Sunday’s episode of Happy Endings was a blast from the past—literally. If a few things seemed strange, it’s because this brand-new episode was leftover from season two. It was squeezed out when ABC couldn’t find the time to air it. “Kickball 2: The Kickening” features, surprise surprise, a kickball game.  

The Players:

  • Director: Gail Lerner
  • Writers: Jackie Clarke and Gil Ozeri
  • Cast: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson

Episode Title: “Kickball 2: The Kickening”

Everyone joins Alex’s store sponsored kickball team—except Jane, who defects to a better team. If that isn’t enough, Dave freezes up every time he steps up to the plate.

The Good:

  • The Group Excuse: The last late night bender, the last summer of fun, the last joint venture to Spontaneoustown before marriage and children redesign the group’s makeup. Alex did a great job of using that fear to goad everyone into joining her kickball team. Plus, part of her plea where she pretended to get a call from, “pretty please,” was crazy adorable. 
  • The Monikers: Names took center stage; nicknames, insulting labels, and businesses were all highlighted. Brad’s self-proclaimed title “Bunt Cake” was heavily featured. Jane’s treachery earned her two names, “LeBlonde Jane” and “Jannedict Arnold,” both well-deserved. The best insulting label of the night was her crushing name for the fumbling Dave; “Yippy Kiyay Mother Failure” is equal parts stinging and hilarious, as well as an awesomely John McClain reference. But the episode long gag was Xela—pronounced Shayla—Alex’s store.
  • The Dream: Who do we have to stalk to find the proper way to go about a Book Club Brunch Crawl? Or any brunch really? So often with Happy Endings the briefest lines or the quickest jokes are so good they can’t go unnoticed. Jane’s plans have become everyone’s dream.
  • The Flashback: Of course Jane stole her sister’s spot on Baboo the Green Monkey Funky Hour when they were children. Victory at all costs has been her motto forever. Watching Jane push Alex out of the way reminds Alex of the slight by wearing that tiny Baboo shirt during the game. It was the kind of Kerkovitch drama we’ve missed in season three. 
  • The Game: The actual tournament was filled with laugh after laugh. First, there was Max’s loosely constructed homage to Tom Hanks’s character in A League of Their Own, proclaiming heavy loos and heavy drinking.  Penny’s non-lesbian six inch heels were a joke, just like Brad’s overused and highly entertaining bunt shtick. Dave’s take on a choke artist was infused with the thoughtful and mockable emotion he brings to every scene. But the kickball diamond was a shining moment for the game’s announcer, guest star Matt Walsh. He played the role of downtrodden, introspective announcer to a tee. His best was realizing Alex and Jane were related, calling for everyone to use, “hashtag, who knew they were sisters.” If that wasn’t enough, professional football player Lance Briggs dropped in to take Dave’s place and fall on his butt.

The Quotable:

  • “I didn’t even know you could pronounce the name of your store. I thought it was a four letter Celtic symbol for failure.” –Dave
  • “You see, I like to win, so I’m taking my talents to south side Kaz’s Auto Body Shop.” –Jane
  • “Silly Alex, wins are for winners.” –Jane
  • “You said you wanted to, quote ‘Taste the sweet nectar of victory because you were pretty sure it would taste like blood.  Human blood,’ end quote.” –Penny
  • “Classic battle, good versus evil, Bulls versus Pistons, my Aunt Michelle versus Hepatitis B.” –Max
  • “Turns out there is crying in kickball.” –Max

Overall:

The most impressive thing about “Kickball 2: The Kickening” is that it stood on its own. Sure, it was jarring to see Dave in his old apartment, and Penny unattached. But since the episode focused on one plot it was hard to tell that things were different.  Thanks to the vast array of jokes, all we could focus on was the laughs.

Rating: 10/10

Happy Endings airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this episode?