So this week’s episode of our beloved Happy Endings was a fairly average episode. There were great parts, but on a whole it left me a little indifferent. Maybe it paled in comparison to the great episodes that the show has had the last few weeks, but this felt like more of a return to the uneven episodes of early season one.
In this episode Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) goes on a faux work retreat to avoid Jane’s (Eliza Coupe) sorority sister who visits every year, which gives him some enjoyable time alone. When Jane’s sorority sister cancels, Jane is left with a weekend by herself to enjoy spa treatments and mani/pedis. She finds out about Brad’s faux retreat through Max (Adam Pally) when he goes to the apartment to pick up something for him, but instead of getting angry at Brad, she also lies so that she can extend her weekend of solitary bliss. In the end they both find out that they lied and realize that time apart is okay.
This was a cute (and relatable) storyline, but it was lacking in execution. I often feel like the show gets an idea for a story and just fills it with jokes without fully fleshing out the plot. Sometimes this is good (ie: when all the jokes are hilarious), but here there were a few too many clunkers. When this happens the episode as a whole feels flat and uninteresting. Oh sure, Brent Musburger showed up (not sure exactly who he is). Oh the other hand, I did love The Boondocks shout out! That show is brilliant.
So what was going on with the rest of the gang? Penny (Casey Wilson) offered Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) a date with one of the men her co-workers tried to set her up with (since she was already dating someone). Naturally, though, after hearing about Alex’s amazing first date Penny gets jealous and wants to swap men. This story line was a little silly, but Casey Wilson is such an am(ah)zing comedic actress that she could make walking into a bar funny. She has seriously been the MVP this season. I mean, every interaction with the mean girls in “Baby Steps” (2×02)? Hilarious! Or that duet with Megan Mullally in “Yesandwitch” (2×03). Ok I digress; this storyline did had my favorite scene of the episode though. Why? Because it included Fred Savage!! (who also directed the episode – bonus!) That whole scene was so pitch perfect, it just made me miss Kevin Arnold…uh I mean Fred Savage all the more.
Meanwhile, Dave (Zachary Knighton) is losing customers to the hot dog stand parked next to his sandwich truck so he decides to make a commercial. The first attempt is a disaster until Max steps in, but the final ad ends up being vague and – ironically – more of a commercial for hot dogs. This storyline had some of the flattest jokes of the night (an old spice commercial? Really?) And the “professional commercial” wasn’t even that funny. I feel like they could’ve made it so much funnier and outlandish. Instead they decided to go for the old local business man in a commercial joke, which is old and played out.
This storyline is a good demonstration of my biggest problem with this season so far: What has happened to Max? Last season he was given some really interesting storylines and it felt like his character was being developed. When did he become a caricature of himself? He is not being given anything to do other than drive a limo! I feel like he is becoming the Joey Tribbiani of this show, which would really be sad because the last few seasons of Friends was unbearable because of Joey…and Phoebe…and Monica…well they were all annoying really. But this is only the second season of Happy Endings! This show should be fleshing out the characters instead of creating over the top caricatures. That’s for season 7 and 8 (Or seasons 3-8 if you’re Will and Grace).
On the whole the episode was clunky, but with some good bits. Here hoping for a bit more consistency next week!