Curb Your Enthusiasm’s season 5 finale sees Larry David make a couple of pointed jabs about appearing on a TV Guide cover with the cast of Seinfeld – here’s the gag explained. Larry David started his comedy career as a writer on shows like Saturday Night Live, but it was Seinfeld that brought him fame. This sitcom centered around comedian Jerry Seinfeld – playing a version of himself – and was famously described as a “show about nothing.” It saw Jerry and his friends Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Kramer (Michael Richards) and George (Jason Alexander) dealing with life, love and career woes in New York
Seinfeld got off to something of a slow start in terms of ratings, and the first season – consisting of only five episodes – is still one of the smallest sitcom orders in TV history. After a few years it became a huge success and is now regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms ever made. Larry David himself exited Seinfeld after season 7, though later returned to for “The Finale,” the last episode that was largely considered a disappointment.
Larry David would later achieve success with his own sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, where like Seinfeld he played a fictional version of himself. The series is based around improv from the cast with most of the cringey humor coming from David’s own social awkwardness, ignoring social conventions and being unable to let go of petty gripes. This proved a robust comic formula, with the show receiving critical acclaim. Curb Your Enthusiasm season 5 finale “The End” teased the ending of the show itself, with Larry on death’s door after – reluctantly – donating a kidney to friend Richard Lewis.
Curb Your Enthusiasm’s “The End” sees Larry on his death bed surrounded by his wife and loved ones. As he’s passing, he pulls long-suffering manager Jeff (Jeff Garlin) closer and states “You really never should have let me do that Seinfeld TV Guide cover. I look like a real a-hole.” Later, after David has died and gone to heaven he gets into a fight with his guardian angels – played by Dustin Hoffman and Sacha Baron Cohen – over his DVD cover “system” and then over them letting him do the Seinfeld TV Guide cover.
The TV Guide cover he’s referring to comes from 2004, which reunited the cast of Seinfeld alongside a smiling Larry David for the first time since the show ended. It’s not that awful of a cover but David was clearly unhappy with how he appeared and decided to make a couple of lighthearted jabs at it during Curb Your Enthusiasm’s season 5 finale. While a proper Seinfeld reunion has been repeatedly ruled out, the cast did reunite for a fictional new season during Curb Your Enthusiasm’s seventh season.