense. Right now, we look schizophrenic by saying it is a big deal and then in five, it’s not a big deal. But once you see the other ones, you will understand.”

Schaffer went on to say that the fifth episode is “not the end of it” and again saying that the fatwa “permeates the entire arc of the season.” However, he also said that you won’t be able to guess where the season ends up based on last night’s premiere, saying, “The back end of the season ends in a way that you would never know going from where we started.”

Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry David in Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. | HBO

So this will be another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm with a season-long arc, similar to the broadway show in Season 4 and the Seinfeld reunion in Season 7. Every season of Curb has some recurring elements, but some seasons completely revolve around a particular plot thread, and it sounds like that will be the case with Season 9.

Heading into the new season, the cast spoke vaguely about the fact that this season of Curb is pretty crazy, and we can presume that they were referring to the fact that the ayatollah calls for Larry David’s death in the very first episode.

“…[W]hat he’s been doing provides the jumping off point for the insane first half of the season that gets much crazier in the second half,” executive producer Jeff Schaffer told Variety last month.