Larry David learned a hard lesson about politics in this week’s installment of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The seventh episode of Season 11 begins at a political event for Santa Monica mayoral candidate Jimmy Mayhew, who’s being introduced by Susie. But in the crowd, Larry and Richard Lewis are bickering. While originally slated to appear in six episodes this season, Lewis had to bow out to recover from surgery, but was able to make an appearance for one episode. And boy we’re glad he did. (“When are you gonna die?” Larry asks Richard in the episode. “Will you please die?”).
The young actor who’s been cast in Larry’s new show as young Larry is in the crowd, so Larry taps the woman in front of him (played by the very funny Tracey Ullman) on the shoulder to ask her to get the man’s attention. But she’s annoyed at Larry’s tapping and they get into an altercation. “You mid-level celebrities, you think you’re so smart with all your banter,” she says. Susie spots the altercation from up front and is none too pleased.
At a reception after the speech, the man playing young Larry – named Asa (and played by Jon Rudnitsky) — gives Larry a pin to wear to stump for Mayhew. Larry, of course, is not a pin-wearing person, and you can probably guess where this is going given the running gag of Larry losing the star of his show in each episode this season thus far.
Larry catches up with Susie at the reception, who informs him the woman he tapped is named Irma Kostroski who’s a powerful city councilwoman. Larry is intrigued, and a plan starts formulating in his mind.
At the readthrough for the pilot episode of Larry’s show, Maria Sofia stuns with her horrible line readings, turning heads from those who were wowed by her audition tape (you know, the one in which she fought Cheryl and hurt Ted Danson). Keyla Monterroso Mejia continues to be a bright spot this season, and while this scene is her only appearance in Episode 7, here’s hoping we get more of Maria Sofia ahead.
After the readthrough, Asa tells Larry he’s unhappy with the coffee mug choices on the set, and indicates that he’s taking the role of Young Larry perhaps a bit too seriously. “Please, call me Larry,” he says to the real Larry David as he tells Larry he intends to go method for the role. Furthermore, he insists that coffee is very important to “his character” despite the fact that Larry says coffee didn’t matter to him at all. When the prop master comes up to Larry afterwards to note his displeasure with the young actor, Larry says to cut him some slack because he heard he was sexually abused as a young performer.
At Jeff and Susie’s house, Susie tries to convince Larry to canvas for Mayhew, which Larry declines. But when Larry learns the power of the city council, he takes an interest in Kostroski and decides to sit in on a city council meeting. Afterwards, he confronts and apologizes to Kostroski for tapping her and attempts to butter her up, and they leave each other cordially enough – but also abruptly, as she says she has a gas bubble that needs attending.
“It’s almost like she was made in a lab by Dr. Frankenstein,” Larry tells Leon when describing Kostroski. “He took the worst aspects of 10 different people and put them inside her.”
Back on set, the prop master confronts Larry again and gives him the details of Asa’s past trauma – as a 17-year-old he had a sexual encounter with “smokeshow” Italian actress Adriana Amante, and received a $400,000 settlement. Larry decides to confront Asa with this information. “Cut the shit. You were 17 years old. If a cactus touched your penis you would’ve been thrilled.” Asa asks Larry how he’d feel if he were in high school and an older famous actress had sex with him. “They would’ve named the high school after me,” Larry replies.
Larry calls up Irma, who invites him to canvas for Jimmy Mayhew with her. He agrees, but Larry gets carried away in the canvassing, making promises that Mayhew never did like “No child under 10 allowed in restrooms” and “He wants to get rid of the penny.” On one of their stops, however, they happen upon a book club being attended by Cheryl and Susie. They call BS on his sudden desire to volunteer to canvas. “That’s weird because you don’t even like people,” Cheryl says.
When Larry shows up to vote, he ends up in a really long line. One of the poll workers puts a pin on his shirt, against his wishes. He bumps into Asa, who says they need to get rid of the prop guy. They get into a fight, and Larry once again brings up Asa’s sexual encounter. Larry grabs an 18-year-old young man in line, shows him a picture of the actress from Asa’s encounter, and asks how he’d feel if she wanted to have sex with him. The young man says he’d love it. Frustrated, Asa walks away.
Back in line, Larry finds out the man in front of him intends to vote for Mayhew’s opponent, so he proposes they both get out of line and not vote since they’ll cancel each other out. The man agrees, and they both walk away. Larry throws his pin in the trash, but Asa witnesses everything from afar.
At the election results party, it’s revealed that Mayhew lost the election by one vote. Everyone at the party is upset, and Asa blows up Larry’s spot. “Larry David thought the line was too long.” The crowd is outraged, becomes a literal mob and runs Larry out. Roll credits.
This episode was fairly solid if lighter on laughs than other episodes this season. Ullman is swell, but as evidenced by the trailer for next week’s episode she’ll be back, so there’s an incomplete nature to Irma’s arc and Larry’s long game with her – and thus everything between the two feels like a joke without a punchline. Very good pin jokes, though.