My TV

10 February 2010

In Defense of ‘Accidentally on Purpose’

By // TV


For some reason, everyone seems to agree: the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose is not funny. The cable-loving, “high art consumers” that dictate to us what counts as “good” have all banded together to label the Jenna Elfman charmer as “pedestrian” and “broad”. And sure, me and my inner snob are completely willing to admit that the series has its flaws. But I honestly believe that it’s about time the critics backed off and took another look at Accidentally on Purpose.

Maybe don’t invest in Ashley Jensen, whom every critic worth their salt knows has been slumming it since she crossed over into the American market. Instead, focus on Jon Foster and his unparalleled charm. Look to Lennon Parham and her amazing comic timing as Billy’s quirky sister. Think about the Nicolas Wright’s gutsy performance, laugh out loud lines like “our black guy wasn’t named Ryan” and “Yeah, you tell me every year on Jewish Forgive-Me Day”, the oddball games the guys invent to amuse their 22-year-old brains, the awkward sweetness of Billie and Zack’s relationship, memorable moments like Pooch Hall faking a prosthetic arm in order to crash a high school reunion.

Ok, maybe I’m not making the most convincing of arguments that’s going to sway the opinions of the “high art consumers” who made their minds up long ago. But it’s decently difficult to make me laugh with anything that deserves to be called “pedestrian”, for crying out loud, I’m the girl who decided that Act V of Midsummer Night’s Dream was too “broad”. But I like Accidentally on Purpose. I like it a lot in fact. I certainly laughed harder at this most recent episode than I’ve laughed at The Office in quite some time. I enjoyed it far more than most 30 Rock this season and, as sad as this makes me to report, sometimes I’ve even preferred it to How I Met Your Mother (though, let it be known, this week’s HIMYM was fantastic in my opinion).

Accidentally on Purpose may not be ground breaking or important or even all that clever sometimes, but it’s sweet. It’s charming and endearing, reassuring and old-school and, sometimes, it can be REALLY funny. And it’s about time some of the high-minders stepped down off their pedestals and laughed alongside the rest of us.

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