Jeremy Likes TV

I like TV. Probably more than any human should.

TV Diary | Happy Endings: “Full Court Dress”

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TV Diary | Happy Endings – Episode 2.08 – “Full Court Dress” – Original Airdate: 11/22/11

Editor’s note: New feature time here on the blog. I’m kind of shamelessly stealing from The AV Club’s format for their episode reviews, but I don’t think they’ll care much. I’m actually going to start doing some mini-reviews that I’m calling TV Diary. As we enter the digital age, DVRs have become much more prevalent over the past five years and many people tend to keep up with their favorite shows on their own pace. Many, like myself, rarely watch anything live so the stockpile of shows on the ol’ TiVo can get rather large. TV Diary will give you a look at what I’ve been watching – it may be a show that aired months ago, or it could be a show that aired just last night. My hope is that maybe I’ll turn you on to something you haven’t been watching or warn you away something that’s terrible. At the very least, it’ll allow me to exercise my writing muscles. Anyway, onto the entry.

Having never written about Happy Endings here before, I feel it necessary to talk a little about its backstory for those unfamiliar with it. One of about 47 different sitcoms that aired during the 2010-11 television season whose premise was based around a group of friends in their late-twenties/early-thirties who are in various stages of relationshiphood [1], Happy Endings became an inexplicable success story after being dumped onto the air in April [2] and having its episodes double-pumped [3] for about six weeks. Its ratings were middling, but it grew creatively as the weeks progressed and earned a surprise renewal, with ABC giving it the most prime real-estate on its entire schedule – the lead-out position from their most highly rated scripted series, Modern Family. Based on this show of faith in rewarding creative progress, Happy Endings has come from nowhere to fashion itself into one of network television’s funnier sitcoms. Still, the show is still in the process of finding itself so episodes like “Full Court Dress,” where the zaniness is cranked up one or two levels too high, are going to happen from time to time. Like many sitcoms with an ensemble that’s structured like Happy Endings, the show will often pair its characters off to create three separate storylines within the space of one episode with the central one here being Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) getting stuck hanging out with Brad’s annoying mailman Drew (played by guest star Rob Riggle). I’m normally a big Riggle fan, but he was essentially playing an even more cartoonish version of Rob Riggle here and it made it difficult to understand why Dave and Brad wouldn’t just say, “Fuck it,” and ditch the guy. We’re talking about a dude who makes ziti in his trunk at a tailgate and who greets them at a pickup basketball game by saying, “I just dumped out so I should be light on my feet,” before proceeding to talk supreme-level smack while being perhaps the worst white-guy basketball player ever. But because this is a sitcom, Dave and Brad get roped into throwing a memorial service after Drew is mauled by a polar bear and killed [4] bringing that plotline to a welcomed conclusion. Meanwhile, Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) are in a storyline that sees Alex trying to convince Jane to let her design Jane’s dress for a charity function due to her enrollment in a Project Runway-esque design course – Alex notes that it was deemed too close to copyright-infringing that it needed to be called “Situation Workspace” – while Penny (Casey Wilson) and Max (Adam Pally) compete for the affections of Max’s visiting niece and nephew. Actually… Penny competes enough for the both of them since Max makes it clear that he hates kids, but comes to appreciate how they can essentially be used as slaves once he discovers that they love to be treated as adults. All three storylines provide laughs here and there – the joke-per-minute ratio of Happy Endings is higher than most of its sitcom brethren – but ultimately, “Full Court Dress” is one of the weaker episodes of the show’s sophomore season. Still, Happy Endings has been hitting much more than it’s been missing lately so it’s easy to excuse this misstep.

[1] Yeah.. I just made that word up. I do what I want.
[2] Well after most mid-season series who have the faith of their network on their side.
[3] Airing two episodes in one night. Yet another sign your network doesn’t think too highly of you. It’s roughly one step above the dreaded summer burn-off.
[4] Because he didn’t like the way that the polar bear was looking at him. That seems appropriate, considering the lack of subtlety of the entire storyline.

Miscellany:

*Brad’s way too into smoothies.
*”Haha… joke’s on you. My corpse will be unrecognizable.”
*”Does Frank in 4B need sex doll repair parts?”
*Penny takes Max’s niece and nephew to a creepy doll museum where the dolls have real hair and teeth (!).
*”Penny, they’re hugging me. Their little hands are all over me.”
*”Blood is thicker than annoying.”
*Dave has no idea what “And 1” means.
*”I call it trunk ziti because I bake it in the trunk.”
*”Hey, Billy. You look racist.”
*”No accidentally seating five-plus size women at the hippo table ruined the event.”
*”And also? I want to buy some Karl Malden Forever stamps.”

Episode Grade: B-

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Written by jeremylikestv

January 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm

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