Is it possible to overdose on Happy Endings? I guess we’re going to find out in these coming weeks as ABC bombards us with episodes to get its funniest sitcom off its airwaves as quickly as possible (sigh). “Ordinary Extraordinary Love” wasn’t quite as strong an outing as the last, but it did have a very winning Max storyline that brought swishy intentional stereotype Derrick back and put him to good use and nicely took the concept of gay subcultures to a ridiculous extreme.
Derrick has always been a fun character for the show to bring in for a few quick gags but this was undoubtedly his finest half-hour on the show so far, showing a little vulnerability as he tries to find a hole to pigeon Max into and fails (with the unnecessary help of Jane, who fancies herself a hag but is very much a top, Derrick rules to her delight).
Max’s dilemma was even more fun. He thought himself a twink because of his love for twinkies, but it seems that largely his method of meeting men revolves around whoever’s delivering him food and answering yes to the question “Wait. Are you gay?” I also like seeing Max be a little vulnerable (this show is very good at never getting too sappy) and found his solution weird and sweet: he declares himself an “optimistic red velvet walrus” and decides to see what happens. And what happens is, he meets a nice-looking man, and a man who is the very definition of the phrase “optimistic red velvet walrus,” down to the optimism.
Plus all the silly made-up gay subcultures were funny. The chameleon gag was obvious, but nicely done. Same goes for the relentless finger-snapping Ginger Snaps. I wish we could have seen the sitcom gays, though.
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Unfortunately the other storylines were far more pedestrian. Alex and Penny dealt with a Demi Lovato-esque pop star frequenting Alex’s store by selling her out to the paparazzi and then making up for ruining her date with Dave’s steak truck. All well and good, and Penny running into a car was a nice, clean sight gag, but a lot of this material felt stale, particularly the gags about Penny being a demented spinster (doesn’t she have some hot boyfriend right now that we’re never seeing?)
Brad and Dave’s man-time also felt like well-worn territory at this point. Yes, they’re both quite silly, somewhat feminine guys. But we’ve seen those gags sprinkled throughout pretty much every episode of Happy Endings. It’s not enough to sustain a plot, even one as minor as the two of them trying to install a dimmer switch. The only standout moment here was Jane lecturing Brad about his manliness, pointing out that his ridiculous stubbornness was a far more manly quality than his abilities as an electrician.
This was probably the weakest episode of the season so far and it still had tons of laughs and kept my attention throughout. As we get close to the halfway mark, I think it’s fair to say that Happy Endings is having its most consistent year yet—just as ABC decides to bury it in the ground and leave it to whatever fringe network or internet venture might take a chance on it. It’s a sad situation that I hope I’m wrong about, but so far I’m not seeing much evidence to the contrary. Let’s all stick with the show, though, and try to get the word out so it can find a new home if it loses this one. Excelsior!
Alex nails Brad: “You’re like, I’m Brad, and I’m basically a woman, I have an inverted wiener and my boobs squirt milk.”
Dave brags that he took care of a squeaky cabinet. “You used butter and then you tried to make croissants and didn’t have enough butter and then screamed into a brown bag,” Alex recalls.
By the way, just…the biggest props to Elisha Cuthbert, who is CRUSHING it this season. She’s been good for a while now, but she is knocking every line out of the park at this point.
Just take this response to Penny: “I’m gonna die!” “Me too! I mean, we all are, but why are we talking about it now? It’s sad.”
“I haven’t been too interested in music since Smash Mouth left the game.”
“I know what you’re doing. You’re gay Yoda-ing me. Wait, is that redundant?”
“I guess no one will ever love me. Now I know how webisodes feel.”