Brad and Jane take a staycation away from each other; Fred Savage guest-stars

By Aly Semigran
Updated November 03, 2011 at 05:01 AM EDT
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Richard Foreman/ABC
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  • ABC

One of the nice things about being a fan of a show that’s still relatively new is that you still get to find out new things about the characters each week. For instance, during this week’s episode of Happy Endings, titled “Lying Around,” we learned that Max was an extra in 8 Mile and directed his own film called Dog Leg Right, Alex knows French (but only if it’s from an episode of Cheers), Dave is terrible on camera, Jane knows a very unintentionally sexually suggestive cheer, Penny can’t sit seductively on a couch, and Brad wears a sleep apnea mask and has a private stock of honeysuckle candles. (Seriously, I’m loving these guys more and more each week.)

Brad could, however, lie to his wife Jane when her insufferable sorority friend Sara was on her way to visit and he needed an out. (Well, other than Parkouring.) Rather than endure a few days of farmer’s markets, Russian tea room visits, and making custom perfumes, Brad lied and said he had an out-of-town business meeting, when really he stayed in Chicago and became besties with “America’s sweetheart,” sportscaster Brent Musburger. (Seems grown men finding new friends was a trend last night on ABC, as Modern Family‘s Phil had a somewhat similar experience.) But, two could play at that game. When Sara suddenly cancelled on Jane, she took advantage of having the apartment to herself and indulged in spa treatments and knitting. Of course, both parties got caught and tried — and failed — to lie to each other some more, until they realized they could take a staycation away from each other without guilt. Cheese shopping, however? Well, that takes two.

Speaking of food, Dave realized that he needed introduce his new steak sandwich, the Steaktanic (“Lettuce, iceberg…dead ahead!”), to the masses. With his competitors, a hot dog truck called Dogs in Heat, taking all of his business, Dave opted to make a commercial. Only problem is, as I mentioned earlier, he’s terrible at being on camera. So terrible, in fact, that when he hired pros to help him make an ad, he got nothing more than a sweaty, awkward commercial that rivaled “Kitten Mittons” in production value. But Max, being the “Dave whisperer” (another new fun fact), stepped up to the plate to help him make a new commercial. And while the final product was a great-looking, emotionally manipulative ad, there was one small glitch in that they forgot to mention what Dave sells on his truck and/or where to find him. (It did, however, reunite long lost fathers and sons!)

NEXT: Okay, okay, Zachary Knighton is a delight Quick sidebar: I’m writing this recap hat in hand. For weeks I’ve been harping on Zachary Knighton for being the weakest player in the bunch. While many of you in the comments section have been telling me I’m missing his talent, I just felt like he couldn’t stack up against Adam Pally, Casey Wilson, and Damon Wayans Jr., who have been killing it all season. Zachary Knighton — and you, dear readers — proved me wrong. Not only was Knighton’s storyline the funniest of the night, but the actor shined in his scenes, especially the first disastrous commercial and tripping over the line “Steak Me Home…Tonight, we use the finest ingredients!” I also loved his rapport with Pally in the episode. These two feel like legitimate friends and every goof ball must have his straight man. And, I must say, Knighton is pretty darn good at that.

Back to the show! (Just like Penny, I too have given up segues.) The third storyline revolved around Penny giving one of her “extra” guys to Alex, while she dated a new guy named Keith. While Penny spent nights in watching Con Air, eating grilled cheese and talking about time zones, Alex was being wined and dined all over town by the grand gesture-happy Liam. Penny, as to be expected, got jealous of Alex, who was treated to helicopter rides over Chicago, fancy French restaurants, and viewings of Princess Bride (ah, Alex, you are a girl after EW’s heart) with live, in-person commentary from Fred Savage. (Fred Savage fun fact: He will raid your refrigerator for hummus!)

Penny, bored with her man, suggested that she and Alex do the old “switcheroo,” to which Alex happily obliged as she grew tired of Liam being so over-the-top. Penny didn’t last too long with Liam either, especially not after she found out Alex had an infinitely cooler date with Keith that involved making English muffin pizzas. I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’m ready for Penny to have a steady boyfriend. While Wilson can play the likable but lost single girl pitch-perfectly, her dear, dear Penny has been in a rut for too long. The new-boyfriend-every-week routine could threaten to get old fast and I’d love to see the character get what she really deserves, a happy ending.

NEXT: The episode’s best lines and moments

While I must reluctantly say that this episode wasn’t nearly as strong or laugh-out-loud funny as last week’s outstanding Halloween episode, I am glad that I finally found out what I’ve been missing with Knighton. Dave is starting to grow on me and there’s no question that Knighton is the last piece of the Happy Endings puzzle that makes it all fit.

Here now are the best lines and moments from last night’s Happy Endings:

“Ever feel the Big Mac wasn’t big enough or the foot-long wasn’t feet-long enough?” –Dave, pitching the “disgusting and illegal” Steaktanic

“Their meat can be beat. I will beat their meat!” –Dave, discussing his competitors Dogs in Heat, right before realizing what he’d just said

“I am enjoying being single. Like when I go to the movies I get to solve all the pre-movie trivia at my own pace. Did you guys know that Jack Palance did all his own stunts for City Slickers but didn’t do them for the sequel?” –Alex, once again, a girl after EW’s heart

“Raising the roof for signature scents…right now…that’s happening.” –Jane, justifying her reason for raising the roof to Brad

“A ha! This is a mock turtleneck and I found it in the garbage!” –Max to Dave, after he accused him of wearing a regular turtleneck he found on the ground

“So, here I am, laughing and learning.” –Penny, discussing the benefits of watching Con Air with the director’s commentary on

“I bartered for this outfit using only illegal Mexican candy. I got this!” –Max, explaining to Dave why he’ll work for free and make a great commercial for him

“Hold up, that’s a puffer fish!” –Brad, pretending to scuba dive in his sleep apnea mask

“Guess you could say I’m a knitter with attitude!…My comedy’s always been edgy Penny, you know that.” –Jane, on the phone with Penny. (I also loved how Max, who had snuck in and eventually stole her strawberries, got a kick out of that joke.)

“No, my point is Miami got a little lazy with that cover 2 defense!” –Brent Musburger explaining to Brad that he wasn’t actually making an analogy about his marriage to Jane

“The director was on my ass in this scene. I told him, ‘You want someone to phone it in, you get Kirk Cameron. You want someone to be a savage, you get Fred. Savage.” –Fred Savage, watching Princess Bride with Alex and Liam.

“You don’t want to tempt fate. Like that time you entered a brisket-eating contest before you went into that loan interview.” –Penny’s reminder to Alex

“It was no Boston Tea Party, if you know what I mean.” –Jane, lying to Brad about Sara’s fake tea emergency

“I don’t speak English. I mean British!” –Penny to Liam, dressed as a knight

“They call it Hollywood, not Hollyfriends.” –Max being Max

“It was nice watching The Boondocks without having to explain why its funny.” –Brad to Jane, about his staycation

What did you think of last night’s episode of Happy Endings, fellow fans? Did it feel a little lackluster compared to last week’s or did you enjoy it just as much? What was your favorite bit from the night? Was it when Max couldn’t figure out what the Old Spice Guy was advertising or how Dave referred to his website as his “world wide web address”? Do you agree that this was Dave’s strongest episode yet this season? Share in the comments section below and don’t forget to rate the episode, too!

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Happy Endings

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