If you were worried about Happy Endings missing a step after the holidays, you wasted your time. “Fowl Play/ Date” put to rest one of the show’s oldest and most offensive characters. All the laughs you were missing over the brief hiatus were jammed into one night of comedy.

The Players:

  • Director: Rob Greenberg
  • Writer: Sierra Teller Ornelas
  • Cast: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson, Billy Beck, Tom Christensen, Justin Louis Baldoni, Dwight V. Coleman, Jerry Hauck, Leslie A. Hughes

Episode Title: “Fowl Play/Date”

Brad and Penny accidentally kill Alex’s pet while trying to fix a broken ornament. Meanwhile, Jane and Dave try to find Max a new boyfriend.

The Good:

  • Rom-Com Con: The opening bit was perfect in every way. Alex’s trip to the Rom-Com Con was a group joke built on itself. It gave us some creative references such as: the Miss Saigon Con, the Chaka Khan Con, the Butter Pecan Con, and the Oh-It’s-On-Con-Like-Donkey-Kong-Con  The moment even came with an abrasive plea for quiet from a tortured fellow customer. That added moment of realism catapulted the joke into classic territory. 
  • A Witness: In the show’s continued effort to mix up its pairings, none had more surprising success than that of Brad and Penny. Both equally over dramatic, the two played off of each other in a symphony of squeals, without crossing the line of overacting. If their harmonious humor wasn’t enough, Alex believing that an argument with her bird caused him to kill himself really struck a chord. It was immediately outdone by the notion that she would be oblivious to the fact that copious amounts of alcohol aren’t a key component of the fowl health plan.
  • My Guy: Dave and Jane’s fight to find a guy for Max felt tailor made for her. But without warning the story morphed into a tale about having to accept the fact that your friend will never be attracted to you, or anyone like you. Yet it seems like the ideal situation for this buddy sitcom to tackle. Watching Dave and Jane drive Max’s perfect date away made two things glaringly obvious. Friends don’t drive friends to eat boiled eggs on the toilet, and everyone already knew Jane smells of testosterone.
  • The Pop Culture Register: It’s hard to ignore the show’s hilarious nods to pop culture. First was Max’s line from his screenplay Heat 2: It’s About To Get Hot In Herr, which was just a direct quote from Heat. Then there were obvious nods to Annie Hall and Overboard, along with a momentary shout-out to Kerry Washington and Scandal.  Brad lamented a purchase from SkyMall, as all eventually do, and the parallel of Ryan Reynolds’ hotness and career debated. A slight reference to Neil Patrick Harris—by way of a Neil Patrick Niles insult—rounded out the usual pop culture party.

The Quotable:

  • “Best entrance ever girl.” -Max
  • “Now why would you bring your bird into a diner–wait I don’t know why I’m surprised, I once saw you put sunscreen on a grape because you didn’t want it to become a raisin.” -Jane
  • “Max, Dave and I couldn’t help but notice that you were acting like a lonely little bitch the other night.” -Jane
  • “I am not lonely, I was just venting. I say a lot of things I don’t mean, like, ‘I’ll pay you back,’ or, ‘I’m good to drive.’” -Max
  • “I plan on wining, dining, and 79-ing him. And yes, if you’re wondering, that is 10 better.” -Max

Overall:

By continuously mixing up the character parings, Happy Endings is exploring all of its strengths. Let’s hope every shake up is as successful as last night’s.

Rating: 9/10

Happy Endings airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of the episode?