((JR)) — Every season premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” raises the question of just how Jewish the latest run of the show will be.
On Sunday night, in the first episode of the 12th (and final) season, Larry David may have provided an answer: Not just Jewish, but possibly even Israeli. Light spoilers lie ahead.
This season is a continuation of the last, in which Larry produces a show about his youth called “Young Larry,” and is in a reluctant relationship with local politician Irma Kostroski (Tracey Ullman). The first episode, which premiered Sunday night, centers on an ill-fated trip Larry takes to Atlanta to be the guest of honor at a birthday party.
While at the party, Larry and his housemate Leon (J.B. Smoove) discover that the host, who described himself as “African,” is, in fact, white and South African. Larry asks Leon, who is Black, if he’s ever been to Africa. Leon says he hasn’t but would like to go.
“I wonder if a Black man going to Africa is like a Jew going to Israel,” Larry says. After a brief interjection by Leon, Larry continues, “I’ll tell you what: Let’s plan a trip! We’ll hit the Congo, you know, and then we’ll go to Tel Aviv.” Leon assents.
If Larry and Leon do go to Israel, it will be different from the Israel of today. This season of “Curb” finished filming last March, well before anyone knew that the country would be plunged into a months-long war. But the end of episode one throws into question whether Larry will be able to leave the country at all.
The Israel conversation wasn’t the only Jewish moment of the show. When Larry meets another nemesis of his, the housekeeper at his hotel, he calls her a “farbissina” — Yiddish for a bitter person. It’s clear not everyone knew what it meant: Google searches for the word rose shortly after 10 p.m. ET, the premiere time.