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, “The Accidental Text on Purpose.”
It was a weekend of uncomfortable moments for Larry David, comedian and character. On Saturday, real-life Larry David joked about how difficult it would be to pick up women at a concentration camp to a notably subdued Saturday Night Live audience. Then on Sunday night, Curb Larry David upended an entire dinner party by insulting Marty’s new girlfriend, Marilyn (Elizabeth Perkins), and her gross-tasting tap water. For what was probably the hundredth time, Larry was kicked out of a dinner before the main course.
However, say what you want about Larry’s lack of a filter—even if he’s a fan of a good Brita—in “The Accidental Text on Purpose,” he was genuinely trying to help out his friends. Though, in typical Curb fashion, his help could do only so much.
First, after the disastrous dinner, Larry teaches Jeff and Marty about the titular “accidental text on purpose.” The idea is simple, but brilliant. For example: Marilyn was pissed at Marty for Larry’s tap water outburst, so Marty “accidentally” sent her a text, addressed to Larry, condemning Larry’s behavior and talking about how special she is. And it worked! That is, until Susie broke down the concept in front of Marilyn, which led to Marty’s heartfelt confession about the quality of her tap water—“Like I took a straw and put it in a frog’s ass!”—and their subsequent breakup. Elsewhere, Richard Lewis had equally bad luck with his new love interest, Rhonda (Andrea Savage), after prematurely calling her his girlfriend after a couple of dates—c’mon, Richard, you have to wait until at least date no. 5!
So who won this week? Overall, there were no winners among Larry’s friend group, and Larry’s awful (and super familiar) airplane experience at the beginning of the episode was miserable enough to take him out the running for what would have been a second straight win. In “The Accidental Text on Purpose,” the winner didn’t reveal himself until the final scene.
While Larry was out of town, his dusty BMW was vandalized by someone who wasn’t pleased by how Larry was treating his car. Larry responded in kind, twice.
The exchanges culminated with the culprit, who clearly binged American Vandal, etching out a giant penis on the car; the final straw before Larry had to send it to the carwash. Relative to the American Vandal dicks, this is a worthy pastiche—he even added the ball hairs!
At the carwash, the vandal is revealed to be Larry’s neighbor, Dave (Benjamin Koldyke), who not-so-subtly gives himself up: “I look at a dirty car, Larry, and I feel sorry for it. It’s almost like it’s screaming out, ‘Wash me! Wash me!’” Larry can’t help but be impressed by his worthy adversary.
Touché, Dave. I think you not only won this week, but the entire season.
Best Larryism: “I’m happy to play with a reprobate if he has a good personality and I enjoy playing with him. I’ll play with reprobates.”
Best Tap Water Insult: “Goldfish would commit suicide in this water.”—Richard Lewis
Worst Accidental Text on Purpose: Jeff, because not only did Susie see through his ploy, but because he used it to go to a Rams game, which nobody in L.A. does.
Worst Airplane Slight: Lots to choose from—between a doctor ignoring a medical emergency and a woman lying about a bladder condition to steal an aisle seat—but Larry opening a luggage compartment just as another dude puts his bag in the only available spot is just so annoying, so petty, and so familiar.
Come back next week as Larry discovers he has a one-star rating on Uber. (Who among us is surprised by this?)
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.