Despite Happy Endings having some of the funniest female cast members on TV, last night’s episode was all about the men discovering themselves. Don’t worry, though—Jane was still right in the middle of the action. Did you really expect Jane to sit out any adventure?
While the most of the group is pretty paired off (Jane and Brad are married, Dave and Alex are dating again, Penny found Pete), Max has been alone since Grant left him last season. He came close to finding someone when he tried to date Marcus during Sunday’s episode, but Dave and Jane messed that up for him. Of course, based on ABC’s rapid airing of Happy Endings episodes, I have no idea if we’re even still going in chronological order anymore. For all we know, Sunday’s episode, "Fowl Play/Date," could have been pulled from later in the season, shattering the Happy Endings space-time continuum. I’m going to proceed as if everything is still in order, though, which brings us back to Max being alone. The poor guy just can’t seem to find someone, recognizing that he’s in a man drought.
It seems that Max has always had love interests come to him, usually in the form of pizza delivery guys who just so happen to be gay. But Max realized in this episode's opening scene that he couldn’t just assume the role of pizza delivery guy himself, as that would be prostitution, and he just couldn’t deal with breaking his hypothetical pizza shop/pimp’s heart when he eventually fell in love and left the pizza/pimp game. So how would he ever meet anyone?
At Derek’s urging, Max made it his mission to identify his gay spirit animal. If you don’t remember who Derek is, I offer you this: DRAMA. There we go. Max, with Derek and Jane, went forth and attempted to figure out which gay niche he belonged in by hitting up every club in Chicago. Ostriches. Ginger snaps. Chamelons. Lobsters. Broadway queens. Sitcom gays. Max didn’t fit in anywhere. (I’d like to point out that this is because Max is a real character, not a caricature. I’m looking at you, Modern Family.)
As a last-ditch effort, Max decided to host his own niche even, planning an Optimistic Red-Velvet Walrus Night. Of course, Max had no idea what an optimistic red-velvet walrus was, but he still managed to meet a guy named there, right at the end of the episode. Well, two guys, if you count the walrus-esque man wearing a red suit who also showed up.
Meanwhile, Brad was going through his own period of self doubt, feeling like less of a man in the wake of his own unemployment and his wife’s crazy success as a car saleswoman. The large man purse he pulled out at the bar probably didn't help Brad’s feelings of inadequacy, but we’ll just stick to the “Jane makes more money” thing for now.
Armed with the desire to prove he was a man (and without any of the necessary tools, since the hardware store was closed), Brad enlisted Dave’s help and attempted to fix a broken dimmer switch in the Kerkovich-Williams apartment. After shorting a fuse and blowing out the power, Brad and Dave got into an argument over who was more of a real man. I’d call it a pissing match, but Dave actually won that segment of the competition.
Amazingly, this was the first Happy Endings episode of the season to pair off Dave and Brad, which I find shocking considering the fact that they’re married to/dating the Kerkovich sisters. Dave has spent much of Season 3 with either Alex or Penny or suffering the plight of the Native Americans on his own.
Speaking of Alex and Penny, that duo had the only non-dude adventure of the episode, finding themselves engulfed in a celebrity scandal. After Winnie McCray, a Demi Lovato-esque pop star, bought a dress at Alex’s shop and also told Alex about her dinner plans for the night, Alex and Penny leaked those plans to the paparazzi in hopes of pushing Xela, Alex’s shop, into the celebrity spotlight. The plan backfired when Winnie’s date dumped her in front of the paparazzi, sending Winnie into a Britney Spears-style meltdown. Okay, not quite Britney Spears. Winnie didn’t shave her head, but she did attack a car... a car which happened to be Penny’s. And Xela did get a shout-out, so mission accomplished?
Alex and Penny’s banter with Winnie later in the episode perfectly distilled the character’s personalities. Alex felt bad for the pop star, but had already alerted the paparazzi that Winnie was at Xela before they had a heart-to-heart conversation. Penny tried to fix the entire situation, kind of made it worse, and ended up on the sidewalk after smashing her head on the side of her car. I don’t know who told Penny she could stop wearing her concussion helmet, but she really should keep it handy.
Don’t forget that Happy Endings returns this Sunday and is finally airing "Kickball 2: The Kickening" on American TV. This episode was originally supposed to air during Season 2, but was cut to make room for Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. If Dave has a different haircut and facial hair setup, it’s because the episode is airing completely out of order.
– Dave ordered a “Surprise Me” at the bar. Dave got a flat ginger ale. Don’t ask bartenders to “surprise you,” kids.
– Max critiqued the hypothetical Jane plan he had created in his head: “Jane, ya dumb lamp post, your plan is garbage.” Cue Max sitting in the booth alone.
– Dave on his manly abilities: “I actually Bob Villa’d the squeak out of a cabinet last week.” Alex: “You used butter, and then you tried to make croissants, but then you didn’t have enough butter, and then you screamed into a brown bag.” Dave: “I know what I screamed into.”
– Dave to Alex and Brad: “You women wouldn’t know a real man unless he came up and slapped you in the face ... I meant that in a figurative way ... not a domestic violence way.”
– Alex on today’s music: “Haven’t been too interested in music since Smash Mouth left the game.”
– Jane trying to guess the name of the gay bar Max went to: “Let me guess the name of the bar. This is so fun. Man Hole. Back Door. Club Tush. Dream Balls. Club Tush again. Is it Club Tush?” Max: “It was Greg’s. The gay bar was called Greg’s.”
– Max in response to Derek’s attempt to figure out his gay niche: “I know what you’re doing. You’re gay Yoda-ing me. Wait. Is that redundant?”
– In case you missed it, while Penny was addressing the paparazzi, Alex was in the background trying to make appropriate hand gestures.
– Brad: “How are we the first people to think of making stud finder jokes?” Dave: “I don’t know, but we are.”
– Alex: “Usually rebranding doesn't work. Look at KFC. Sorry guys, you’re always going to be Kitchen Fresh Chicken to me.”
– Penny apologizing to Winnie: “We just never think of celebrities as real people.” Winnie: “It’s okay. Celebrities don't think of you guys as real people either.” Penny: “You shouldn't. We’re garbage.”