‘The Accidental Text On Purpose’ Was This Season’s Weakest ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ So Far

Senior Television Writer
11.05.17 34 Comments

HBO

A quick review of tonight’s Curb Your Enthusiasm coming up just as soon as I give a premature “honey”…

Early in “The Accidental Text on Purpose,” Larry finds himself at a dinner party where he meets both Marty Funkhouser’s new girlfriend Marilyn, played with appropriate disdain by Elizabeth Perkins, and Richard Lewis’s new love interest Rhonda, played by Andrea Savage. Earlier this year, Savage created and starred in Tru TV’s I’m Sorry, a very Curb-like comedy about a well-to-do comedy writer with a knack for offending. At the time, I considered it an amusing Curb substitute to sate my hunger while waiting for the real thing. Now, I’m starting to realize I preferred it to what we’ve gotten of the genuine article this year.

Some of this is obviously the difference in expectations, and a lot of what I’ve found wanting in previous Curb installments this season has suffered in comparison to the show’s Hall of Fame years. But “The Accidental Text on Purpose” was just a bad all-around episode of TV comedy, regardless of what title you put on it and what standard you hold it to. Other than a few stray bit of business that are just funny people being funny (Leon lamenting the brother he lost to a vagina, Funkhouser suggesting Marilyn’s water tasted “like I took a straw and put it in a frog’s ass”), almost none of it worked. At times — particularly the denouement to the mystery of who was defacing Larry’s filthy car(*), which involved a character we had never even seen before, and who was obviously the culprit the second h was introduced — I wasn’t even sure how it was intended to work.

(*) Another joke that reminded me of a comedy that made me laugh much more this year: Netflix’s surprisingly great American Vandal, which also raised important questions about who drew dicks on cars.

Larry’s eponymous theory about how his friends can apologize to people through strategic fake texts was at least a rare case this season of him seemingly having a good idea, even if Susie saw through it. But we got more of him being a jerk to service workers (which accomplished the difficult task of making me feel sorry for airline employees), more situations where his behaving like an ass has no real consequences (he doesn’t like Marty, and thus doesn’t care if Marilyn kicks him out of the dinner party), more running gags building to a payoff that never came (Larry’s skepticism that June Diane Raphael’s Bebe really has a medical condition that forces her to urinate frequently), and just too much story per episode, period.

I’m still here in the hopes we get one or two vintage episodes before this season’s out, but tonight was just not good.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@uproxx.com. He discusses television weekly on the TV Avalanche podcast. His next book, Breaking Bad 101, is on sale now.

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