Happy Endings Mullally
Credit: Michael Desmond

“They talk so fast on that show.” Sure, that was Brad talking about Gilmore Girls in a scene from last night’s Happy Endings, but that statement is just as easily applicable to their own show. Happy Endings proved, once again, that it is not only one of the funniest shows on TV right now, but one of the toughest to keep up with. Heck, even rewinding your DVR to hear what jokes you laughed over can prove to be a challenge. But, it’s so very worth it.

So, in case you missed it, or you watched and you still missed it, here’s what happened in the new episode titled “Yesandwitch”:

Penny, riding high off the success of being the top seller at Sky Mall thanks to pitching the useless exercise device the Necksercisor (“You better neck yourself before you wreck yourself!”), gets a visit from her mom Dana (the always wonderful Megan Mullally doing what she does best: Playing kooky, with heart.) Dana is a woman with a sunny disposition on life who inspires everyone around her (she even sends encouraging Columbus Day text messages) who also happens to be a touring cabaret singer. In fact, the close mother and daughter duo (the way Dana said David as “Dah-veed” and face as “fah-chay” it was easy to tell where Penny got her own ah-mah-zing pronunciations from) would sometimes perform her act together.

While Penny is stoked to see her Mom, things take a turn for the worse when she discovers that Dana is not only getting a divorce from her stepfather, a Cash For Gold maven enthusiast named Steve, but she refuses to acknowledge or talk about it. (Though she will gladly sing about it!) When Penny tries to get serious with her Mom about her life (divorced at 50, a dead-end music career), instead of inspiring her, she breaks her spirit. The two patch things up, natch, when Penny helps her mother perform at a boat show in matching outfits to an interpretive performance of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” (Check it, we had a first look!)

As for the rest of the Happy gang:

After his food truck didn’t make Time Out Chicago‘s Hot List, a crestfallen (read: “another boring white guy”) Dave decides to explore his heritage, as per Dana’s advice. As it turns out, Dave is one-sixteenth Navajo, which gives him free range (but not really) to wear fringe jackets (“Each bead represents a white man’s broken promise…and it’s reversible”) and make his own interpretations of the Native American language.

Brad and Jane are taking a couples improv class together (or, as Dave astutely pointed out after watching one of their routines, “not the comedy kind of improv”) to get closer to one another. And, apparently, as an outlet for their terrible Kennedy impressions. Turns out, their improv training — particularly the old “Yes, and…” technique — proved especially helpful to Max, who is still masquerading around town as a limo driver.

When an upset Max can’t deal with his favorite restaurant being overrun by tourists (his “No no no no no no no no” when he first arrived at Emma’s at the beginning of the episode easily rivaled this “No no no no no no” as the best ever) Brad and Jane help him turn his illegitimate limo business into a tour around Chicago. It was the perfect set-up: Max gave false information to tourists of varying head sizes, while Brad and Jane did their part as the talent, playing an attractive, interracial couple from Omaha (you know, the Window City!) After a brief falling out over money, Max realized he simply couldn’t do it without his Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles. That being, of course, Jane and Brad.

Oh, and Alex had a stiff neck from the Necksercisor. Poor Alex. You’re like the Drew from Parenthood of Happy Endings. They’ll give you a storyline again someday!

Still, despite the throwaway Alex and Dave story lines (it’s funny to think how they were the couple the show was originally centered around) “Yesandwitch” stayed par for the course with an already strong sophomore season of the series. Megan Mullally was perfectly cast as Penny’s mom and I’ll now never hear Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” quite the same way ever again.

Here’s some of the other best lines and bits from last night’s Happy Endings:

“I love my mom. We’re like the Gilmore Girls, but we came first so we’re better.” –Penny, describing her relationship with her mother.

“Tourists ruin everything! This place…. the Vatican.” –Max, upset that Emma’s is busy thanks to out-of-towners

“It’s a lot of just looking right through to other parts of the museum.” –Jane explaining the faux Omaha Window Museum to Max’s tourist

“Well, that was worse than anyone thought.” –Max, after witnessing Dana’s meltdown

“You are one-sixteenth Navajo and don’t let that white woman take that away from you.” –Penny to Dave, after Dana tells him he’s not a real Indian

“You’re an acquired taste, like goat cheese or Mr. Bean.” –Penny to Max, after a broken Dana tells him his snarky attitude is going to make him die alone

“You told me I could have any job Barbie had. I’ve had three so far!” –Penny, in gratitude, to her mother.

The alternative names for Brad’s dream boat after he discovers “Yeah, Buoy!” is already taken: “Buoys on the Side,” (that one gets my vote) “Let’s Hear it For the Buoys,” “Buoys in the Hood,” and “The Backstreet Buoys.”

What did you think of last night’s Happy Endings, PopWatchers? Does this show impress you more and more each week or did this one feel a bit off to you? Are you hoping despite his fears, the group still goes ahead with Max’s roast? (Yes, and they should do one for Dave while they’re at it. If only for this.) Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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