Let’s Talk About This Week’s Episodes Of ‘Happy Endings’: “Kickball” And “The Ex Factor”

Before we delve into the two episodes of Happy Endings that aired this week, I think it’s best if we clear up a few preliminary matters first:

– Most importantly, ABC has decided to end the twice-weekly Sunday-Tuesday Happy Endings double-dip, and will go back to airing the show only in its regular Tuesday night timeslot. Apparently ABC was hoping the second airing would help increase word of mouth and get more eyes on a show they claim to love (despite not really promoting it or giving it much of a shot on Sunday), but the ratings were awwwwwful, so they scrapped the idea after two weeks. This is okay with me because I am very lazy and certainly will not mind going back to one recap a week instead of these jam-packed two-fers, but I’m not sure it’s great for the long-term success of the show. It also means there will be more episodes leftover when they take their Dancing With the Stars-imposed break in March.

– If you haven’t read our Q&A with Eliza Coupe, please do so now. She is a treasure.

– If you are a casual fan of the show and this week’s episodes seemed disjointed and ill-fitting, there’s a reason for that. Sunday’s episode, which featured the gang playing kickball, was originally supposed to air last season but was scrunched out due to scheduling issues. When ABC asked the producers to do the Sunday episodes, they decided to plop it in because it would give them a little leeway with the ramped-up production. That’s why Dave and Alex weren’t together, and why Penny was HECKA man crazy.

– Sometimes I feel like this show is in my head: NBA references, turkey dancing, an episode titled “Boyz II Menorah,” and now one featuring Mark-Paul “Zack Morris/Peter Bash” Gosselaar? I … I don’t even know what else to ask for. If Penny goes on a date with Squints from The Sandlot I may sue them for intercepting my brainwaves.

And now, on the following pages, the highlights:

Page 2

Kickball 2: The Kickening

  • The two most noticeable differences for me in watching this Season 2 episode during Season 3 were Penny and Alex-related. Brad, Jane, Max, and — although to a somewhat lesser extent — Dave were pretty fully-formed as characters by this point, but Penny and Alex have really evolved since this was filmed. Penny has become a little calmer and less openly man-crazy, and Alex has become more of a delightful buffoon. Both positive developments if you ask me.
  • Although Alex does still try to open the fridge fast enough to beat the light, so take that last point with a grain of salt.
  • Of course Dave sucks at kickball. I know it’s the yips, but, I mean, OF COURSE.
  • Speaking of the yips, I loved Brad and Max’s little 90s R&B-inspired “Yi-yi-yiiiips” song.
  • There is no way you’re getting Max for the minimum. Unless there’s beer.
  • “When I send $25 I expect a letter, Adolpho.” Yo. Do NOT cross Jane, even if you’re a starving Guatemalan kid.
  • On that note, Jane had her full-on psychopathic competitive streak on display this whole episode. Switching teams, playing cut-off shirt-related mind games with Alex, wanting to taste victory because it tastes like blood (“human blood”), calling Dave “Yipsy-kay-yay Mother-Failure,” etc. She should probably be locked up for the good of society. She’s practically a supervillain.
  • I’m sure Alex’s apology soup is delicious, but I really want to know more about this “apology pork loin with a side of super-sorry glaze.”
  • “Dave Rose? But he’s terrible!”

Lots to like in this episode, but given what we know how, it seems fitting to end with a GIF of Penny getting smashed in the head with a kickball.

Banner via, GIF via

Page 3

The Ex-Factor

  • Two major stories in this episode: One involving attractive ladies kissing each other, and one involving Mark-Paul Gosselaar as a super-cool ladies man who moves in with Max. This is a good episode. (There is also a smaller story about Penny meeting her new boyfriend’s friends, which serves as a nice reminder that all of the main characters on this show are crazy people.)
  • “‘SHUPS FOR LIFE!”
  • So it turns out Jane’s ex, Ryan, is a girl, and she has lots of other ambiguously named exes. Interesting. Brad doesn’t disagree with this assessment.
  • Although once he finds out Jane and Ryan were actually, like, in love and not just a fling, he’s goes into a hilarious tailspin that involves Powerpoint presentations, graphs, inviting his own ex over, and Adobe Cut and Paste. In between more ‘shups, naturally.
  • “It’s gonna be an awesome night.” “We’re not gonna have a threeway.” “It’s gonna be a pretty good night.”
  • Brad’s pronunciation of “Whoooooooo-ich is why I’ve decided to invite another adult to dinner” = <3
  • STANDING OFFER: If any super-cool person wants to move-in with me, pay me five months rent up front, redecorate my apartment with lots of fancy stuff (including a hot tub), and upgrade my cable to include to the NBA package, that would be A-OK with me. Especially if you are Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
  • Alex, Dave, and Max going into sleuth mode led to lots of great gags, but none topped the three of them trying to do the greeting/chair spin move when Chase’s floozy opened the door. I watched that three times, once in slow-motion. Awesome each time.
  • Dave looks like “Rachel Maddow with a goatee” in Chase’s glasses.
  • “A real gentleman saves someone from a well and never mentions it again.”
  • Their sleuthing ends up uncovering Chase’s big secret, which is that he’s using Max’s apartment as a “sex shack” to cheat on his wife. This leads to his wife chucking a drink in his face, and his promise “ruin Max’s life.” PLEASE LET THIS MEAN HE WILL RE-APPEAR PERIODICALLY AS MAX’S NEMESIS OH PLEASE OH PLEASE.

In conclusion, here is Alex being adorable. See you next week.

GIFs via

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