Another double dose of Happy Endings made our week. “The Ex Factor” played with our expectations, and made a few obvious jokes that paid off. We’re glad we didn’t miss it, or guest star Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

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, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Briga Heelan, Nick Zano

Episode Title: “The Ex Factor”

Jane’s ex comes for a visit who—surprise surprise—turns out to be a woman. No one is more surprised than Brad. Elsewhere, Max’s new roommate updates his apartment.

The Good:

  • Normal People: In an unprecedented move, Pete insisted Penny spend time with his friends. A few seconds with Pete’s normal pals is all anyone needs to be reminded of how ridiculous our beloved characters are. Normal people don’t do pile-on’s, or insults of any kind for that matter. They don’t waste time trying to get even with random people for indiscretions, or use small animals to prove a point. The comparison made us value how the gang lacks normalcy.  
  • Love Shack: Let this be a lesson to you all: diving into someone’s life after they’ve been missing for less than 24 hours is never a good idea. Tracking down Chase, Max’s new roommate, let Max and Alex flex their comedic muscles. For them, worrying about someone means going through their phone, wearing their clothes, ruining their marriage and ending their career. Using your new apartment to sleep with hot chicks when your wife is occupied is impossible when you live with Max. But watching guest star Mark-Paul Gosselarr threaten to get even was the stuff of dreams; hopefully we’ll be seeing more Chase in the future.
  • Emotional vs. Physical: In a plot twist surprising no one, turns out Jane’s ex is a woman. But the shocking part for Brad was the news that the relationship involved love–not pillow fights and mud wrestling. By the same token, Jane was more threatened by Brad’s former fling than an emotional connection. Yet again, their story highlighted how perfectly matched they are. Of course Jane would care more about Brad’s sexual conquests; she’s the alpha male. And though it seems like they’re hammering another nail into the gender roles coffin, Brad and Jane play off each other too well for it to matter.

The Bad:

  • The Missing Problem: In the past two weeks we’ve been treated to four new episodes of Happy Endings–three of which from this season. None addressed Alex and Dave’s relationship for even a moment. Their union has been a thorn in the show’s side since the season began. No matter how much we want it to, the whole storyline can’t disappear without a mention. Painful as it may be, it’s time to attack this coupling head on. Hopefully, they’ll end it with dignity so Alex and Dave can resume their roles as funny friends.

The Quotable:

  • “Max you can’t have disposable income when you owe us 11 thousand dollars. And three cats.” –Jane
  • “What do you got going on that you don’t have time to say push-ups?” –Jane
  • “So besides withholding judgment on your new goatee, what should we do this weekend?” –Penny
  • “A real gentleman saves someone from a well and never mentions it again.” –Max
  • “We hardly ever use tiny livestock to prove points.” –Pete

Overall:

“The Ex Factor” finally folded Pete into the fray. He even delivered a couple quality lines. We learned that people named Veronica are untrustworthy, and you should never call your boyfriend’s friend a stupid clumsy bitch, even if it’s a joke. We love a show that can make fun of itself, but ignoring the show’s issues isn’t as attractive. Dave and Alex must be dealt with.

Rating: 8/10

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

What did you think of this episode?