Well it’s the new year, and I have already forgotten about my resolutions, but luckily a new episode of Happy Endings is here to distract me. The first half of this season has been a little rocky for our beloved show, but if this episode is any indication of what’s to come, then we are in for a treat. So much to discuss and gush over so let’s have at!The group was quickly broken up this week when everyone but Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) left the breakfast get together. Brad and Alex have never really had much screen time together without another character mediating, and this week’s episode played this angle up beautifully. Their attempts to have a conversation were some of the funniest scenes this show has done, not because it was over the top, but because of their honesty. We have all had those uncomfortable silences with people, even with those we call friends and especially the “in-laws”. You find yourself in that moment striving to come up with conversation. “Should I mention the weather?” “Maybe we can discuss work?” – I know I had a few of those moments over the holidays.
Of course this upsets Jane (Eliza Coupe) because she feels like her sister and her husband should be closer, so she demands that Brad and Alex hang out and find some common ground. After a failed attempt at lunch, where the most enthralling piece of conversation is, “are hip hop and rap the same thing?,” they decide to pretend to hang out to appease Jane. They inevitably run into each other at the movie theatre playing the newest romantic comedy and bond over their love of romantic situations and comedic high jinx. I have to say that Damon Wayans Jr. is quickly becoming the man of my dreams. I won’t even start on how good looking the man is (let’s keep it professional). Instead let’s talk about how hilarious he is and how he elevates every scene he’s in. If you’ve read these recaps before this might be old news, but I just need to spread the word aorund that this man is like buttah! His reaction to the fountain scene in the movie is priceless. “Oh my god, I would die. I. Would. Die.”
This is not to say that I got lost in his eyes and forgot about Elisha Cuthbert, because she also brought it. In her own words, “Here’s the chain, off it!” I love the way she plays her character. Too often dumb blondes are over the top and ridiculously simple (looking at you Brittany from Glee). Alex’s character is great because she owns her own business and seems to be fairly well adjusted, but can also be silly and stupid. Some of this strength is the writing, but a big part of why it works is because of Elisha Cuthbert’s comedic chops. She is more than capable of holding her own next to Wayans.
Meanwhile, Penny (Casey Wilson) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) were paired off as Penny starts dating Dave’s therapist, Richard Rickman (freakin’ Ken Marino!), or Rick Rickman, depending on your connection to him. This caused Dave to feel uneasy about the situation because he had bared his soul to this man and now Rick was dating one of his good friends. When Penny refuses to stop dating him, Dave shows up to dinner with Penny’s childhood therapist (freakin’ Faith Prince!). This led to tonight’s romantic curve ball. After leaving us in the last episode with the prospect of an Alex and Dave reunion, the episode hinted a romantic connection between Penny and Dave. Both Dave’s therapist and Penny therapist allude to the idea that they might have feelings for each other. Is the show setting up a love triangle?
I am not really sure how I feel about this. It seems a little left field considering how they left things in the last episode and I am not sure that Penny and Dave really have the chemistry needed for a great TV romance. Of course it could all have been a send up of romantic comedies as their scenes were cut between the cliched scenes of Brad and Alex’s rom-com, including the romantic exchange between Penny and Dave at the movie’s fountain set. Only time will tell where this little left turn will lead (if anywhere).
My only gripe about this storyline (and the episode) is the use of the guest stars. I love Ken Marino – he was seriously great in Veronica Mars as the sketchy private eye Vinnie Van Lowe – and they had the ever wonderful Faith Prince, the broadway Diva herself. It was a shame to see these great comedic actors given so little to do. Their characters were so boring. But it’s a small gripe for an episode filled with so many great moments, and really isn’t it all about the core group anyways?
The incident that launched all the storylines was Max (Adam Pally) and Jane’s conflict over a cardigan left at Penny’s. This storyline was very reminiscent of the fight between Max and Dave in the hilarious ‘The Code War’. Although not quite as funny as a male perm, this altercation did give us some hilarious zingers delivered by two fabulous comic actors doing what they do best: bringing the crazy.
Seriously, Jane and Max worked so well off each other, they need to be paired off more often. Choice lines of the episode:
Jane, tackling Max as he tries to run off with the cardigan: “Get back here, you gay!” To which he replies: “It’s like being attacked by a rake!”
They decide to settle the fight by seeing who is less vain. They pick out hideous outfits for the other person and the first to remove the outfit loses. Max’s all white-clubkid gone wrong ensemble with fuzzy hat and Princess Di t-shirt was by far my favorite, but Jane did look really ridiculous in her Mrs. Brady inspired get-up. Who ended up settling the bet? Hot firefighters (of course).
All in all, this was a great return to form for this show. Everything worked, from the crazy (Max and Jane) to the realistic (Brad and Alex). The jokes were great and the acting was on the mark. This is definitely an episode that ranks close to the now classic ‘The Code War’ as one of the funniest the show has ever done.
What did you think? Did you love the crazy get-ups for Max and Jane? How do you feel about the Dave/Penny romance? Is it real? How much do you love Damon Wayans Jr.? How sick are you of hearing me gush about him? (Don’t answer that)