“The Spite Store” sees Larry’s petty project a success, but his own stubbornness (and a rogue giant *****) might be his undoing.
This recap of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 10, “The Spite Store”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that nothing takes off in Hollywood quite like petty grudges, and Larry David’s “spite store” Latte Larry’s has proved a roaring success. The trend of celebrities using their clout to put rivals out of business has extended to a deli owned and operated by Jonah Hill, and a bedraggled Sean Penn peddling exotic birds. It’s the most zen he has ever been, apparently, which is obviously not zen at all.
Larry himself, meanwhile, has a meniscus tear. Dr. Seiderman (Alex Karpovsky) suggests surgery, but Larry wants a second opinion, much to the good doctor’s disgust. This, along with the various spite stores, is another running subplot of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 10, and it’ll crop up again soon.
Meanwhile, meet Joey Funkhouser (Chaz Bono), nephew of Freddy (Vince Vaughn). Joey has transitioned and given himself a giant new *****, which Larry catches a glimpse of at the country club. Reporting the enormous member to Jeff (Jeff Garlin) and Leon (JB Smoove), Larry insists it’ll be trouble. Leon reveals his own membership in the “Big Johnson” community, many meetings of which have apparently occurred at Larry’s house while he’s out of town. Guys with big Johnsons get together and discuss the various drawbacks, such as the inability to fit into underwear, and Larry thinks it’ll be good for Joey, who is now working at the spite store. The house next door to Larry’s is also for sale, by the way, and being sold by a real estate agent that Larry, perhaps predictably, can’t stand.
Another subplot of Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 10, Episode 10 is the misuse of sirens by the emergency services; Larry first encounters it when some firemen use their sirens to hurry to the spite store. It’s Joey’s first day there, and he’s a bit dismayed by the lack of a tip jar. Larry’s views on tipping, which I’m sure service industry workers will be thrilled about, are that it’s basically begging: “You might as well be outside with a cup.” A blast from the past arrives in the form of Alice (Megan Ferguson), who is experiencing memory loss after choking on a scone and can’t recall Larry, who introduces himself as Buck.
Larry later tells Jeff and Susie (Susie Essman) about this encounter, but they’re interrupted by her friends, Tara (Mary Holland) and Will Cooper (Sam Richardson), an interracial couple who’re expecting a baby any minute now. Larry, being Larry, can’t help but ask deeply inappropriate questions, starting with whether surprise can induce labor, and eventually moving to which shade of skin both parents would prefer — this causes such a commotion that they both leave, but not before Will loans Larry his broken watch so that he can get it fixed. The watch is a priceless family heirloom, so you just know it isn’t going to end up as good as new.
Dr. Fuller (Tommy Dewey) provides Larry’s second opinion on his meniscus: Turns out he doesn’t need surgery after all, and some physical therapy will do the trick. There’s an obvious rivalry between the two doctors. On his way out of the hospital, Larry catches a paramedic abusing the siren. He returns to Dr. Seiderman to tell him Dr. Fuller’s diagnosis and feels so bad that he volunteers for the needless surgery, though Seiderman won’t let him.
The jewelers’ Larry usually uses is another victim of the spite store epidemic, and has been put out of business by a jeweler’s next door run by Mila Kunis. She was inspired by Larry himself, but she doesn’t fix watches — she’s just there for spite.
According to Jeff, Will and Tara still aren’t talking. At the country club, Larry once again finds Joey “not respecting the drought” and gives him a quick lesson on shaving using minimal water, accidentally leaving Will’s watch on the sink without realizing. When he returns, the watch has been knocked to the ground and smashed thanks to Joey’s errant schlong. Larry reports this to Freddy when he comes into the store, but he brushes it off — “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” Alice also returns to the spite store, but one of the dry scones inadvertently triggers her memories of choking — and Larry. She runs outside, gets knocked over and falls into the arms of Mocha Joe (Saverio Guerra).
Larry goes to see Will and — while grappling with his fancy furniture — confesses that the watch is broken. But there’s no time to linger on the matter since Tara goes into labor. Larry offers to drive Will there, and in the hospital, he runs into both Dr. Fuller and Dr. Seiderman. He’s able to distract them into an argument by asking them to recommend a jeweler, giving him the chance to escape and see Tara and Will’s newborn baby, who is, he thinks, too light-skinned for the name they’ve chosen. Naturally, they throw him out.
Meanwhile, an alliance is formed as Alice tells Mocha Joe about working with Larry and intending to sue him for sexual harassment. This proves useful since the spite store is about to burn down, giving Mocha Joe the opportunity to file a lawsuit. The fire naturally ties together all of the episode’s on-going subplots, since Joey, left to close up, knocks a self-heating mug into a box of paper with his giant *****, and the fire trucks can’t get there in time since Larry cuts them off in traffic, assuming they’re abusing the sirens. All the stupid things Larry did in setting up the store, from the bolted tables to the bottles of Purell — so that’s where they went! — and the absence of toilets only exacerbated the fire, meaning he’ll probably be investigated for arson.
Seizing the opportunity, Mocha Joe and Alice use the settlement money to buy the house next door. It’s a spite house.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.