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Curb Your Enthusiasm “Denise Handicapped”

October 20, 2009
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By Nat

denisehandicappedHow is it that every week Larry patches up his friendships? Ted Danson, Marty Funkhauser, Susie, are always happy to see him, but then he says or does something horribly offensive and they’re angry at him for the rest of the episode. If that’s the only interaction they have, how do they stay friends? What occurs during the interim that gets them from point B back to point A? That’s an episode in itself.

This week Larry manages to offend, in order, Rosie O’Donnell (by violently insisting that he pick up the tab); two new acquaintances who’ve adopted Chinese baby (by asking if she, “has any proclivity for chopsticks?”); Ted Danson (refusing to eat his pie); and of course Susie (by letting Sammy almost drown, which leads to Larry’s beloved Blackberry getting tossed into the ocean).

The bulk of the episode centers around Larry’s unwitting courtship of wheelchair-bound Denise (Anita Barone). Naturally this gives him a chance to explore the intricacies of dating the handicapped, which include negotiating the stairs at a ramp-less restaurant and the dangerously acrobatic art of love-making.

The funniest moments are provided by Leon (“We’re So Grateful They Kept” J.B. Smoove), who, with Jeff, seems to be the only other character operating on Larry’s wavelength:

“She was in my Blackberry under ‘Denise Handicapped’; that’s how I remember these names: I’ve got ‘Sean Yoga’—the yoga instructor, ‘Theresa Masseuse.’”

“I do the same thing: Like right here I got ‘Nancy Big Tits.’”

But there are a few too many plot threads that never come together. The sole purpose of the beach incident is to relinquish Larry of his phone numbers, which forces him to hunt for Denise’s house, leading him to offend Wendy Wheelchair (Amy Pietz), for whom he tries to make amends by inviting her to the same concert he invited Denise to…

In the strongest episodes, every scene serves a dual purpose of moving the plot forward and setting up something that will come back to bite Larry in the end, but this one lacks that satisfying resolution for which Curb is rightfully celebrated.

The cringe-moments are also predictable. When Larry and Denise say they couldn’t eat another bite and then Ted Danson buys them a slice of pie, you know what’s coming. The outcome of Larry asking Wendy Wheelchair if she knows Denise Handicapped is even more inevitable, and the resolution of Larry’s fight with Rosie just falls flat.

This week’s installment flies a little below autopilot; there’s plenty of awkward interactions and trademark faux-pas, but nothing stands out as fresh or genuinely shocking. Let’s hope it’s just filler and that Curb will be back on top next week. I for one will still be happy to see Larry.

6/10

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