November 16, 2011

Quick Thoughts: HAPPY ENDINGS, "The Code War"

Man, what a difference a second chance makes. Last year, I don't think many people believed that ABC's Happy Endings would air all of its initial 13-episodes much less get renewed for a second season. Today, it's by far the funniest show on network television. You read that right. It's not Community, or Parks and Recreation, or New Girl. No, it's the show that everyone wrote off, and if anyone was interested in seeing how good Happy Endings can be, then they should have checked out "The Code War."

Admittedly, the stories from this week's episode are by-the-book sitcom standbys: Jane and Brad have work spouses, Alex falls for a gay guy (Max), Penny's jealous of her ex's ex, Dave breaks the guy code by dating his best friend's ex-girlfriend, and so forth and so on. None of these ideas are new by any stretch of the imagination, but the reason why "The Code War" worked was because it allowed the gang to go nuts (which is the show's strong suit), and almost every joke landed which is more than I can say about most of the other sitcoms I watched this week.

Out of all of the "stories", my favorite had to be Alex's temporary crush on Max that she developed after they made out so Max could prove his point about the Code. From that point on Alex's smitten routine had me rolling mostly because Elisha Cuthbert committed to the bit. I know she got a lot of crap during Season 1 for being the weakest link, but the show has finally found out how to write for her, and the slightly ditsy and naive approach works like gangbusters.

A close second had to be the Code War between Max and Dave. First off, this plot gave us a great cut-away joke of Dave cooking meat in his underwear, and one of the best visual gags of the night in Dave's permed hair. What I also liked about what was going onto between the guys was the way it underlined the zaniness with some sweetness once Dave realized that Max was upset because his ex dumped him and not the other way around like he was playing off. It led to one of those great bromance moments that the show can be light on but can also knock out of the park.

In an even closer third was Jane and Brad's work spouse debacle. It straggled behind the rest of the pack because the set-up was so overdone that I was a little bummed that the show went there, but it was saved by the amazing comedic timing of Damon Wayans, Jr. and Eliza Coupe. Some of the stuff they said and did took a ho-hum plot line and made it fresh and funny. Wayans' family genes also helped out as he channeled his father and uncles during the episode. He'd better have a few guest spots on the new In Living Color when it comes back. Just a thought.

Penny kind of weaved her way in and out of every story as she played Alex's conscience during her obsession with Max, hated on his ex-girlfriend by being super nice to her, commented on Jane's inability to flirt, and set up a podcast interview for Dave which was the setting for the first shot fired during the Code War. It's never a good idea to keep one of your MVP's on the sidelines, but Casey Wilson still killed it every chance she got, and was able to let others shine.

Lines of the Night:
  • Penny: "Al, he texted you at 11PM. What did you think was going to happen?"
    Alex: "I thought maybe he wanted to have a late European dinner."
    Penny: "Al, look how he spelled 'come over.'"
    Alex: "I thought it was the European spelling."
    Penny: "It's not."
  • "What can I say, that gay's got mouth game."
  • "Two of my favorite people hanging out. It's like when Mike Meyers and Kanye West tried to raise money for Hurricane Katrina."
  • "He's kissing her like she has a penis."
  • "So, do you lick each package? Because I do. I'm a big licker."
  • "This is unacceptable behavior. I'll allow it."
  • "Don't go all Mr. T on me."
  • "Shutting down the fallops. Hashtag menopause."
  • "Hey, I got an idea. Tonight, let's go down to the United Center and paint a Hitler mustache on the Michael Jordan statue so it looks like present-day Michael Jordan."
  • "I'm going to sit here and stew in my own anger for a second."
  • "If Harvey Milk could hear that."
  • "It's a Code War!"
  • "He messed with your v-necks? Damn! That's like messing with a straight man's crew necks."
  • "That's your bra which is holding up your breasticles."
  • "Why is she rubbing her baby hand on me?"
  • Penny: "You look like Keri Russel after she ruined Felicity."
    Alex: "You look like John McEnroe's sister."
    Max: "You look like a huge lesbian."
  • "I knew she couldn't resist my tight, sweet-smelling body. I mean look at this! It just smells too nice."
  • "Oh my God! Your hair. You look like a Jonas Uncle."
  • Jane: "Temple Grandin!"
    Brad: "It's Pat! You look good dude."
    Dave: "I look like a Quaalude dealer."
  • "Talking about my penis...and my scrot."
I'll say it again, Happy Endings is the best comedy on TV due to the non-stop jokes, chemistry of the cast, and carefree vibe. Sure, it's not going to revolutionize the sitcom genre, but shows like New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, and even How I Met Your Mother should watch Happy Endings and take notes because it can teach them how to be the next Friends.


Anonymous said...

Agreed. Now if they can make Dave funnier it's a winner.

Marcos said...

I see where you're coming from, but I think Dave's also evolved to be funnier. He's still not the best, and might be the weakest of the bunch, but I still find myself laughing at his bits. Thanks for your comment!

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