"Call Me Irresponsible" features Rhea Perlman at her best on this show. I love the Carla character. A sharp-tongued, quick-hitting, witty, and yet eerily vulnerable woman. Rhea Perlman gave dimensionality to her role, which is difficult to achieve given her personality traits but absolutely essential to her effectiveness. Perlman makes this episode a winner.
Dan O'Shannon and Tom Anderson wrote this yarn late in Season 7. The episode focuses on Carla's growing impatience for Eddie's gift to Carla for their anniversary. A string of events unfolds in which she predicts that Eddie has left a gift. But each time she is disappointed, sometimes in heartbreaking fashion, when each gift is revealed to be nothing at all. An especially memorable moment is when Carla opens Eddie's laundry to find no gift. Director Burrows wisely quiets the bar to make the scene as effective as possible. Perlman's silent desperation is killer here. And as Carla yet again promises that Eddie will remember, the vulnerability masked by her snide sarcasm is remarkably tragic and effective.
As usual, this episode balances the comedy and drama well. Woody decides to join the gambling pool. And as the basketball game begins, he wins each quarter. At first, he angers the bar with his egotistically proud reaction. Then he angers the bar with his silent gratitude. Both sequences are chuckle-worthy. But Rebecca's win (She enters the contest for the first time as well) is the most memorable. As she flashes the money in front of Woody's face, Cheers reminds us just how cursed Rebecca is. That wouldn't be a law enforcement official at the bar now, would it? Classic.
Jay Thomas finally appears as Eddie LeBec at the end of the episode as he calls Carla just under the wire. This would be the last time we see Eddie on the show (unfortunately). His scene, while hardly memorable, is appropriately meager in tone -- as Carla is certain that Sam is behind the phone call. It makes for a fulfilling and somewhat bittersweet ending to the episode.
"Call Me Irresponsible", while hardly masterpiece material, is most certainly successful at its task. Can't ask for more than that.