In this week’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry took things to the next level with Irma Kostroski in hilarious fashion.
The eighth episode of the season begins with Larry calling Jake at Hulu, telling him they have to recast the young Larry part (again) and it’s going to be a couple of weeks. But before Larry gets to Jake, he makes small talk with Jake’s assistant who makes a joke and says, “Ba dum bum,” to drive it home. Larry is displeased with this particular turn of phrase, and with the fact that Jake’s assistant listens in on Jake’s calls. As Larry David often does, he makes his displeasure known.
Larry then reconnects with Irma Kostroski (Tracey Ullman), who is still salty that he cost her favored mayoral candidate the election in last week’s episode by not voting. Larry gives Irma some flowers and apologizes. “Everybody’s disappointed in me at some point,” he says. Larry asks if he can take Irma out to dinner to make it up to her, and she agrees – although not tonight. She’s finishing up a cleanse for a colonoscopy, because Irma continues to be shockingly repulsive.
While waiting in line at the pharmacy with Jeff, Larry reveals that his endgame here is to get Irma to repeal the city law that says you must have a fence around your pool, so he can get around the blackmail and fire Maria Sofia from his show. Jeff, meanwhile, is buying some lilac body wash to mask the fact that he’s having an affair with Jake’s assistant.
Back at home, a plumber (played by Horatio Sanz) arrives at Larry’s house to say he has to replace parts in the house. Leon (J.B. Smoove) thinks something’s not right, so he follows the plumber to his truck. He comes back and says the plumber has agreed to do the work for $50. “You know what you are, you’re like a house husband,” Larry says to Leon. This gives Larry the idea to start a business called House Husband, where Leon could step into situations where someone might be taken advantage of. “It’s a little sexist, the name, a House Husband, but listen, I would avail myself of it,” Larry explains. “I’m a guy.”
Ted Danson shows up at the house to tell Larry he can’t work with Maria Sofia, but during the visit Cheryl calls Ted to say a mechanic says she needs a new transmission, and that it’ll cost $4,000. Larry calls Leon into the room and enacts his new House Husband plan. Leon acquiesces, and we get a lovely montage of Leon helping out Cheryl, Susie and others in similar situations with his no-nonsense attitude.
Larry takes Irma to dinner, during which he and Irma immediately annoy the waiter with odd requests (no surprise here but they’re arguably a waiter’s worst nightmare). Irma’s daughter Deirdre (played by Madeline Wise) shows up and meets Larry, during which she complains that the electricity in her house isn’t working. Irma’s daughter has a DVD of “Little Women” in her bag, to which Larry remarks that he’s not a fan. “I can’t understand those March sisters, they get on my nerves.” Irma’s daughter pushes back, and the two get into a brief argument where Larry lays into one of the most beloved pieces of literature ever written.
Larry asks Irma about the law that residents have to put a 5-foot fence around their pool. She notes that the law was passed before she became a councilwoman, but doesn’t disagree with it. She’s not going to be easily convinced, so Larry suggests they go back to his place after dinner. “I haven’t had sex with anyone in 13 years,” Irma says. Larry is about to make a big mistake.
Post-coital, Irma says, “It was better than I expected. But I have low expectations.” Undeterred, Larry jumps back into the conversation about the pool fence, trying to convince Irma to see his side. She’s not that interested, and instead asks to borrow his toothbrush. He says no, so she pulls her retainer out and goes to sleep. “What have I done?” Larry mouths as his new bedtime companion turns over.
The next morning, Larry and Irma are sitting in the kitchen together, arguing about a sweater. Leon arrives and looks puzzled, to say the least. Irma is put-off by Leon’s language, “He comes in all effing and jeffing,” then complains about her gas because she is the worst. She steps out to take a call, and Leon understandably asks, “What the f–k man?”
Irma says Larry made an awful impression with Deirdre, and notes that she can’t be seeing someone her daughter doesn’t like. Larry panics and begs for a second chance, so Irma invites Larry to a party at Deirdre’s house.
Larry calls Deirdre’s office to find out what time the party starts, but ends up getting into an argument with Deirdre’s assistant when he asks her not to listen in on their phone call. He says all he needs is the time of the party, and she says 6:00.
Larry shows up to the party at 6, but when he arrives Deirdre says the party starts at 7 — Larry is convinced the assistant gave him the wrong time on purpose. Deirdre’s a bit annoyed (understandably), and Deirdre and her husband try to get Larry to leave and come back at 7, but he doesn’t want to leave. “I can sit here and guest without a host,” Larry says. Deirdre goes to take a shower and Larry starts to wander around the house. The doorbell rings, and he answers and lets the videographer in. Larry comments on the fact that the videographer tucks in his sweater, saying it’s weird. The videographer, as so many in Larry David’s path do, moves on.
As Deirdre and her husband are getting ready, they see Larry fiddling around with objects in one of their rooms. Larry is caught on camera using a back scratcher, flossing his teeth in a glass door and spinning around in a chair. “Hopefully he’ll just wear himself out,” Deirdre’s husband remarks. Then Larry is caught taking his pants down and tucking his sweater into his pants, inspired by the videographer.
Scott and Deirdre renew their wedding vows in front of the guests. The videographer scans the room to pick up audience reactions, and catches Larry making a gagging motion with his finger. When Larry realizes he’s been caught, he goes to talk to the videographer to ask him to erase him from the tape. The videographer declines, and when Larry realizes the videographer’s name is Samuel Tenenbaum, he asks if he could give him another take as a fellow Jew. The videographer reluctantly agrees, and catches a wildly emotional performance from Larry.
Irma shows up late, and Susie notices Jeff greeting her effusively. She then smells the lilac body wash on Irma – the same body wash Jeff’s been using — and wrongly fingers her for someone Jeff is having an affair with. She makes a huge scene.
Scott and Deirdre later watch the tape of their vow-renewal and are moved by Larry’s crying. “I have to text my mom,” Deirdre says.
At the end of the episode, a montage reveals that all of Leon’s “House Husband” advice he’s been spewing across town has gone wrong. “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?” Larry says to Leon. Scenes of pipes bursting, cars not starting and then finally, the electricity in Irma’s house going out while she’s walking down the stairs. As a result, Irma moves in with Larry until her house is fixed. She gives him a laundry list of honey-do’s, and he agrees to all of them – he’s determined to get this law changed.
Because of the flood at her house, Susie finds Jeff’s secret second phone. She calls Jake at Hulu, asks to keep the assistant on, and says, “She’s f–king my husband. Ba dum bum.” End of episode.
Irma Kostroski makes a better second impression than a first one, as Ullman’s performance hit new levels of funny this week. This season-long affair with a woman Larry finds repulsive just so he can get himself out of a jam is proving to be comedic gold, and it’ll be fun to see where this one ends up. As for the rest of the episode, the montage of Larry fiddling around Deirdre’s house was certainly a highlight, and it was nice to see Madeline Wise after her excellent turn in HBO’s short-lived comedy series “Crashing.”
Next week, Bill Hader arrives!