Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer together again? Get out! It’s true — and this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly goes on the set with Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards, who joined old pal Larry David for the new season of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Over the last six seasons, viewers have come to expect the outrageous from “Curb,” Larry David’s comedic exploration of a man named Larry David. For season 7, the co-creator of “Seinfeld” decided it was finally time to reunite the gang from his old, pathologically revered NBC sitcom, who up until now had resisted the urge to re-emerge. The story line, which starts in episode 3, is sprinkled over five of the season’s 10 episodes as Larry recruits the cast, then plans and tapes the big “Seinfeld” reunion (viewers will see a few scenes of the Seinfeld reunion episode on Curb). David is cagey on plot details, and will only hint that “Larry attempts to get [his estranged wife] Cheryl back, and the ‘Seinfeld’ reunion figures prominently in that.” Adds Louis-Dreyfus, “It’s the anti-reunion reunion, and I’d like to copyright that.”
When David approached Seinfeld about a reunion plot on “Curb” in spring 2008, the comedian wasn’t terribly worried about mucking around with the legacy of his beloved nine-season show. “The idea of working with Larry was just too overwhelmingly appealing to me, and [Curb] is such a great show,” he says. “There was a little part of me that said, ‘Do we really want to tamper?’… But to hell with it. How much damage can you really do?”
The first scene that the Seinfeld gang shot required them to immediately slip back into their old characters.
“Just before we shot that scene, I said to Jerry and Julia, ‘I don’t know if I can be George. I haven’t tried him on in a while,’” recalls Alexander. “And it was freaky how it just came right back out.” Richards, meanwhile, dove in feet first. “I’d always kept Kramer’s shoes,” he notes. “Once I got those shoes on, and I’m standing behind the door of Jerry’s apartment, I was ready.” Being surrounded by the original sets also helped them get back in the mood: The “Curb” producers tracked down Jerry’s apartment and Monk’s coffee shop in a nearby warehouse. (Some home improvements were required, including replacing Jerry’s apartment door, which Seinfeld had taken as a souvenir.)
While this strange trip may not be the reunion scenario that fans expected, both Seinfeld and David agree that it’ll be the only one viewers will ever get. “As far as I’m concerned, we did do it, and in a better way than I ever imagined,” says Seinfeld. “This exceeded my expectations, so there’s no chance I would revisit it now.”
And there’s plenty of other action in “Curb’s” seventh season: Look for appearances by Meg Ryan, Rosie O’Donnell, Elisabeth Shue (who scores a part in the Seinfeld reunion), Sherry Stringfield, Christian Slater, and Sharon Lawrence, as well as the return of Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Richard Lewis.
The new issue of Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands on August 28.