Last night, Happy Endings was a full hour of comedy, thanks to the geniuses over at ABCBoth episodes dealt with Penny’s suddenly serious relationship. But with “Our Family Wedding” failing to outshine its predecessor, “The Marry Prankster” could shoving two episodes together do more harm than good?

The Players:

  • Director: Rebecca Asher/ Rob Greenberg
  • Writers: Jackie Clarke and Gil Ozeri, Hilary Winston
  • Cast: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans, Jr., Casey Wilson, Nick Zano 

Episode Title: “The Marry Prankster/Our Best Friend’s Wedding”

When the gang convinces Max he won the lottery (he didn’t) his plot for revenge interferes with Pete’s plans for a proposal. Meanwhile, Brad explores a new avenue of employment. Later, Jane takes Penny and Pete to a wedding expo when Pete’s desire to elope doesn’t sit well with them. Elsewhere, Dave and Alex hash out their unresolved issues.

The Good:

  • True Colors: Adam Pally really committed to Max’s celebratory reaction to his fake lottery win. For Max, his immediate decision to divorce himself from his poor friends rang as true as his excitement over finally saying his name properly. He’s a character that’s to be forgiven, even though his first reaction to a friend’s possible breakdown is to grab a camera.
  • Bring the Guns Out: We’re well versed on Brad’s beauty regimen, so its not surprising that Max would put glitter in Brad’s lotions and creams. But using it as an excuse to show Brad doing a cowboy strip tease while Jane made it rain was nothing short of brilliant. 
  • SaBradical: Revisiting Brad’s employment arch was more than necessary. Truthfully, it reestablished the well known fact that job searches are less than successful these days. It would have been unbelievable for Brad to rejoin the work force after so long and fall into the perfect job. 
  • Tiny Psycho: Even with Alex’s dragging leg, her reveal as the group’s prank style Keyser Söze was a complete surprise. The snap-off wig revealing her hair under the Kate Gosselin hack job was equal only to her faxed confession to the gang.
  • Groomzilla: If nothing else, Alex should be championed for inadvertently coming up with names for the addictive Bridezillas. Bride Kong, Frakenbride, and Creature From the Bride Lagoon all deserve their day in the sun. More importantly, Alex’s idea of a dream wedding is pretty badass. A bouquet of fireworks, a baby animal petting zoo, and a bridal bouncy house are the kinds of things people dream about but never ever do. Kudos to the writers for using a minor detail like beige napkins to bring out the bridal beast in Dave. Setting off a type-A person is all about the details.
  • Take on Me: As beloved as the song is, no one in their right mind would want their entire wedding video shot with those grainy special effects. Thank goodness someone decided to use it to recap the episode’s best scenes.  

The So-So:

  • So This Is Happening: Penny and Pete’s engagement feels fast, even by sitcom standards. While it was the, “most romantic engagement ever to take place within 20 feet of a car fire,” the proposal felt like an effort to show that the two really know each other. In actuality, all it did was prove Pete’s comfortable with Penny’s tendency to lie under pressure.  It’s clear she barely knows him; her shock at his love of reggae proved that. The gang seems oddly unperturbed by the coupling. 
  • Harvey Chocolate Milk: Normally Brad and Max’s forays into the world are fodder for the best laughs. However, this time their journey into the Valentine’s wedding expo was lacking. The only legs their story had to stand on were the continuous use of the lines “Manny Petty’s Mani Pedi’s” and “pound your ass.” Laugh as we did, two funny phrases does not a story make.

The Bad:

  • Couch Slouch: It’s obvious that special effects aren’t this shows forte. Putting an airbag under a couch cushion is an excellent prank. But can we talk about Alex’s fake flopping body? If you know you can’t fool the masses, it’d be better to make fun of the lack of authenticity. That’s much more Happy Endings style anyway.
  • At The Altar: Obviously, the writers are screwing with us. Why else would they have Dave and Penny sit under an altar and have a heart to heart amidst the crumbling of their relationships? We don’t know if that scene was just a touching heart to heart, or foreshadowing that the Dave and Penny plot isn’t over. We’re not saying they belong together, but it would be prudent to address the unresolved feelings of both parties before either is thrust into any serious commitment.

The Quotable:

  • “Get your poor hands off me.” –Max
  • “Brad, I hope you get this job because we need to have a distraction from Max’s revenge spree.”–Alex
  • “Call me Melanie Griffith ’cause I’m gonna be workin’ girl.” –Brad
  • “Do you guys realize we’re all prawns in his game? Little shrimp swimming around waiting to get eaten by a shark named Max.” –Alex
  • “Classic Brad panic move. Just like when 9/11 happened and you full on supported the war in Iraq.” –Jane
  • “And when it comes, my revenge will be served like the tennis serve of a seventh grade girl: slow, out of bounds, and I will pull balls from my tennis skirt.” –Max
  • “I’ve always been secretly turned on by a pint-sized girl with a limp. When Kerry Strung stuck that landing I stuck myself in my bedroom for quite some time.” –Dave
  • “Can I come in?  Every second that we waste is a second that I can’t say, ‘You know my fiancé.’” –Penny
  • “I’m not as dumb as I am.” –Alex
  • “No, I was just passionate. Would you call Jonas Salk Polio-zilla or George Clooney Darfur-zilla, or the founder of the real estate site Zillow Zillowzilla?” –Dave
  • “Well I didn’t like Korean spas until I learned the phrase, ‘I don’t want to bleed today,’ in Korean and now I love them.” –Penny

Overall:

“The Marry Prankster” was like a night of binge drinking and “Our Family Wedding” was the next day’s hangover. While the show is making gains in the story arc department, it still has a ways to go before the recent developments make sense. Making Penny’s relationship feel authentic should be priority one.

Rating: 7/10

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

What did you think of this episode?