The gang found themselves in a variety of inappropriate relationships. Plus, Busy Philipps popped up!

By Aly Semigran
Updated November 17, 2011 at 06:01 AM EST
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Who could have guessed that a week before Thanksgiving, Happy Endings would have me looking for Easter eggs? But that was precisely what happened when word got out on Wednesday that a star from Cougar Town (come back cul-de-sac crew, we miss you!) would be making a brief, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. I couldn’t help but be in complete search mode to find who it was and where they’d be hiding. Thankfully, the hunt didn’t take too long, as there was plenty of other distractions (hello, raunchy innuendos!) in the episode titled “The Code War.”

In addition to small, pleasant surprises (a ha, I found you Laurie, a.k.a. Busy Philipps! You’re hanging out at the outdoor coffee hut near the guys around the two-and-a-half minute mark!), there were some big revelations last night. For one, Max loved and dated another girl before Penny: His high school sweetheart Angie, whose arrival would set off a chain reaction of crazy within the gang. Penny, who already has her own patented, wonderful brand of lunacy, surprised even herself when she responded to Angie, a girl she is programmed to hate, by smothering her with instant friendship and housewarming presents. (“I just don’t want her to know I hate her. So I’m going to be overly nice to her so when she starts to like me, I can hate her even more.”) As a member of the lady gender, I must reluctantly admit this actually isn’t all that far-fetched a kind of behavior to exhibit around your ex’s other ex. But, hey, if anyone can get away with it…Penny can! (Seriously, you are missed, Cougar Town.)

While Penny was setting out kill Angie with kindness (or, quite possibly, just kill her), Dave set his sights on Max’s former squeeze in an entirely different way, breaking one of many codes last night. While Dave didn’t see the issue in dating a bro’s ex when said bro in question is gay, Max wanted to ensure the code was not broken. (As did Brad, who did a tailspin into an outstanding “Oh no he di’int” routine in response to Max’s code enforcement. I think I could watch Brad’s “Oh no he di’int” and Max’s “Women be stoppin'” on a repeated loop until the end of days and be happy.) Alas, Dave did not abide by the code and when Max found out he was lying, all bets were off. (It was weirdly refreshing to see Adam Pally get to play up a new, emotional side of Max, wasn’t it? When he found out about Dave, Max, who rarely wears his heart on his sleeve, was visibly annoyed. While I love the constantly silly side of Happy Endings, it is great when they allow their tremendously talented cast to show their range.)

NEXT: The Da Vinci Code‘s got nothing on Max and Dave’s code

The two pals launched a full-scale attack on one another, from Max hijacking Dave’s appearance on Crazy Randy’s Meat n’ Greet podcast to warn Chicago about how he cooks in his underwear (though, I’d argue it was singing Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine” that was infinitely more upsetting), turning all of his shirts into deep V-necks, and perming his hair to make him look like Keri Russell after she ruined Felicity/John McEnroe’s sister/a huge lesbian/a Jonas uncle/Temple Grandin/It’s Pat/a Quaalude dealer to Dave destroying their apartment’s load-bearing pillar. (Clear victor: Max!) But Dave called off the code war when he discovered that Angie was actually the one that hurt Max, not the other way around.

Although, it’s amazing that anyone, gay or straight, would want to break up with Max as it turns out he’s got some serious “mouth game.” (Bonus incentive: You might find a cricket in a lip lock with him!) Case in point: Alex, who was fed up with her current beau, a non-European diner or speller named Jack, and received a jealousy-fueled, but strangely hot kiss from Max and started to fall for her unattainable pal. While Penny allows the crush to happen, she ultimately crushed it by showing Alex what Max looks like when he eats a sandwich shirtless. (Turns out, Max and Penny still have a bit of a soft spot for each other. They had a few sweet, sincere moments in the ep, didn’t they?)

But that was hardly the weirdest love triangle in the ep. (And that’s saying a lot.) After Brad got busted for having a woooork wiiiiiiife (Dave was right, hair band is better) named Vanessa, Jane decided to settle the score by bagging her own work husband the best way she knew how: By sexually harassing the mail room guy with her disturbing style of flirting and bragging about being a “big licker.” (It’s hard to decide what was funnier, the impossible-to-erase mental image of Jane’s creepy hand-in-mouth flirting or Penny’s imitation of it.) When that didn’t pan out, she connected with her HR rep Steven, a fellow hard candy enthusiast, and a work husband relationship was forged. Brad and Jane, rooted in jealousy, joined the pantheon of terrible ideas and had their work spouses over, only to discover that Vanessa saw Brad as a father figure, while Steven is the world’s most dangerously unqualified HR rep. (Sidebar: Eliza Coupe continues to impress me more and more each week with her physical comedy skills and the ability to play neurotic in a truly believable way. This week was no exception.)

NEXT: The best lines from the episode

As I mentioned last week, one of my favorite things about having a favorite show that’s new, is that you continually get to learn something different about the characters. This week I learned that Dave greets people by putting out his hand and says ‘Here’s five good ones for ya,’ Alex has a theory that a knife that absorbs blood is the perfect murder weapon, Brad gives women bizarre nicknames (Angina, Vannecessary Roughness), and Jane learned magic out of spite. I also learned that the Happy Endings crew has a bit of a naughty side, as this week had some of the filthiest one-liners yet. ( “Look how he spelled ‘Come over’,” “No stranger to the three hole punch”, “Talkin’ ’bout my penis…and my scrot.”) As Dave might say at a Halloween party, “Oh, behave!”

Here are the rest of the best lines from last night’s Happy Endings:

“I have two work husbands, three work ex-boyfriends, one work stalker and one work dog.” –Penny

“Ahh, two of my favorite people hanging out. It’s like when Mike Myers and Kanye West tried to raise money for Hurricane Katrina.” –Max, after finding out Dave and Angie were going out together

“Oh my god, he’s kissing her like she has a penis!” –Brad, reacting to Alex and Max’s intense smooch

“Every time I draw genitals, it ends up looking like Brad Garrett.” –Jane, not helping matters while talking to her HR rep

“Shuttin’ down the fallopes #Menopause” –Brad, recalling his mom’s “not weird” tweet

“Tonight, let’s go down to the United Center and paint a Hitler mustache on the Michael Jordan statue so he looks like present-day Michael Jordan.” –Max’s great idea

“Joke’s on you, he’s not a soldier, he works at a Kiehl’s!” –Max, after Dave attempts to pick up his guy at the bar

“Why is she rubbing her baby hand on me?” –Max, fellow haver of baby hands

“I don’t know how we’re going to get this through that giant blond doll head of yours, but I am gay!” –Max, to a smitten Alex

What did you think of “The Code War”? Were you surprised at how real things got with Max? Admit it, did you get a little bit of a crush on him, too like Alex? Do you, like Jane and Brad, have a work spouse? Will Dave ever learn to not be absolutely terrible on camera? Is Penny the most frighteningly relatable character on the show? Who had the better crossover cameo: Laurie on Happy Endings or Abed on Cougar Town? Share in the comments section below and be sure to rate the episode.

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