Because its fate rests on the whims of creator Larry David, the return of Curb Your Enthusiasm always feels like a big deal. Kind of amusing considering the show focuses so tightly on the smallest of slights and the most banal of trivialities.
David's obsession with cultural norms and the way things are supposed to work has not only driven Curb for an astonishing 20 years now, but also powered Seinfeld , the best sitcom of the 90s, which he co-created with Jerry Seinfeld.
Famously considered a "show about nothing," Seinfeld was, in fact, a show about everything. A comedy of manners where the most self-centred group of characters ever seen on television took great umbrage whenever the so-called rules of life were flagrantly abused or ignored.
Unless, of course, it was our heroes who were playing fast and loose with those unofficial rules, as they often were.
On the show Jerry's neurotic best friend George Costanza was the stand-in for David's point of view. In what can be considered a foreshadowing of Curb's entire ethos, a scene in an early episode titled The Chinese Restaurant showed a frustrated George exploding at a payphone long talker and a line cutter who'd dashed in front of him with, "You know we're living in a society; we're supposed to act in a civilised way!".
In the opening scene of Curb's new season, (Thursdays on Sky's SoHo2) David, now playing an exaggeratedly cantankerous version of himself, exacts swift justice for two societal transgressions in a completely uncivilised way.
Firstly, he snatches, then snaps the selfie stick of a happy couple who are blocking the footpath to take a photo. Continuing on his way he encounters a row of electric hire scooters parked on the footpath and casually topples them as if they were dominoes.
In Larry's World these are the consequences for path blocking and corporate litter.
As a writer David has been rightly applauded for the tight, circular scripting of his shows, so naturally I expected comeuppance for these clearly uncivilised acts of justice. The selfish selfie takers and the downed scooters would surely somehow pop back up to thwart any potential happy ending for our righteous, if ill-advised, hero.
But no. Instead, these two strands of 'classic Curb ' set-ups were immediately discarded in favour of David instead bumbling his way into the three main story arcs that will drive this tenth season.
A heated disagreement over the correct serving temperature of coffee sees him promptly banned from the new cafe of his old mate Mocha Joe. Dramatically vowing revenge, David leases the empty shop next door, planning to open his own cafe called Latte Larry's, and then undercut prices thus forcing Mocha Joe out of business. Mwahaha indeed. Although failure in this vengeful venture is all but guaranteed.
Later, he blunders his way into a #MeToo scenario after his attempts at signalling a cocktail waitress over at a house party are misinterpreted as a come on instead of an attempt to procure some of the delicious hors d'oeuvres she's serving. An ill-timed grab at the plate leads not to him procuring a delicious pig in a blanket but instead landing a hand on a breast.
And the third continuing storyline will follow the fallout from David's, shall we say, chance reunion with his ex-wife Cheryl, now the long-term partner of his long-term frenemy Ted Danson.
The skill in which these three major plot lines are so efficiently deployed is masterful. Because despite planting all the seeds for the season, the episode still finds time for David to get embroiled in ongoing verbal altercations with a pregnant gym member, some gleefully antagonistic exchanges with his old sparring partner Susie Greene and plenty of hugely funny conversations with his housemate Leon Black, including one side-splitting convo where Leon coins the phrase, "retapping ass".
And, as if all that wasn't enough, there's also a full storyline that follows David's delight in discovering the unexpected benefits of wearing Trump's MAGA hat.
The episode may be densely packed but the execution feels effortless and most of all, is hilarious. After season nine's big production of Fatwa: The Musical this feels like a throwback to the early seasons of Curb which were laser focused on David dealing with the fallout of just being David.
Fearlessly taking on topics like MAGA, #MeToo, and Harvey Weinstein would generally be considered ill-advised but the genius of Larry David is in the way he goes there and mines comedy gold from such rotten apples.
After only one episode it's far too early to call how the season will play out but so far it's looking pretty, pretty, pretty good.