Our long national nightmare is over, America: Last night, ABC finally allowed our great nation to see Happy Endings' "Kickball 2: The Kickening." The episode’s existence had been whispered about on the internet, having aired internationally last spring (if you've ever run across it in one of the, uh, shadier corners of the web, now you can talk about it with the rest of us). But if you weren't previously aware of it, think of "Kickball 2: The Kickening" as Happy Endings' take on a Lost-style flashback—because despite airing during Season 3, it's actually a leftover from Season 2.
Armed with that knowledge, the murkier parts of the episode should make a bit more sense. No, Dave didn't suddenly grow out his hair and change his goatee. No, he didn't move back in with Max. No, Alex isn't back in her old apartment. No, Jane didn't quit the car dealership. No, Penny isn't cheating on Pete with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. No, Max isn't— wait, I guess nothing in this episode actually seemed different for Max.
It’s unfortunate that ABC kept "Kickball 2: The Kickening" from us for so long, as it’s probably one of Happy Endings' funniest "pleasantly random" installments. Alex’s store (Xela, pronounced SHAY-la) sponsored a team in a local kickball tournament, and after a bit of pestering, she convinced the gang to join. Everyone except Jane, that is: Driven by her desire to win, the elder Kerkovich sister betrayed the group to play for Kaz’s Auto Body Shop instead. But even without Jane, Team Xela—led by Max as their uninspiring player-coach—managed to pull off a stunning come-from-behind victory in the tournament’s first game, with Max, Brad, Penny, Alex and Scotty all delivering key plays. You'll notice I didn't mention Dave; he suffered a severe case of "the yips" and couldn’t even figure out how to make contact with the ball.
After that, the group grew accustomed to winning and ended up matched against Jane’s team in the semifinals. So Max and Alex decided to replace Dave with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. Briggs apparently goes to the same gym as Brad, so that totally makes sense. But sadly, Team Xela lost to Kaz’s Auto Body after Jane taunted her sister with a Baboo the Funky Monkey T-shirt, a T-shirt that was rightfully Alex’s but that Jane stole from her during their childhood. Jane’s dirty move led to Xela being eliminated from the tournament.
Jane wound up having a change of heart, though, and turned Kaz’s in for corking their sneakers with steel, choosing to join her friends on Xela in the championship instead of winning with a bunch of strangers. At a pivotal moment in the championship game, Scotty’s back and knees failed (he needed his steroids!), forcing Max to put Dave in the game. After spending hours of visualizing kickball success (See the ball, kick the ball. See the ball, kick the ball...), Dave was ready. He connected with the kickball... and sent it straight into Penny’s head. Then it flew into the air and was caught by a very muscular female member of Ivanov Nail Salon, resulting in the game’s final out. Team Xela lost the championship, but like the Whos without their gifts and roast beast, the gang celebrated anyway. They had fun. They drank warm beer together. Isn’t that what a recreational kickball game is all about?
Happy Endings returns on Tuesday with yet another new episode, "The Ex Factor," and I honestly have no idea where it'll fall in the show’s continuity. I'm certain it'll be a Season 3 episode, but there seems to be some discussion over whether or not previous episodes of this season have already been aired out of order. Our best bet might be to just relax, enjoy whatever ABC gives us, and then eventually catch the entire thing in the proper order on DVD.
If the network moves to cancel the series, however, we may have to organize some kind of fan protest. What could we do for a "Save Happy Endings!" campaign? What would be a good item to send to ABC in mass quantities? Let's hear your ideas in the comments!
NOTES & QUOTES
– Jane to Alex: “How many times must we go over this? You cannot get the refrigerator door all the way open before the light turns on!”
– Dave adding his two cents about the name of Alex’s store: “I didn’t even know you could pronounce the name of your store. I thought it was a four-letter Celtic word for failure.”
– One of the interesting parts of this episode being aired way out of order was realizing that before Jane started working for the Car Czar at the dealership, she was bailing on her friends to join an auto shop’s kickball team. Was Jane always destined to work with cars?
– Where was Alex’s adult-sized child hand during the Baboo the Funky Monkey Hour show?
– Jane: “Oh, silly Alex. Wins are for winners.”
– Matt Walsh played the kickball announcer in this episode. You probably know him from everything. Yes, everything. The actor has had roles and made appearances in Veep, Ted, Outsourced, Community, Due Date, Reno 911! and The Hangover.
– Dave’s pregame routine: “Which eyeblack should I choose? Ebony, heat or midnight storm?”
– Brad discussing his anger toward Jane: “I’m gonna hate her like five times tonight. Guys, I’m talking about sex.”
– Scotty before taking the field: “Hey, guys. Sorry I’m late. Getting juiced up … mango and orange … also steroids … for my thyroid condition … and for strength … because of my weak spine … cause I did too many steroids.”
– Alex to Jane at Rosalita’s: “Hello, Jane.” Jane: “Hello, Newman.”
– Jane pointing out Dave’s flaws to the rest of Team Xela: “You’re only as good as your weakest link. I'm talking about yipsee-ki-yay mother failure over there.”
– Alex on axing Dave: “We gotta cut that sad mother failure.”
– Brad after losing to Jane’s team: “I hate being humiliated by Jane. Unless it’s on my terms... with a safe word.”
– Penny after Jane turned in Kaz’s for cheating: “But you said you wanted to taste—quote—the sweet nectar of victory because you were pretty sure it would taste like blood. Human blood. Unquote.”
– It was interesting to notice that Penny’s injury-prone head was already an issue in this Season 2 episode, foreshadowing her bigger concussion-related issues in Season 3.