Last night’s Happy Endings episode struck a personal chord with me. No, not because I’ve had trouble fitting in with a group of coworkers. And no, not because I’ve had to wear a helmet after suffering multiple concussions. "P & P Romance Factory" hit home because, like Max, I too have been the victim of handshake betrayal. What’s handshake betrayal, you ask? Let me explain.
While hanging out at Rosalita’s, the gang ran into Brody, the guy with “bro” already in his name. I’m pretty sure the last time we saw Brody was in the Season 1 episode "Barefoot Pedaler," when he showed Dave that someone had autotuned his failed wedding and put it on YouTube, making the V-Necked One a viral star. When Max went in to fistbump Brody, Brody switched gears at the last minute, putting an open palm against Max’s outstretched fist. Max had been turkey fistbumped, Brody declared, giving a name to the act of receiving a fistbump with a high five.
When I was in college, my friends and I used to run into a former high school classmate whenever we went out. It didn’t matter what we were doing, this guy would somehow always be wherever we were. Out of a sense of obligation, we would wander over to him, prepared to exchange the awkward updates about life post-high school. One night, I walked up to him, and based on what I thought was a fistbump offering, I too went for the fistbump. Just as we were about to connect, this guy switched to an open palm, resulting in an awkward fistbump/high five hybrid. At the time, I had no idea the situation had a name.
After this week’s Happy Endings, I now realize that I was a victim of handshake betrayal and that this guy had turkey fistbumped me. In the words of Max, “You don’t go around turning people’s hands into turkeys.” I knew something wasn’t right then, and now I have the infinite wisdom of Max to back me up.
Unlike Max, though, I'm not scarred by an awful hand gesture experience that happened during my childhood. While explaining to Dave why Brody’s fistbump-betrayal bothered him so much, Max shared that he had fallen for the “down low/too slow” high five trick at school, falling flat on his face after going for the down-low high five. This bothered Dave tremendously, as Dave claimed to have invented “down low/too slow” as a kid, making him feel responsible for Max’s painful childhood experiences.
As Alex later pointed out, Dave probably only convinced himself that he invented this high-five trick, but that didn’t stop Dave from arming Max with a response to Brody’s betrayals. When Max, Dave, and Alex showed up at Rosalita’s, Max counteracted Brody’s turkey move with a chop while declaring, “Too bad it’s Thanksgiving.” Unfortunately for Max, Brody had a countermove of his own, smothering Max’s fist with his own palm while making a sputtering noise with his lips. In Brody’s opinion, you couldn’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes.
While Max, Dave, and Alex were caught up in the handshake-betrayal business, Jane found herself having trouble becoming a part of the boys’ club while working for the Car Czar. Apparently Jane’s natural reaction to watching porn is to point out that those girls are someone’s daughters. Doesn’t usually go over well with boys’ clubs. Hoping to find a way to connect with her male coworkers, Jane invited them over for dinner. Once Brad started talking about his homemade candles, he instantly found himself welcomed into the group of wives, leaving Jane to continue making awkward conversation with the boys. Out of ideas, Jane tried one final Hail Mary—to make a joke about Brad like her coworkers were making jokes about their wives.
Surprisingly, Jane’s Louis Vuitton joke went over remarkably well, and she and Brad were now full members of the boys’ club and wives’ club, respectively, even if the gender roles were reversed. Things were going well until Jane mocked Brad in front of the Car Czar, taking the trophy wife jokes a step too far. Angry, Brad decided that if Jane wanted a trophy wife, well, he was going to give her one. In one of the funniest bits of this season of Happy Endings, Damon Wayans Jr. showed us exactly what a trophy-wife version of Brad would look like. Large handbag. Tracksuit. Tons of sighs. And a teacup pig. Wait, let me be more specific. A teacup pig named Carnitas. Carnitas. You probably just won the week in comedy with that one, Happy Endings.
Brad’s presence at the car dealership may have cost Jane a sale or two, but it got her to realize that Brad never mocked her around his coworkers. Jane told off the Car Czar, a move that probably would’ve gotten her fired if she wasn’t his top saleswoman. With Brad and Jane reconciled, I just want to see Carnitas again.
Penny didn’t have time to get sucked into her friends’ stupid schemes this week, as she had a stupid scheme of her own to keep going. In light of her season-premiere fall down that flight of stairs, Penny’s doctor informed her that she was extremely susceptible to concussions and, due to her tendency to hit her head, would have to wear a helmet. While shopping for a fashionable helmet with Alex, Penny met Pete and agreed to go out on a date with him. Over a series of outings that all involved protective headwear, Penny and Pete became closer, and Penny realized that even though they hadn’t slept together due to her fragile head state, they'd gotten to know each other really well. Even though she feared that Pete would leave her, Penny wound up explaining to him why their dates had to involve Segway tours or eating lunch in construction zones while wearing hardhats. Luckily for Penny, Pete stuck around, and the two launched into a helmeted makeout session. And, no, that’s not a euphemism for anything.
– Jane’s Jack Nicholson impression: “Ehh, Lakers.”
– Brad to Penny after seeing her medical-grade safety helmet: “You look like a crayon a fat kid would eat.”
– Alex to Penny after seeing her medical-grade safety helmet: “Ehh ... helmet joke ... I just wanted in.”
– Max to Alex after she beat him in foosball: “It’s bad enough we’re being beaten by someone who’s only slightly bigger than actual foosball players.”
– Penny responding to Pete’s use of the word “quaint”: “Ah, quaint. Isn’t that the space between a girl’s goal and her penalty box?”
– Alex prodding Penny to go out with Pete: “He could be your soulmate. Your kindred spirit. Your One Tree Hill.”
– The Car Czar after Jane mocked Brad: “Is there a ten-inch whore here? Because that was a low blow.”
– In case you're wondering, the actual president of the company that makes Segways died in a Segway accident. Pete’s fears weren’t unfounded.
– Alex can’t pronounce “Wednesday.” Another reason why I love Alex.