Recently, this website posted their 100th post, and this anniversary had me in a nostalgic mood. I decided to revisit my very first post. Way back then I had gone on a mini-rant about Happy Endings, and especially the character of Max (Adam Pally). It seemed like his character had eschewed all development in favor of crude jokes and crazy antics. Well, it’s as if the writers had been reading this blog all along – this week’s episode seems to have answered my prayers. Let’s do this!
This week was the Valentine’s Day themed episode so everyone was out looking for love (with varying degrees of success). Penny (Casey Wilson) – traditionally looking for love – was actually looking for an escape route from her current beau, Reed (Mo Mandel) who’s a “winker”. With Valentine’s Day drawing near, she had to respect the “breakup window” and wait until after the holiday to end things with him. Of course, in VDay irony, on the big night she ends up being the one that gets dumped. Reed might have been a winker, but her need to abbreviate words proved too much for him. Plus he hated the way she pronounced “(ahhh) mazing.” Bonus points for the line, “I’ve barely said that at all this season…it’s much more of a summer word.”
Dave (Zachary Knighton) on the other hand was planning a fabulous dinner for his lucky lady, “crazy sex girl.” After she cancels dinner plans and a brunch date, though, he starts to think that she’s also using the “breakup window”. He scraps all his plans and woos his lady love with beans and a dirty v-neck, only to find out that she was planning on having her hot friend join them for a threesome. So much for making dreams come true (It’s also, as AV Club elaborates, a surprisingly bro-y resolution for the show).
Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), meanwhile was also planning a lovely evening for wife, Jane (Eliza Coupe): a night full of surprises…that he warned his wife about since she does not respond well to being surprised. (Side note: the surprise party scene where Jane pepper sprays the gang had me cry-laughing.) But all of it went astray when he went to the dentist and found out he had a cavity. After being pumped full of drugs, his evening took an unexpected yet hilarious turn. Damon Wayans Jr. definitely owned this episode. He had me at face plant in the chocolate fondue. This man is physical comedy gold! (Editor’s Note: Wayans Jr. may need to take out a restraining order against yellowwait if this obsession continues).
Finally we have Alex (Elisha Cuthbert). The most dim-witted of our sextet is a big believer in Valentinius Valentine, so she believed that love was in the air and she was going to find it…at a “Balls to the Wall” party. Max, who had suckered everyone into using his limo service, drops her off in what seems like an alleyway where she kindly asks a stranger if he, too, is looking for a party. Naturally she’s mistaken for a prostitute and booked. At this point, it seemed like no one was going to be lucky in love this year.
But let’s not forget Max. Although not a fan of Valentine’s day, Max is unknowingly hired by his ex, Grant (James Wolk) to drive him and his new boyfriend to their Valentine’s dinner. Max is freaked out and shows off a sweet side that is not often on display. Alex, seeing this as a way to restore her faith in love on Valentine’s day, decides to push him to contact Grant after seeing the sparks fly between them. All our friends come together to help Max get the guy, in an unusually sweet way for our beloved show. I loved the Friends comparison, especially Max as “fat Joey.”
Going back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it feels like the show is finally giving Max a storyline. After being relegated to the sidelines all season,we get to see a different side of Max and learn that he is sweet and vulnerable. Props to Adam Pally who played this episode so well. He was able to show a cute and cuddly side of Max without letting us forget how cynical and crude he is. It seems like Grant is the perfect “sweet” for Max’s “sour”. I also really loved the matter-of-fact kiss between them. It was sweet and didn’t have to come after a Facebook petition (I’m looking at you Modern Family).
Best lines from this episode:
- “That place is harder to get into than ‘Obvious Joke Here’, that new alt-comedy club downtown.” – Jane
- “I feel like a gay salmon swimming upstream in a river of bears!!” – Grant’s date in a jealous rant after being introduced to Max
- “It’s like Weekend at Bernie Mac‘s back here” – Jane with drugged up Brad in the back of the limo
So what did you think viewers? Do you, like me, feel Max is on the character development train? Any zingers stick out for you this week? Let us know in the comments section below!