Season 11 of Curb Your Enthusiasm has had its fair share of great guest stars, from Albert Brooks and Jon Hamm in the season premiere, Seth Rogen having a confrontation with Larry David, and especially Tracey Ullman as Irma Kostroski. When the list of Season 11 guest stars was announced, certainly one of the standouts was Bill Hader, who seems like a perfect fit with this largely improvised show. In the penultimate episode of Season 11, Hader finally makes his appearance as three different characters, and while Hader is always a joy on screen and inherently funny, this performance in triplicate doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
“Igor, Gregor & Timor” is named after Hader’s three characters, a trio of vaguely European people who look oddly similar to each other, despite their varying facial hair, and say “splendid” more than the average person. Jeff (Jeff Garlin) is trying to buy a vase for his wife Susie (Susie Essman) to apologize for cheating on her. Igor (Hader) works at a store that is selling a vase that is half the price of the one Susie wants. After making a deal for the vase, Jeff and Larry go to a hotel to ask if there’s anywhere good to eat nearby. The concierge Gregor (Hader) recommends Cafe Cukor, which apparently has great goulash. After Jeff and Larry try the goulash and find it to be disgusting, they complain to Timor (Hader) at the restaurant. This dislike of the goulash causes a ripple effect that leads to Igor deciding not to sell the vase to Jeff, even though the three men claim to not know each other.
Hader is good in the three roles, and there are delightful moments, such as Igor charging Larry $10,000 for the vase at the end of the episode because Seinfeld is in syndication, or Timor’s attempt to eat the disgusting goulash. While Hader’s characters are in direct conflict with Larry, it’s a muted conflict that feels more like a plot machination than an actual opportunity for Hader to have a moment to shine. Again, compared to someone like Rogen earlier this season, or even Kaley Cuoco as Larry’s new optometrist, this use of Hader isn’t quite as splendid as one would hope.
This is also very strange timing for “Igor, Gregor, & Timor,” as it’s the only episode this season to center around Jeff, which happens to occur less than a week after Garlin left The Goldbergs after multiple misconduct allegations and an HR investigation. It’s odd to have an episode where Larry talks about Jeff’s “risk-reward life,” to which Jeff states “the risk is my reward.” Sure, we’ve seen Jeff’s sexual infidelity on Curb Your Enthusiasm before, so it’s not exactly out of place, but it does feel like an unfortunate timetable for “Igor, Gregor, & Timor.”
“Igor, Gregor, & Timor” is also an extremely busy episode. Not only do we have the three Haders, and Larry and Jeff trying to get the vase, there’s also Larry saving a bicyclist from a fall, then trying to get his sweater back at the hospital, and a pedestrian who almost gets hit by Irma driving Larry’s car, which of course Larry later gets blamed for. In addition to all of this, though, is some very broad and weird moments between Larry and both Susie and Irma. Larry and Susie together is maybe the most underrated combination on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and watching them play against Irma has been one of the highlights of the back half of this season. Larry and Susie helping each other out throughout this season has been a great excuse to keep Susie a major part of this season.
But the continued irritation of Irma in Larry’s life remains funny. Irma’s revelation that she wants vaginal rejuvenation surgery as a thank you from Larry for trying to get the fence mandate lifted leads to some pretty over-the-top moments for the show. Having Susie, Irma, and Larry talking about the surgery together is wild, and leads to some great lines from Ullman, who says she wants a “designer vaginer” early in the episode, then saying a botched surgery ended up looking like a “melted cave.” Irma could’ve come off as too broad at the end of this season, yet it’s that overwhelming unpleasantness that works so well against Larry’s more simmering unpleasantness.
As the season comes to an end next week, it’s especially fun to see Larry starting to lose it, both over Maria Sofia’s involvement in Young Larry, and the new levels with which Larry can be disgusted by Irma. By this episode, Larry is just screaming angrily at Irma, which leads to some of the episode’s best moments. Larry is ready to burst, and it seems unlikely that he will be able to contain himself around Irma long enough to get the fence mandate to be lifted.
With the season finale next, it will be interesting to see how Season 11 wraps up all these storylines in a season that has frequently felt a bit disjointed. The Irma material is clearly pushing the narrative forward, but the three Hader cameos, and Larry’s attempt to get his sweater back from the injured bicyclist can at times feel like the show spinning its wheels. “Igor, Gregor, & Timor” is an enjoyable episode with some great broader moments, yet between this week’s episode and last week’s “What Have I Done?,” these last few episodes feel more in service of the season finale than in service of the individual episode.