The great comedy drought of 2013 is over. Happy Endings returns this week after what seems like a longer break than the inbetween seasons of The Sopranos. It’s a good thing ABC decided to give us a double dose to appease our hunger for comedy gold. Now did the show come back in style?
Let’s break it down…
I am so happy to see the old gang again, and what makes this reunion even sweeter is the fact that both episodes continue the season three high we left on in January (Side Note: Can you believe it’s been two months?) Starting with the first episode, we have Penny (Casey Wilson) and Max (Adam Pally) doing their best Requiem For A Dream homage as they work to regain the power in their relationships with a little help from NocheTussin. I am a big fan of Penny and Max storylines and this one doesn’t disappoint. Is it one of their greatest adventures? Probably not, but seeing them try to Intervention one another is classic them.
The rest of the gang is off helping Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) as he uses his business skills to save Chuckels and Huggs from financial disaster. Did I mention David Allen Grier guest stars as Brad’s boss, Terry? Hilarious. While sometimes this show can do a disservice to their guest stars by not letting them shine (see below), Grier completely steals every scene he is in. And those are scenes with Brad, and we all know how I feel about Brad. I only wish he could stay on becauseTerry is a comedic gold mine. Special mention for that Grindr reference! I almost peed myself.
As part of Brad’s storyline, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) try to use their special skills to entertain the kids, to varying degrees of success. Dave, as a one-hit wonder singer/songwriter, is my favorite out of all three. It’s tough to match the brilliance of doodie (snicker). It may be childish, but gosh darn it, I love toilet humor. And while Dave thrills the kids with his poopular songs, Jane fails to figure out how to entertain them (I think my favorite attempt is the bow and arrow). Finally there’s Alex, who introduces the children to the joys of jewelry making which inevitably leads to her own child labour ring, which is the most obvious joke – as soon as the little girl hands her the bracelet, you know where this is going. It’s still funny, but the obviousness kind of takes some of the oomph out of the humour.
What I do like is that by the end of ‘In The Heat Of The Noche’, Brad is back in business…and by that I mean in the business world. It was a great idea to have Brad lose his job at the end of last season, and I’ve enjoyed some of the adventures he has gotten into since then, but I feel like this is where Brad belongs. Finally all is right in the world, my Brad…errr…I mean Brad is back in the saddle.
In the second episode, ‘The Straight Dope’ the friends switch it up as Max goes straight for love…of basketball. Guest star Abby Elliot shows up as a girl with great Bulls tickets (Who knew that was the way to Max’s heart?) While I love this storyline, I do wish Elliot had more to do. It’s sad that a funny lady like her shows up on a show like this and only has one great scene. Of course I am talking about the fore-kissing scene: I am both disgusted and entranced. It’s like an accident on the highway, I can’t stop looking, yet I hate myself for not turning away.
Seeing how unfair Max is being, Penny and Brad band together to “out” him, until Brad gets sucked into the game, leaving Penny to blow the charade out of the water. Bragging to Katie about what a stallion Max is = hilarious. Seeing Max try to go through with it = classic. Of course what makes the storyline even better is the appearance of my favorite guest star: Derek (Stephen Guarino). DRAMA! More Derek please!
Then there’s Dave and Jane, who try to dumb down Alex as she starts to gain some intellectual prowess. This is my favorite storyline of the night. Alex is great as the dumb blonde, but I love how the writers have been playing around with this idea this season. Seeing her outsmart Jane is great because ohh girl, someone is throwing shade around like a queen! Dorian Corey would be proud. One of the great things about this show is how the writers play around with our expectations of these characters. Tonight is another stellar example of how they subvert what we expect and make us laugh all at the same time.
Both episodes are solid, and while not classic, it is great to have our friends back in our lives.
Best lines of the night:
Jane: “I know what kids like: cookies. Right?”
Jane: “Perfect, then I will teach them how to access their web browsing history.”
Brad: “Or…anything else.”
Jane: “Ok, alright, alright. I’ll teach them how to organize a militia.”
Alex: “Consider your TV Liam Neeson’s daughter, ’cause this bitch is Taken. And your remote is also Liam Neeson’s daughter, ’cause this bitch is Taken 2.”
Penny: “As someone who’s dated enough gay guys to earn the nickname ‘Will She Ever Learn’, I cannot allow you to keep wasting this girl’s time.”
Brad: “You know, I’m starting to think Max is least gay out of all of us. What a fresh character.”
Penny: “Well, you seem to have the hot hand intellectually. What should I do about my Max situation?”
Alex: “Sorry Penny, I can’t help you. But I do know someone who can Sun Tzu.”
Penny: “Dave’s friend who always tries to sell me yarn?”
Alex: “Oh Penny, classic Alex.”
What did you folks think? Did you love David Allen Grier? Are you happy Brad is back in business? Did you enjoy “straight” Max? Are you a fan of smart-Alex? Sound off below.
Happy Endings airs Friday nights from 8 – 9pm EST on ABC.