Series finale of HBO’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ reunites Larry David-Jerry Seinfeld Jewish comedy duo


((JR)) — Those who might have described “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as a kind of “Seinfeld” on steroids got a fitting conclusion on Sunday, as the last episode of Larry David’s landmark 12-season sitcom was essentially a reprise of the much-maligned “Seinfeld” finale 26 years ago.

Except one thing. (Spoilers follow.)

In the finale, which aired on HBO and Max, Larry stands trial on the charge he was arrested for in the season premiere — handing a bottle of water to a friend waiting to vote, in violation of Georgia law. In the fashion of the “Seinfeld” finale, the trial saw a procession of people Larry had wronged over the years in ways large and small take the stand to testify against him, creating a highlight reel of Larry’s faux pas.

So much of the show has revolved around Judaism — this season alone featured Yiddish, a quip about traveling to Israel, an art exhibit about old Jewish comedians, Sienna Miller converting to Judaism and an argument over donation plaques at a synagogue — and a few of the witnesses to testify were Jewish.

There was the Orthodox woman from season five — full name “Rachel Racheli Shuli Hemda Saraleh Heineman” — who was stuck on a ski lift with Larry, and then his ex-girlfriend Irma Kostrowski (Tracey Ullman) who recounted how Larry stole a pair of shoes from a Holocaust museum exhibit.

But in the end, Larry’s most famous Jewish character saves him: Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry shows up to support Larry during the trial, only to catch one of the jurors, who was supposed to sequester, out at a restaurant. So although Larry is found guilty, the judge declares a mistrial and he gets released, free to nitpick forever about the finer points of 21st-century etiquette.

It was an about-face from the “Seinfeld” finale, when the final cut showed Jerry and his friends in jail, having been sentenced to a year in prison for failing to intervene as Good Samaritans. David, who created “Seinfeld” with Seinfeld, returned to write that final episode after having left the series after seven seasons.

That final episode was one of the most-viewed TV episodes ever, with more than 76 million Americans estimated to have tuned in. But it was widely panned as unfunny, and Seinfeld himself later said he had regrets about it — although David, whose “Curb” character insisted in Sunday’s episode that he had never learned a lesson, insisted that he thought it was “clever.”

The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” finale explicitly alludes to the debate. In its penultimate scene, Larry and Jerry are exiting the prison when Larry has an epiphany: “Oh my God, this is how we should have ended the finale.”

Jerry responds, “Oh my god, you’re right, how did we not think of that?”

Both of them groan.