October 23, 2012

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS, "Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires"

Happy Endings was a show that surprised me. When it debuted during the tail-end of the 2010-2011 television season and was being burned off at 10 o'clock on Wednesday nights, it looked like another short-lived Friends wannabe. And then it somehow became one of the funniest shows on television. While I have to admit that "Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires" was not the show firing on all cylinders, it was nice to have the gang back.

The end of Season 2 introduced some big questions for a show that usually throws plot aside for rapid fire jokes. Will Brad be able to get back on his feet after being laid off? What's going on with Dave and Alex? How will Penny react if the aforementioned get back together? Thankfully, the premiere didn't keep and loose threads dangling and it tackled most of the nagging queries.

It's been three weeks since Brad lost his job, and he was using his spare time to catch up on the hobbies that he previously abandoned like dance cooking and ventriloquism with his puppet, Sinbrad. You'd think that a hyper Type A person like Jane would be frustrated by her man just bumming around, but she was happy that he was taking time for himself... and that she was now the breadwinner thus making him her bitch. But apparently the role of househusband didn't suit Brad because he was able to get a new job and was hiding it from his significant other until he was busted during a fake bubble bath/nooner. Of course, Jane was not thrilled about the lying but she wanted her boo to be happy, and in the end Brad decided that he did need to spend some time on himself and quit his job.

As much as I like Brad and Jane, I was a little annoyed by their plotline because it just felt off from the get go. I get that Jane loved being in the power position now that Brad was unemployed, and I genuinely believed that she was afraid that they'd go back to not having as much time to spend together, but being annoyed by him working was asinine.  Yes, her reactions had more to do with the fact that he wasn't being honest and that she enjoyed spending more time with him, but it was so obvious that she loved being the only source of income, and I couldn't shake the feeling that he quit his job just to make her happy. At the end of the day, the outcome of this one rang extremely false to me.

Elsewhere, Penny's relationship with the guy she met at Brad's wedding progressed to the point where she felt comfortable enough base-jumping with him off the roof of a building. Since it's Penny, she backed out at the last second and ended up tumbling down a flight of stairs. Hence, the body cast. Max volunteered to take care of her but she became too demanding, and he was out until he met her cute physical therapist. From that moment on, Max "Misery-ed" Penny to keep her in the cast so he could get closer to his new crush. Crazy antics ensued, but Penny couldn't stay mad at him because she apparently did the exact same thing to him once before. The two of them would be perfect for one another if he wasn't gay and she still didn't have a thing for Dave despite her denial.

Usually, I'm not a big fan of friends being cruel to one another, and I have to say that the Penny/Max plot walked that thin line between playful ribbing and outright malice. I mean, there was a moment where he drugged her for goodness sake, and yet it all worked within the sociopathic framework that Happy Endings has created for itself. These people are horrible to each other and those outside of their group, but there's always an undercurrent of love and care that makes up for their awfulness, and luckily Max and Penny's story had the right balance of good and evil.

Lastly, Alex and Dave came clean about their rekindled relationship but they insisted that they were keeping it "cazsh." Things were going along smoothly until a bar tender hit on Dave, and Alex decided to set them up instead of being honest about how her feelings. Of course, her true feelings emotions, so she showed up at their date with a ginormous hunk who posed in Playgirl as a way to make him jealous. By episode's end, they realized that just being casual was not going to work, so they thought the logical next step was to move in together.

Alex and Dave have been problematic since day one, and many felt that they were the weakest links of Season 1. It's hard to argue with those criticisms because their shtick has always been the sitcom-iest of the bunch, so pairing them up once again could blow up in the show's face. That said, I'm OK with them exploring their relationship because we never saw them as a true couple. I don't think Happy Endings should bank on them by any means because they're still more interesting apart, and I don't see any long-term benefits of them doing the whole Ross and Rachel routine, but Dave taking a short detour from his path towards Penny could work as long as its short. As for their story during this episode, it was alright but nothing special. I could've done without all of the forced abbreviations and puns though.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Every show needs awkward, four-way high-fives.
  • There was something extremely charming about Alex talking like a gangsta.
  • As was her getting into a fight with a puppet.
  • Damn, Eliza Coupe's body is banging!
  • Yoko Uno's no Mandonna, but it's close.
  • Ebony and Ebony... classic!
  • "Trust us, the last thing we want is for things to get complicated like in It's Complicated, so we're just going to go with it like it Just Go With It and be friends with benefits like in No Strings Attached."
  • "Yo' mama so fat, she died."
  • "Two things you should know about me, Kent. I'm selfless, and I have moves like Jagger. Specifically, the ones he allegedly used on David Bowie in the '70s."
  • "I'll tell you what doesn't count; the Miami Heat's most recent NBA Championship. It was an injury plagued, strike shortened season, therefore LeBron still needs six rings to even get in the conversation with Jordan."
  • "You got so much done today my little stay-at-home husband, my cute little mister wife, my wifey, my girl, my little girl, my bitch! You, bitch! Who's my tiny, miniature bitch?"
  • "That girl's so whack her first names should be Nick Nack Paddy. Aaaawwwww, snap!"
  • "Dude, stall her!"
  • "Max is Misery-ing me. He's like Kathy Bates only way fatter."
Like I said before, "Cazsh Dummy Spillionaires" was far from the show's strongest effort because some of the storylines didn't quite land, it almost tipped the scales towards despicableness and it was a little bit lazy, but it still made me laugh when it was all said and done. Can't complain about that.


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