Larry David and J.B. Smoove do yoga together in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

With the End of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, We Say Goodbye to the Best Male Friendship on Television

There is so much I’ll miss about Larry David’s magnum opus, Curb Your Enthusiasm, which ends its 12-season run tonight. HBO’s longest-running series, which premiered in 2000, followed the Seinfeld co-creator (playing a version of himself) as he stumbled through social obligations, romantic relationships, and the myriad annoyances of everyday human behavior.

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But aside from Susie Essman’s vitriolic insults and Cheryl Hines’s dedicated straight-woman performance, what I’ll miss most from the series is the best friendship between David and his forever housemate Leon Black (J.B. Smoove). It’s easy to forget that Smoove joined the series in season six, as he’s such an indelible fixture of the show. Leon is a member of the Black family who moves in with Larry after being displaced during Hurricane Katrina. When season 7 begins, the Blacks have moved on, but Leon remains in Larry’s pool house.

Once Cheryl divorces Larry, Leon becomes his de facto partner, and the two quickly become inseparable. While Cheryl often dismisses Larry’s schemes, Leon is enthusiastically supportive, not only helping Larry but taking his ideas to another level. Their banter is impeccable, profane, and littered with essential truths about race, romance, and humanity. Over the years, Larry and Leon have formed something of a domestic partnership, which brims with radical acceptance and a complete lack of judgment (almost). Leon is always “Yes And”ing Larry, and barely bats an eye as Larry snaps a selfie stick in half, knocks over a row of electric scooters, and demands retribution for life’s minor injustices. Even when Larry and Leon disagree, Larry is always able to understand Leon’s loopy logic.

The duo enjoy each other’s company in real life, which easily plays into their performance. While many onscreen friendships can devolve into jealousy and rivalry, there is zero hint of competition between Larry and Leon. After six seasons together, Smoove still hasn’t run out of dick jokes, insane sexual scenarios, and nonsensical musings that crush every time. He is the Yin to Larry’s Yang, the ultimate companion to an iconic curmudgeon. I’m sad to see Curb end, but it’s the OTP of Larry and Leon that I will no doubt miss the most.

(featured image: HBO)


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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.