Even when they’re actively trying to avoid celebrating Christmas, the Happy Endings gang can’t help but put on a great party. Well, “great” might be a stretch, especially considering your feelings on getting sprayed with egg nog. I should probably explain.
Jane is a Christmas baby. In "No-ho-ho" we learned that she’s been lying about her birthday for years, choosing a date in a completely different month to avoid getting overshadowed by the holiday. I can’t say that I blame her for making the swap— Christmas babies get stiffed on gifts. They have to share the attention with the hustle and bustle of the holiday. All of the other kids are too busy to come to your birthday party. I was supposed to be a Halloween baby, which would’ve sucked the fun out of both Halloween and my birthday; Jane has it even worse.
My favorite part of Jane revealing that she had changed her birthday was that I’m pretty sure even Alex was shocked. Alex not remembering such a detail about her sister’s life is pretty standard for the character. Which I love. Though I guess Alex is the younger one...
When the group discovered that Jane had been lying about her birthday all these years, they decided to throw her a birthday party on her real birthday, making every effort to prevent Christmas from creeping in. Unfortunately, they all forgot that you should never surprise Jane. The sting of pepper spray (in the eyes for Brad, Max, and Penny and in the pants for Dave) will make that a lesson learned the hard way.
Despite that little mishap, the gang still decided to make Jane’s birthday celebration happen. There could be no sign of Christmas, though, otherwise Jane’s day would be ruined. This being Happy Endings, everyone failed to keep Christmas out, with each person failing in their own way.
Penny failed immediately, exposing a pair of Santa socks.
Dave was next to go, thanks to his Jingle Bells ringtone. No matter how much he protested, the gang just wouldn’t buy the idea that it was the theme song to Jurassic Park.
Brad stumbled across a dancing Hip-Hop Santa figure in the closet, and since you can’t have popping without locking, Brad joined in.
Max's addiction to eggnog did him in. Apparently he loves the holiday beverage in any form, but especially when mixed with copious amounts of alcohol... or sake and a bit of racism (that Asian waiter totally heard the term “Nog-aski bomb”).
And Alex—sweet, weird Alex—harbors, among her many other odd quirks, a love of unwrapping presents. She loves unwrapping so much that they give her crazy gift eyes. Once glance at her gingerbread replica of Love, Actually and she simply couldn't resist: Those tiny gifts got tiny unwrapped.
Jane’s non-Christmas birthday party came to crashing climax when Alex accidentally stabbed a letter opener into the CamelBak of egg nog Max had hidden under his shirt. That’s where the “everyone gets sprayed with eggnog” part comes in. Happy Endings has developed a habit of having its characters stab each other, with Max putting an oyster shucker into Brad’s leg in the Season 2 premiere, so I immediately thought that Alex had stabbed Max for real. A trip to the ER would've definitely upset Jane’s birthday celebration even more than Christmas creep.
Even without a visit to the hospital, Jane’s birthday was ruined, just as she had feared. While wandering the streets (and kicking Christmas decorations), Jane happened upon a bar full of people celebrating a birthday. Like Jane, they were all Christmas babies. Now among people who understood her, Jane swapped Christmas birthday stories with her newfound friends. She made a quick exit, however, once she realized that the group's next step was to start a riot and destroy Christmas for everyone else.
While the plot of "No-Ho-Ho: was creative and gave Eliza Coupe another chance to shine as Jane, the episode was dominated by the strength of Happy Endings' ensemble cast. As is the case with Community, Happy Endings' actors will be in high demand if the show doesn’t make it past this season, but it’ll be a shame to see the gang disbanded. And since we don’t want that to happen, please make it a New Year’s resolution to force all your friends to start watching Happy Endings in 2013. Especially the ones with Nielsen boxes.
NOTES & QUOTES
– Mr. and Mrs. Kerkovich were spending Christmas at sex camp. Thanks to last week’s episode, we now have faces to go with this description.
– Dave describing Alex’s love of unwrapping gifts: “When it comes to opening presents on Christmas morning, Alex is like a kid on Christmas morning. Yes, I’m getting good at this...”
– Alex trying to hear Jane’s story about a childhood Christmas: “Shhh, I wanna hear what happens.” Penny: “You were there.”
– Jane on not liking Brad and Max scheming together: “Not like when I said I was okay with you and Max starting a black circus.” Max: “You’re not okay with Ringling Bros. for Brothers?” Brad: “It would have been the greatest show on Earf.” (Pause.) “Don’t you dare laugh at that.”
– Jane grumbling to herself on Christmas morning: “Happy birthday Jane... and Jesus... ”
– Dave as a victim of Jane’s pepper spray: “It got in my pants! It’s on my penis!”
– The contagious heaving noise is one of my favorite running gags on Happy Endings.
– Brad assuring Jane that there would be no Christmas creep on her birthday: “Alex is going to keep her weird present-opening fetish under wraps. No pun intended.” Alex: “I don't get it anyway.”
– Dave trying to defend his Jingle Bells ringtone: “That’s the theme song to Jurassic Park, guys.” [Sings to the tune of Jingle Bells...] “Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park, Newman gets killed bad.”
– Brad apologizing to Hip-Hop Santa: “Sorry, Hip-Hop Santa, I cannot dance with you this year. I made a promise. Are you poppin'? You can’t pop without a lock.”
– Alex has a gingerbread version of Love, Actually. Alex is played by Elisha Cuthbert. Elisha Cuthbert was in Love, Actually. How does that work in the Happy Endings universe?
– Max confessing secrets to Brad while being dunked in the sink: “I didn’t vote for Obama. I couldn’t respect his March Madness picks.” Turns out Max wrote in Casey Affleck’s name instead.
– Pete's response to Dave’s fantasy soccer trade of Inigo Montoya for Rancho Cucamonga: “I think you just traded Mandy Patinkin for a town in California.”