Not the strongest outing of season 2, but enough to be thankful for. (Except those creepy dolls!)

By Aly Semigran
November 24, 2011 at 03:00 AM EST
Randy Holmes/ABC
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For an episode that aired the night before Thanksgiving, a holiday all about the spirit of togetherness, Happy Endings felt awfully disconnected, didn’t it? Maybe I was just setting my hopes too high for a Thanksgiving episode (no show has yet to grab the baton of great Turkey Day sitcom eps from Friends) but this was the first episode all season I didn’t entirely love. Plus, last week’s episode was so non-stop funny, it set the bar way too high. (My fellow Happy Endings-loving friends and I have been falling into hysterics at inappropriate times when the memory of the Temple Grandin slam at Dave’s perm randomly pops into our heads.) That said, even a sub-par Happy Endings episode has its share of gut-busting moments and one-liners. (“TV is nature’s babysitter.” It’s funny, because it’s so very, very true.)

I think my biggest issue was that all three of the story lines, while some were incredibly funny — namely Max and Penny’s misadventures in babysitting — were overall unnecessary and didn’t really move any character, or the series itself, along. (I’m also noticing that the show tends to pair off the six, rather than keeping them together throughout, something I hope they’ll reconsider since they all work so well off of each other.)

The worst, or at least the most inconsequential of the three plot lines belonged to Dave, Brad, and their annoying mailman Drew (the always funny Rob Riggle.) While there were some undoubtedly amusing moments with the blackmail-happy delivery man (as Newman once scarily boasted on Seinfeld, “When you control the mail…you control information“) — like Brad’s nickname for him (Drew Tang Clan), that he was the last remaining person on Earth to enjoy The Man Show,  and that he cooked ziti in his trunk — the story itself wound up just like Drew in the end: Dead weight.

Why bother having the character of Drew if they were going to kill him off in the first place? Sorry, but as far as tragic, one-off characters go, he was no Frank Grimes. Moreover, why did Dave and Brad feel obligated to throw him a memorial service? How come Drew’s racist-looking, gun-toting tailgate buddy Billy or any of his co-workers do it? None of it really worked or went anywhere in the end. (At least in the How I Met Your Mother episode where they have to attend the service of the bartender’s whose name they couldn’t remember, it worked as an obstacle in the way of them trying to watch the Super Bowl.) All that said, I did get a kick out of Dave’s song at the bar memorial and his many failed attempts to sound gangster throughout the episode. Dave, you’ve officially grown on me.

NEXT: Max and Penny’s adventures in babysitting

On the other end of the spectrum, Max and Penny had the strongest storyline of the episode thanks to children with “garbage hipster names” being left in their terribly unstable care. Max, fresh from getting a tattoo that ensured him free tacos for life (was anyone else reminded of the questionable tattoo Kristen Wiig’s roommate got of a Mexican drinking worm in Bridesmaids?), was for some insane reason entrusted by his brother to watch his kids Jango and Rope (Max wasn’t kidding about those names) for a few days.

While Penny desperately tried to be the best babysitter, her methods didn’t exactly work. Turns out, kids don’t like antique doll museums filled with dolls “handcrafted with real human hair and real human teeth,” fruit shaped like aforementioned soul-eating dolls, or Jay-Z and Beyoncé puppet shows in which they only say “Holla back.” (For the record, I found that to be nothing short of amazing. What was wrong with those kids?! It’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé puppets, for cryin’ out loud!) What they do like is playing “diner,” kidnapping and returning dogs, and going to memorials held for psychopathic mailmen. Well, at least they did until good ol’ Uncle Max explained, in graphic detail, the cremation process. Of course, Princess Penny saved the day, but still, neither of them should be left to care for children for a very long time, if ever. (I did enjoy that little smile Max gave Penny towards the end after ribbing her about her age. These two have quite the special bond, don’t they?)

Elsewhere, Jane and Alex did some sisterly bonding. Alex, fresh off of taking online fashion classes, which for legal reasons we’ll call “Situation Walkspace” (held by the one and only Nick Gun and his famous inspirational catch phrase “Figure it out!”), wanted to make Jane a dress to wear to her charity event for animals. (Not for pandas though, as Jane explained, “Pandas are like the breast cancer of animal charities.”) But Alex, being the queen of good bad ideas, or maybe vice versa (sorry, but I’d argue that getting your hair cut while you shop is as clever as the knife that absorbs blood, just sayin’,) buys a beautiful J. Crew dress, pawns it off as her own and sends Jane off to the charity event…where a bevy of other women are wearing the exact same thing. Of course, it probably was better than sending her there in her original staple-happy dress. Jane’s initial reaction upon seeing it? “Garbage!” And while Jane wore it to Drew’s memorial, they ultimately decided the concoction would be better suited as a pile of ashes and cremated it. So while the dress is gone for good, thanks to a little urn switcheroo, they will be wearing Drew forever. Hmm, maybe that character had a bigger impact than I gave him credit for, after all.

NEXT: The best lines from “Full Court Dress”

Here are the best lines from last night’s episode of Happy Endings titled “Full Court Dress”:

“My smoothie budget is out of control. Daddy don’t do domestic papaya. Splash!” –Brad, with his favorite item, the blender

“Are you trying to genetically modify animals?” –Penny, pondering what Jane’s charity Animals for Change really stands for

“I swam as a kid.” –Dave, admitting to himself and his friends that he’s no baller

“The joke is on you, because my corpse will probably be unrecognizable.” –Max (He’s probably right.)

“I hate kids. And I’m not talking the type I hate that goes away after a series of zany misadventures where we grow to love each other. I’m talking about a blistering hate for them and their creepy tiny little features.” –Max (You know, for someone who dressed up as a baby and had creepy tiny little features for Halloween, he’s had quite a gripe with them as of late. Sidebar, Adam Pally is like the Micro Machines guy of Happy Endings is he not? If women be stoppin, then Max be talkin’.)

“Man, I can’t wait to play basketball with that Drewd.” –Dave, not quite landing a nickname

“You are a hippo! Kate’s a hippo!” –Jane, putting a woman named Kate at the wrong table

“Hey, give me that knife! And like me more!” –Penny (C’mon Penny, if we learned anything from The Walking Dead this week, it’s that if you want children to like you should actually be handing them more weapons.)

“Drew was a man, a mailman, who lived life. On Earth. Chicago.” –Brad, making a moving speech during Drew’s memorial

“You know how they say people will remember you forever? Those people die, too.” –Max, doing the opposite of comforting to Jango and Rope

“Say hi to Nemo’s mom for me!” –Alex, sending her staple dress to heaven

So was I way off in my assessment of this week’s installment of Happy Endings or would you agree it felt a little bit off its game? Were you hoping for a Thanksgiving episode, too? Share your thoughts on the episode and vote on it below!

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type
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Premiere
  • 04/13/11
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  • In Season
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