Happy Endings Recap: “The Shrink, The Dare, The Date And Her Brother”

Love is in the air (along with revenge, sweater smoke and a very stinky hot dog), as the gang groans about the cheesmo factor of rom-coms, for example the brand new film That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be. It’s all so hooky, gripes Jane, “Like when a couple is getting married, and then one leaves the other at the…doctor’s office.” The table grows silent and everyone looks side-eyed at Alex and Dave. Oh, it’s good to be back.

Despite the fact that they’ve been in-laws for, what, years? Alex and Brad really don’t have much to say to one another. “So, stamps went up again,” Brad offers. “Unbelievable.” Jane pushes them to bond, but nothing seems to work until they spot each other secretly indulging their love of sappy comedies at a screening of the same film everyone else was ripping on. With their respective snacks in hand, Alex and Brad settle in for 110 minutes of weeping about beautiful people’s love troubles and quiet friendship. On a side note, how does Alex’s business stay open? How expensive were those baby t-shirts?

Meanwhile, Max and Jane battle it out to see who is the rightful owner of a baggy, comfy/tight, sexy sweater, which they both claim to own. “It’s like being attacked by a rake,” Max howls as Jane pins to the sidewalk. Mopes Jane, “I twisted my ankle twisting Max’s ankle.” Eventually they decide that the best option is to declare a vain-off, each forcing the other to dress in a particularly repulsive ensemble until they crack. This seemed mildly unfair, seeing as how Jane has a job that doesn’t involve sitting alone in the front of a limo, but upon their reveal it’s hard to deny that Max’s white suspenders, Kangol hat and Princess Di “Jamiroquai before Labor Day” outfit is infinitely more repulsive than Jane’s barnyard vest-and-aviators “Carol Brady right before she was arrested for molesting Bobby” look. Max and Jane are just too confident and stubborn to buckle…until they decide to call in the Chicago Fire Department. The threat of beautiful jacked firemen seeing them in frilly socks and tan turtlenecks is too much for them to bear, though the realist in me was hoping they’d get slapped with a fine when the firefighters burst into Jane’s apartment only to find them both waiting in their undies. “Jane!,” Max rages at their bungled opening line.” We agreed to say, “The fire is in our pants!”

As Dave’s sleazy-yet-charming-yet-seriously-ethically-indefensible therapist Rick Rickman, Ken Marino was slightly underused though, of course, excellent. “Rick says if you like pizza, you’re battling sexual dysfunction,” Penny says. Dave is skeeved out by the nearly-illegal means by which Rick learned Penny’s personal information to ask her on a date ( “You’ve been talking a lot about your mother, and I was wondering, where does Penny work?,” Rick asks him mid-session. “And what bus line is that on?”), but Penny is none the less flattered. “What do you wear to a stalking? Stockings? No, that’s too on the nose,” she muses. Rick and Penny have a great time judging their fellow restaurant patrons based solely on their orders. (For example, lava cake: “Touchy uncle. He didn’t molest her; he’s just very easily offended.”) The cuts between the cheesy rom-com tropes in Alex and Dave’s movie and Penny’s date were inspired, as was Penny’s totally nonchalant reaction to both of her sleeves catching on fire. At different times. For no apparent reason. Dave eventually busts in with Penny‘s therapist, Dr. Roz Leibowitz, in tow. When the two separate to argue with their respective mental health professionals (What about that poor 10-year-old stuck in Dr. Roz’s car?!?! I hope that doggie bag is for him or her), both suggest that Penny and Dave have feelings for each other. This was kind of out of the blue, but at the same time…my heart thrilled when they stood in front of the fountain a la That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be. Guys! I am too deeply invested in this show. Also, inevitable love triangle! Also, I’m adding an extra quotes section at the end of my recaps, because the one-liners, they come 2 fast, 2 furious on this show:

Brad, upon being stuck with the brunch bill: “What is the point of having white friends?”

Dave, trying to explain away how he knows Rick: “Camp…the war…dance class.”
Jane: “Which war?”
Dave: “The war on drugs and we won, by the way. You’re welcome.”

Max: “How do we tell which of us is less vain?”
Jane: “Throw acid in each other’s faces?”

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