She serves as one of the primary antagonists of the show.
She appears to have a Slavic accent and may be from Eastern Europe. It it is highly implied that she and her husband are from Croatia, due to the Croatian flag and a picture of the Zagreb cathedral in the background of the episode "Ida's Dance" the same episode where she and a group of women who are exactly like her, celebrate St Grotus's day, a holiday native to Eastern Europe, and many of the traditions were applied respectively such as "the dance where mistakes are long remembered" and the baking of the enormous tart that was hard to make and didn't taste good.
Ida once met a wealthy Chinese man named Mr. Li. She drugged him continuously to put him in a state of bliss, then planned to marry him. The Wilkersons discovered what Ida was doing at the wedding, and she wasted all of the pills on them so they couldn't call the police. The drugs wore off on Mr. Li and he immediately left. Lois claimed that this was one of the most diabolical things Ida has ever done.
One of the many aspects of her selfishness is that she hired a slave to work for her named Raduca(portrayed by Rheagan Wallace). She later revealed that the main reason she brought her to America was to marry Raduca and Reese, and she made Reese and Malcolm compete to marry Raduca in challenges. The first challenge involved the boy's ears being tied to strings and the first one to step back five spaces was the winner; Reese won this challenge. The second challenge involved trying to escape a bag with a fighting pitbull and a cat inside; Reese won this challenge as well. Malcolm won the next challenge because it dealt with intelligence, but even though Malcolm won, Reese eventually married Raduca in Las Vegas.
It was shown in the two part episode Baby Part 1 and Baby Part 2, that Ida is a real bigot towards black people. Lois, Francis and Piama used Abe and his poker buddies in their scheme to drive her away. Ida eventually moves in with her younger daughter Susan when she explains the misunderstanding.
It was also revealed in Garage Sale, that both Victor and Ida favor Susan because she was talented and high class. She has called on her when she needed help. Ida has also treated Lois with contempt because she was classless, bossy and untalented. It was also shown in Victor's Other Family, that she despises his secret family and demands for Sylvia's family to hand over Victor's pension to her. During the trip to Mr. Dietrich's office, the pension is revealed to be 30 dollars in Canadian and because of the dispute with the other family, he isn't confident in breaking even. Lois pleads with Ida to drop the case, but she refuses. When confronted why, she tells her that she doesn't care if she loses money on it, she is Victor's common law wife and is entitled to his pension. The only time she has shown love for Lois was while she was attempting to help her with a potential lawsuit for the pension against Sylvia's family. She encouraged Ida to work on her behavior so that way people can see her as more than a miserable, chain-smoking and greedy person. It was eventually revealed that Ida had a relationship with a man named Radu Gogorsky whom was Lois' biological father and not Victor. Upset at the revelation and now realizing that her mother is always gonna be a monster, Lois abandons the case and returns to California with Reese, Malcolm and Jamie.
In the episode "Ida loses a leg" it was shown she has great care for her family while outside smoking a cigarette, she observes Dewey chase after his toy car into the street with a dumpster truck who is speeding toward him distracted by flossing his teeth. Ida then runs into the street to push Dewey out of harms way losing her leg in the process. Later into the episode Dewey makes a leg model of Ida's leg in which he thanks it for saving his live only to have his new dog dig it out of the ground and carry it into the garage. Hal and Dewey attempt to lure out Champion (Dewey's dog) by throwing steaks and poking them with a stick, they later end sence with Hal telling him to "Live up to his potential, they later decide to get rid of the dog.
Ida is greedy, racist, manipulative, black hearted, chain-smoker, and is quick to take offense. Despite the fact that she makes the lives of everyone she interacts with a living hell, she complains about her own life almost every time she opens her mouth. There is absolutely no pleasing her as she finds the dark side of even the nicest and most normal things in the world and always finds something to complain about. The whole family hates her, though Reese is shown to still have some love for her. She is cruel to the point that she stabs Francis in the thigh with a knitting needle, decides to sue Hal and Lois after slipping on a leaf, (Grandma Sues) injures Francis by squeezing his crotch, and withheld Christmas gifts because of minor offenses (Christmas). Hal even compares Ida leaving them alone to Christmas and members of the family have made it clear that they want Ida to die.
|“||He was a wonderful....wonderful man.....||”|
— Ida drunkenly talking about her late husband
Ida seemed to have a good relationship with her late boyfriend who she considered her husband and the two were a perfect couple as they were both terrible parents and grandparents. Ida seemed to be very saddened when her husband died.
However, Ida was unaware that Victor was often very disgusted by her and thought little of her. He often left to have affairs with other women. Throughout their "marriage", he often left Ida to raise Lois by herself. Victor married to another woman, a good natured lady named Sylvia and he had a daughter, Roberta with her. With his other family, Victor is more of a loving father to them then he was with Lois. When she was growing up, he suspects that Lois wasn't his daughter and Ida had been lying to him the whole time. Victor often came back to Ida mainly because he loved Susan and was an idyllic father to her too. He didn't care for Ida and Lois in any manner. In Victor's Other Family, it was revealed that she wasn't legally married to Victor at all and that she had an affair with Radu Gogorsky.
|“||Reese I have watched you grow all these years! You are the one hope for this family!||”|
— Ida to Reese
|“||Let him go! It's the little one that owes me his life.||”|
— Ida to Francis and Lois after she saved Dewey's life
Dewey's feeling on Ida, on the other hand, are very clear. Dewey is afraid of Ida, not only because of the obvious fact that she's a horrible person, but also because of multiple things she did to him when he was very young, shown by flashbacks in the episode "The Grandparents". One of them revealed that she dropped Dewey on his butt as a baby.
|“||Can't you do the entire family a favor and just die?! All you have ever done is treat us like dirt! You shouldn't even be allowed to be a grandma!||”|
— Francis to Ida after she stabs him in the leg
|“||The closest thing we have to a boy is you.||”|
— Ida to Malcolm after being informed of the shortage of boys to compete in her challenges to marry Raduca
|“||Who the hell is Jamie?||”|
— Ida asking who Jamie is after Lois tells her he is playing with her smokes
|“||Hal we can't do that she's my mother! My twisted horrible monster of a mother.||”|
— Lois to Hal after he threatens to throw Ida out of the house
Although the two are never seen interacting on screen, Susan appears to have a much better relationship with her mother than Lois due to the fact Susan was heavily favored over Lois growing up. Ida also seems to prefer staying with Susan than she does with Lois although the two have had conflict a few times in the series such as when Ida left her due to Susan telling her the answer to "Wheel of Fortune". Ida is actually the reason Susan and Lois don’t get along not Hal because for her entire life Ida favored Susan and made her believe that she was inferior to Lois because while she treated Lois like a slave she and victor treated Susan as a princess.
|“||We'll be separated from her by the entire molten core of a planet! It's like Christmas!||”|
— Hal about Ida's plans on moving to China
In Victor's Other Family, Ida mentioned having an affair with Radu Gogorsky while being married to Victor. It was unclear what she thought of him, but she had an affair with Gogorsky to spite Victor after learning about his relationship with Sylvia and that has lead to Lois' birth. It was implied that Gogorsky never knew that she was his daughter because Ida not only didn't tell him, but also she stopped seeing him after Victor returned to her. When Lois confronted her since her blood type didn't match Victor's own for the DNA test, Ida was forced to admit that Gogorsky is her birth father and that Victor fathered Susan. Angered and betrayed at Ida for lying to her all those years, Lois willingly abandoned Ida's case and escaped with her boys back home.
In Victor's Other Family, Ida has a personal grudge with Sylvia. That grudge began years ago when she took Victor away, married him, had Roberta and stolen all of Ida's fancy items(including a couch she bought while she was in Paris). It got worse when Ida got violent on Sylvia years later during the first court case. She had lost the case thanks to a judge who was unconvinced that she was legally married to Victor due to her not having the proper marriage documents to prove she was married to him and was given a restraining order to stay away from Sylvia and her family. Ida violated that order by visiting them and Lois orders her to leave. From inside the living room, Sylvia reminds her that aside the restraining order and the police coming to arrest her, she is armed with a crochet hook. Ida ignores both of them, demanding that Sylvia's family surrender Victor's pension to her because she knows his she is entitled to that pension. Sylvia denies the knowledge of the pension, claiming she and her family never knew about it because Victor never told them. She also mentions that they only found out about his affair with Ida and the daughters she had with him. Ida is confident that once the truth is out, it will forever haunt Sylvia and her family for the rest of their lives. Lois quickly diffuses the situation by telling her that they will discuss it later when they're alone in her apartment. She makes her threat clear that unless Ida wants to have her wig removed to reveal both her tick scars and her bald head, she will quietly leave the house at once. Ida begrudgingly leaves the house, but not without warning Sylvia and her family that she will be back for revenge.
Later on, Lois discovered that Ida lied to her all her life and that she's not related to Victor and Roberta. Once she tells Sylvia this, she only agrees to sign over the pension as long as she never mentions sharing the same grudge as Ida for Victor's infidelity.