One of the most popular topics in the comments section of last week’s Happy Endings review was my failure to mention a certain bathroom scene featuring Jane. Look, mistakes were made, and I don’t really know how that happened. I’ll do my best not to do it again.
That said, the response to my Jane omission synced up well with this week's episode, "Sabado Free-Gante." While the “Dave and Alex moving in together” and “Max shows Brad how to enjoy a cheap Saturday” sublots were meaningful and funny, respectively, the main attraction of this episode was the spectacle of Jane guiding Penny through the experience of buying a new car. If we didn't know it before, we'd better know it now: Jane Kerkovich-Williams is one of the best characters on TV. Thank you, Happy Endings, for giving Eliza Coupe the role she was born to play.
When Happy Endings first premiered, it was pretty easy to say that Elisha Cuthbert was the show’s biggest female lead. She'd been in movies like The Girl Next Door and Old School and she'd had a role on 24. Casey Wilson had been on Saturday Night Live for a bit. Coupe? Well, she had appeared in the final real season of Scrubs (and that additional Scrubs 2.0 season that we all pretend never happened) and done one episode of Community, but that was about it. Did anyone expect her to become such a comedic force on Happy Endings? I certainly didn’t.
Like the Season 2 episode that exposed Jane’s habit of Kerkoviching Brad, "Sabado Free-Gante" allowed Coupe to go full Jane. Diabolical. Clever. Crafty. Penny knew exactly what she was getting into when she admitted to Jane that she was planning on buying a new car. Penny tried to leave the apartment without Jane, but—poof!—there was Jane in the backseat of her car. Penny turned her head, and—poof!—there was Jane in the passenger seat. In response to Penny’s cry of “Man alive! Are you a witch?” Jane only shrugged.
At the dealership, Jane amazed Penny with her ability to predict the salesman’s every move. At times, Penny couldn’t handle the stress, crashing through both a glass window and the plastic that eventually covered the space formerly occupied by a glass window. But with Jane's help, Penny finally sealed the deal with the salesman, at which point she turned to reach for her purse, only to discover that—poof!—Jane had disappeared once again, possibly by transforming into a fly.
While the adventures of Jane and Penny brought the episode’s biggest laughs, Dave and Alex’s search for the perfect apartment was the episode’s most substantial plotline. After deciding last week that they couldn't move backward and that they didn’t want to keep it casual, Dave and Alex decided to move in together. The couple enlisted the help of a realtor played by Rachael Harris (who you know from her bit parts in just about every sitcom that’s been on TV in the past five years). When the reality of making a two-year commitment to an apartment and each other hit them, Dave and Alex unleashed every excuse they could muster to deem the apartments they were looking at wrong. One apartment was too "LaBeoufy." Another was definitely haunted. And yet another had wi-fi—a huge deal-breaker, since Dave and Alex only do dial-up (they’re old-school like that). After Dave and Alex rejected every apartment she showed them, the realtor called the couple out for knowing they shouldn’t cohabitate.
I gotta say, this was an awkward moment in the episode. Dave and Alex are fun together. They have great chemistry. The one problem is that Alex leaving Dave at the altar for a guy on rollerblades is always going to be the cloud hanging over them. As great as they may be as a couple, their past may be too much to overcome. They’re going to go ahead and move in together for now, but how long will their relationship last?
Rounding out the episode was Brad’s journey into the depths of Max World (which is neither trademarked or registered, btw). With Brad out of work, not only have he and Jane had to cut back on brunch expenditures and "of the month" clubs, Brad has also had to give up his usual Saturday routine of shopping, working out with his trainer, and spending time in the steam room. Max’s solution to Brad’s problem didn’t involve speaking to any smelly guys in alleys, but it did involve credit card fraud, several support groups (“Thanks for sharing that story about your dad and the ice tray”), and slapping a pretzel out of a large man’s hand and running like crazy.
My only real complaint about "Sabado Free-Gante" is that the group spent pretty much the entire episode split into pairs. This is an amazing ensemble cast, and they’re hilarious when they're together. The Halloween-themed opener featuring the six characters dressed up as a marionette version of the Jackson Five packed a serious number of laughs into just a few minutes. "Shut up, LaToya.”
NOTES & QUOTES
– Max upon realizing that Brad and Jane had scaled back brunch: “That is not fresh-squeezed juice. That is from concentrate. Concentrate!” Alex: “I’m trying, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
– Based on Alex’s impression of Brad, I think she’s been hanging out with her racist parrot too much.
– There were some questions last week regarding what had happened to the apartment Alex had once shared with Dave. In last season’s "Blax, Snake, Home" episode, Alex adopted a snake named Tyler and proceeded to feed it Peeps. The Peeps gave the snake diabetes, it got mad and got loose, and Alex moved in with Penny. I’m assuming a Peeps-addicted snake with diabetes leaves an apartment uninhabitable.
– I could watch the pinata montage on repeat. Max trying to sneak up on it killed me.
– Jane to Penny: “You control your own destiny, like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.” Penny: “Oh my god, I love those books! You read them too?” Jane: “No, that stuff’s for dorks, but I knew it would get you excited.”
– Realtor to Dave and Alex: “I can understand why you’re hesitant choosing your apartment.” Dave: “Hesitant?” Alex: “Hesitant?” Dave: “Hesitant?” Alex: “Hesitant?” Dave: “Hesitant?” Alex: “Hesitant? Is that even a word?”
– Alex’s dial-up impression joins air hula-hooping, a Renee Zellweger impression and krumping as the most ridiculous things Cuthbert has done on Happy Endings.
– Jane to Penny: “Must be strong, like Hermione in the Harry Potter books.”
Penny: “You read those?” Jane: “Dorks …”