Every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm could be one of the most memorable. Each by itself was a gem that went beyond just entertaining us and making us laugh, to teaching us an aberrant social lesson — all from the warped mind of Larry David. 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of this offensive, outrageous and genius show that took the cringiest parts of Seinfeld and turned them up to 11. After 15 years, here are the top 15 social rules that — while we hope you never follow — are part of the Curb legacy.
Social rule 1. If somebody despises you, get back into their good graces by telling them a lifesaving secret. It was no shock that Paul Reiser’s wife, Mindy, loathed Larry for always ignoring her. But when Wanda Sykes confided in him there might be a terrorist attack in L.A., he tells Mindy this lifesaving secret. When it turned out not to be true, Mindy went right back to hating Larry once again.
Social rule 2. At least 50 percent of all men accused of having a small penis are the victims of women with big vaginas. When Jeff is accused of having a wee winkie, Larry can’t wait to confront him, until Jeff promptly explains that it isn’t his small member, but Nurse Lisa’s large vagina which made his shmanky seem smaller.
Social rule 3. If you want to know your friend’s wife’s bra size, you must reveal your wife’s bra size first. Cheryl insists their housekeeper, Maria, wear a bra or be fired, so Larry decides to buy Maria a bra. Susie is the same size, but when Larry asks Jeff what Susie’s bra size is, he wont give up the goods until Larry shares Cheryl’s measurements.
Social rule 4. The rule of dry cleaning: Sometimes, you get another person’s stuff by accident and you keep it, but it evens out since sometimes they get yours. When Larry’s dry cleaner loses his favorite baseball jersey, he learns this unwritten rule. When he enlists Senator Barbara Boxer to help him change the law, he finds her wearing a stranger’s pants.
Social rule 5. If you have nine children, it’s because you’re egotistical. When Larry learns that Cha-Cha’s boss, Bert, has nine children, he tells Bert, “It’s a little egotistical to have so many of you. You want to bring more of you into the world?”
Social rule 6. Anyone can play bongos; you don’t need skill to bang on something. Larry has a habit of thinking that other people’s jobs look easy. Bongos are just one, before that it was barber and car salesman!
Social rule 7. When splitting the check at dinner, you must coordinate the tip. When Larry tries to make a Seinfeld reunion happen, he and Jason Alexander go out to lunch and decide to split the bill. But when Jason refuses to coordinate the tip, Larry is humiliated when he finds out that Jason left twenty dollars more than he did.
Social rule 8. When you get a “non-recommend” recommend, don’t hire that person. Michael McKean plays an antagonistic director that Larry hates. When he asks Larry to recommend him for a project with Lewis, Larry does the non-recommend recommend, which Lewis misses completely. “I put quotes around it… I thought you would pick up that it was a non-recommend recommend!”
Social rule 9. There is a definitive way to eat caviar at a party. Take a little step away for twenty minutes, and then you can come back for more. Christian Slater finds this out the hard way at Ted and Mary’s party.
Social rule 10. The best way to get out of going to a party is to show up the next night and pretend you got the dates wrong. Larry doesn’t want to go to yet another boring Funkhouser party, so he shows up the following night; but the Funkhousers insist he join them anyway.
Social rule 11. Three days is the birthday cutoff. Larry is upset that he has to attend Ben Stiller’s birthday party two weeks after Ben’s birthday. He tells another guest you get three days, tops, “Any more than that, it’s not your birthday anymore, wait until next year!”
Social rule 12. There is a “sorry window.” Two years after someone dies, don’t expect anymore “sorrys.” Larry says, “It’s like saying Happy New Year in October.”
Social rule 13. The five second hug rule. Auntie Ray found out the hard way (pun intended) that Larry couldn’t control his erection when a hug lasted longer than five Mississippis.
Social rule 14. Doctors’ offices shouldn’t bother with appointments, they should get numbers like a bakery. Larry’s strict rules begin right at the very beginning of the show. In season one, episode five, his doctor sees a patient who signed in before him, even though her appointment was after his.
Social rule 15. The best way to handle someone talking loudly on their cell phone in public is to talk even louder to nobody in particular. In the episode “The TiVo Guy,” Larry is dining next to a very loud Bluetooth user. When the guy won’t lower his voice, Larry begins to talk to himself at top volume.