Happy Endings: “Grinches Be Crazy”
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Happy Endings: “Grinches Be Crazy”

Maybe it’s just cause I’m all 2 Broke Girled out, but the only aspect of tonight’s otherwise strong Happy Endings that didn’t really do it for me was Jamie Denbo’s vaguely Eastern European portrayal of Gita the cleaning lady. Now, on the one hand, Jamie Denbo is awesome, the latest in a long line of UCB vets to pop up on the show, plus we all remember and love her from the dearly departed Terriers. Plus, Max pointed out the Boraty nature of her character and that accent. But still, she got a lot of screentime in a one-gag role that never really gathered any steam and was at times a little painful to watch.

The whole Brad/Jane storyline was classic Happy Endings, in that it took its characters right up to the edge of unlikeablity, then cheerfully pushed them over the edge and told us to root for them anyway. Which we happily did, of course. I basically willed Jane to steal the $2,000 in holiday funds that she accidentally gave Gita. But mostly it was by-the-numbers stuff: The minute Alex mentioned an “indoor beach vacation,” it was obvious Gita would be the one going to Turks and Caicos while everyone else partied on indoor sand.

I thought the Gita storyline bumped up against the Max/Penny Santa storyline a little clumsily too, especially considering how Max’s new-found goodwill towards all men could have been used funnily alongside Jane and Brad’s heinous acts. Instead, Jane/Brad didn’t really interact with anyone else until the little denouement at Penny’s holiday party. Since this is Happy Endings, there was some great little meta-material, like Max’s Borat voice and the well-meaning plot device policeman, but on the whole it just wasn’t quite there.

Max as Santa was an unsurprisingly fun well for the show to draw from, though. His mechanical jiggle belly misfiring was some great physical comedy. His interactions with kids were as good as always (the last episode wasn’t the best, but Max’s plot there was still pretty funny). His surprise at the children “touching” him was maybe worth more screentime than it ended up getting (although, of course, we got the requisite child molestation joke out of the way).

I like the idea of Max gaining weird powers when he puts the Santa suit on, which led to the best scene of the episode, where he shuts down a mugger just by exuding Christmassy joy and guilt. It was really the best scene because we learned about Max’s favorite porn, “Bloody Guys.” (“It’s British guys! Covered in blood.”) But the stuff with the mugger was pretty good too, especially their weaker second effort to stop the mugger (“Excuse me! Residential!”).

Anyway, this show definitely learned from “Spooky Endings” that putting Max in costumes is always a good idea, and not just because he looks cute in a chunky belt. So next Christmas season, more of that, please. Or do a Hanukkah episode and dress Max up as a Maccabee, I don’t care. As long as that dude’s in a costume.

The final plot of the night definitely merits some discussion, mostly for the closing minutes of the episode. Dave cashing in all of Alex’s dumb homemade gift coupons at the same time is an admittedly thin, silly plot, but I could have done with maybe a couple more wacky scenes revolving around that (I think we only saw two or three coupons renewed, which is just not enough).

But then at the end of the episode Dave cashed in his “free kiss,” and he and Alex obviously shared a bit of a moment, and ugh, I just don’t know if I want this show to have that much of a plot. Obviously many a hint’s been dropped about getting Alex and Dave back together, and there’s definitely comedy to be found there, but I don’t want things getting too serious. I enjoy How I Met Your Mother, even this latest season, but I don’t need more sitcoms gettin’ that deep on me. Plus, it just feels like old hat to get them back together until you break them up again, and that trick really only works once, if that. We’ll see. Happy Endings will be back in the New Year with everything else. Merry Christmas!

Stray observations:

  • I liked Alex’s Garry Marshall/Hector Elizondo joke, but I loved Dave’s “Jerks and Bacos” even more.
  • Jane’s very considerate – she always says to Brad’s dad, “May I ax you a question?”
  • Max doesn’t get to have the Glengarry leads. “That is for closers, you child.”
  • Dave thinks Alex’s coupons are an empty gesture, “like a formal apology after an anti-Semitic rant.”
  • Alex’s DJ name? DJ Alex Halley. Not related to Alex Haley, author of Roots.
  • Max doesn’t like regular gay porn. “I can’t deal with all the mustaches.”
  • Why did Alex fall into the gift pit? That was pretty irrelevant, and a little too “clumsy dorky pretty girl!” which is a trope this show usually avoids. 

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