Change can sometimes suck. Like when Popular got “weird” in season 2. Or when Felicity cut her hair. But sometimes we need to change. Last night’s episode of Happy Endings dealt with this idea: the good kind and the bad kind, and the struggle we sometimes go through when faced with change.
Oh, and it featured the ever-so-delicious Ryan Hansen!
Let’s dissect…In last night’s episode a frustrated Penny (Casey Wilson) gets love advice from Jane (Eliza Coupe) after a disastrous cross country ski trip with a male suitor. As Penny explains it, “It’s like the NordickTrack…with wolves!” HA! Jane tells Penny that she should stop trying to change herself to fit a guy, but rather change the guy to fit her. Jane confides that when she met Brad (Damon Wayans Jr) he was nothing like the man he is today, so she coaxed him to change his ways. This has been Penny’s schtick with men throughout the series, as seen so beautifully in the epic hipster episode, ‘Dave of the Dead.’ (01×07).
So Penny decides to try to “fix” Jeff (Veronica Mars alum Ryan Hansen), a 30 y.o. man who wears shower shoes to the bar, has a soul patch, and still says “sick” and “dog” ad nauseam. First she get’s him to dress in a nice button up shirt and pants. Then she lures him to a furniture store and convinces him that he should get new furniture. Finally, she gets him to ditch the baseball caps and shave his soul patch. Penny is so successful that when Jeff runs into his ex-girlfriend sparks fly and they get engaged. This leads Penny to realize that neither party should change: not her, and not her suitors. Of course I am sure we will still see more wacky tales from Penny’s love life because this is one of her great characteristics. It’s what makes her so loveable and relatable. Who hasn’t changed themselves for a potential soulmmate? I once even accompanied a guy to a free jazz show because I wanted him to think I was hip (Just a heads up: the words “free” and “jazz show” are never a good sign). Although I do hope Penny will find true love eventually, seeing her go through the ups and downs of courtship are a wonderful diversion from my own pathetic love life. (Editor’s Note: Awww…)
Meanwhile, after hearing Jane’s confession to Penny that she changed him, Brad decides to bring “old Brad” back. The first order of business? Realize the dream he had when he was 20: make an all black version of Jackass, called Blackass. Perhaps not the best title, but let’s go with it. This – of course – upsets Jane, who decides to show Brad how much better “new Brad” is. And really who doesn’t look back at their 20 y.o. self and think, “What the eff were you thinking?” I actually look back at my 2011 self and think that!
We learn that “old Brad” lived off cereal and turkey dogs, and only took showers. This proves to be a hard pill to swallow because Brad realizes that he’s not that guy anymore. Before the glow of victory can overtake her, however, Jane is confronted by Penny with the cold reality of “old Jane”: the pink haired, Gwen Stephani wannabe girl that met and fell in love with Brad. Realizing that they both changed, Jane finds “old Brad” and TV’s best couple reunite in a fit of passion over a delicious steak dinner. I loved seeing these old versions of Brad and Jane, and how much they have changed. They began as wild 20 somethings and grown into mature, neurotic (but hilarious) 30 somethings. What hasn’t changed is their love for each other (and – let’s face it – our love for them). Special props to Damon Wayans Jr. for his hilarious physical comedy chops during the Blackass video. The show has a great way of letting their actors display not only their wonderful verbal comedic timing, but also their physical comedy abilities, as well.
The remaining members of the gang watch a whole bunch of Hoarders-like shows after which Max (Adam Pally) convinces Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) that Dave (Zachary Knighton) is addicted to v-neck tees. (This made me immediately check my closet full of v-necks, which thankfully were safe and sound – mostly because I don’t have crazy friends like Max and Alex). After unsuccessfully trying to get Dave not to wear v-necks, they stage an intervention where we learn that v-necks are Dave’s security blanket from his past as a bullied schoolboy. As someone in the same situation, I totally understood Dave’s obsession (It’s where my love for Dirty Dancing comes from. I, too, will never be put in a corner!!!)
I digress. The show ends with the friends reuniting and Dave wearing a turtleneck. But as the scene ends there’s a great send up of A&E’s Intervention where we learn that Dave went back to v-necks a few weeks after the episode aired. Change really is hard.
I loved how this episode played with the idea of change, and how we sometimes struggle with it but how it is ultimately necessary. Each story took that idea and ran with it in their own unique way without sacrificing the humor.