Because Larry David’s world is certainly one full of judging, slights, and winners and losers, each week during Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm we will be applying a keen eye to all of the show’s social chaos to effectively answer this question: Who won the week? We’ll also be handing out a few other stray awards, much as we did while ranking every episode of the series. Let’s get started with Sunday night’s episode, “Namaste.”
It’s amazing that it took nine seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm to put Larry David in a yoga class, an environment that seems scientifically engineered to irritate and troll Larry. Larry makes it clear he’s not there for spiritual enlightenment; he just has bad hamstrings. Obviously, conflict abounds: He refuses to say “namaste” at the end of the class, aggravating his seemingly placid instructor, Yogi Tina (Alison Becker), who Leon has the hots for — quite literally, because it’s a hot yoga class and everyone is dripping sweat profusely.
Yogi Tina isn’t the only person who’d like to put Larry in a stranglehold this week, A.J. Green–on–Jalen Ramsey–style. When Larry dents his car’s fender (or is it the bumper?), he pisses off Jeff’s mechanic friend Greg (Doc Farrow) by blurting out “You’re black!” at the shop. Larry didn’t think Greg sounded black on the phone; plus, he expected Jeff to tell him Greg was black because “most white people, when they have black friends, like to show off about it.” An aggrieved Greg informs Larry that the simple repair is going to take a few weeks, and he won’t lend him a rental. (Being held at the mercy of mechanics is a running theme in Larry David’s comedy, from a mechanic stealing Jerry’s car in Seinfeld’s “The Bottle Deposit” to Yari [Robert Smigel] leaving Larry with a “fuck machine” in Curb’s “Mister Softee.”)
That means Larry has to use a combination of Uber and public transportation in “Namaste,” which ends disastrously. He gets a one-star rating on Uber after telling his Romanian driver that Romanian women are unattractive and that “gorgeous Romanian woman” is an oxymoron. Meanwhile, his classist attitude gets him kicked off the bus after he asks a stranger to tell him when to get off the bus and asks the driver to go faster to breeze past yellow stoplights.
All in all, despite a promising first date with Susie’s friend Bridget (Lauren Graham), Larry had a rough episode and did not win the week; winners don’t get tossed off a bus by a group of strangers.
But Larry’s bad fortune left the door open for Leon to have a good week, and that he did. For starters, he does sleep with Yogi Tina — under hilarious circumstances, turning the heat up in Larry’s house to 92 degrees, because Yogi Tina, quote, “like that shit hot.”
But that’s not all. Aside from having hot yoga sex — the “optimal temperature for climaxing,” as Yogi Tina puts it — Leon also gets Larry out of paying damages to the stranger (Marc Evan Jackson) whose car he hit. When the man comes over to Larry’s place to get a check, Leon answers the door, which causes the stranger to freak out, much as Larry did when he first met Greg. “I’m sorry,” the man carefully says, “… I didn’t know you were black.”
Larry couldn’t be happier, as he hides behind a repairman who is trying to get the thermostat to go back down to a normal temperature after Leon and Tina jacked it up.
If you’re wondering, yes, this was probably the most Curb episode of this season of Curb. Now for some other awards.
Best Larryism: “Yeah, not a namaste guy. I don’t participate in group activities. You know, I don’t sing the birthday song.”
Best Cameo: Graham as Larry’s newest love interest, Bridget. Graham’s used to chatting up a storm from her days on Gilmore Girls, and she kept up with Larry’s cranky wit perfectly. The relationship will probably blow up in a week or two, because Larry can’t have nice things for long, so let’s not take these moments for granted.
Worst-Timed Joke: Larry gives his repairman a Sophie’s Choice for repairing an A/C unit or a heating unit — marking the second time in two weeks that Larry made a concentration camp joke after an IRL controversy while hosting Saturday Night Live. The timing is incredible. You can’t make this stuff up.
Most Random 1950s Pop Culture Reference: Susie and Larry using Leave It to Beaver’s Eddie Haskell to talk about house-guest etiquette. (She’s really pissed that he goes upstairs, but Larry believes he’s earned “Haskell access.”) It doesn’t seem unfair, but Susie does point out that Eddie Haskell was a “kiss-ass, obsequious little shit.”
Come back next week as Larry bemoans a couple’s public makeout session (“You’re allowed to be happy but not in front of me”).
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.