This week it’s all about Penny. It’s Penny’s 31st birthday (29th if you ask her) and if you ask the gang, her birthday is super cursed – her getting hit in the face, vicious dogs, and dead clowns were just a few that were recounted to us. There were a lot of awesome parallel’s to the pilot episode going on here (which featured Penny’s 30th birthday) which was a reminder of just how far the show has come since then. It was also the first episode of the series to feature one plot involving the whole group without pairing anybody off, and judging by this episode they should do it more often.
The crux of the episode involved the gang trying to decide on a restaurant to dine at for Penny’s birthday because they “have to do better this year”. Of course, they had to rule out certain places they could eat at: Penny had given restaurant rights to an ex-boyfriend after a breakup, Alex had already eaten Thai, Indian and barbecue for lunch and Brad and Jane had sex in a few on the West side. It has been pointed out that this episode resembled the classic Seinfeld episode wherein they go to a Chinese restaurant and never get served. I see the similarities, but I also don’t think it’s fair to compare the shows as of course Happy Endings is going to fall short of Seinfeld - it’s new and still finding it’s groove. If I had to compare this episode, I’d say it reminded me of the How I Met Your Mother episode ‘Happily Ever After’ where they go out for dinner and Ted and the gang hide under a table from his ex Stella. There’s only so many story lines all sitcoms use that get spun into their own little versions.
There were a few side stories added for good measure including Brad having a restaurant he took women specifically to break up (“There was a mariachi band, the silverware was plastic, and the tables were bolted to the ground”) which we learnt he had taken Jane to early in their relationship and lead to some amusing conflict – and it wasn’t even the Spring Smackdown! As well as having one of the waitresses at a restaurant be Dave’s trashy underage date Jackie from the pilot episode. A lot to enjoy here and a great episode to jump in and get to know all the characters.
Other favourite tidbits:
- Two of my favourite lines of the episode came from Jane, all before the opening credits: “Tonight we gotta bring in da noise. And time permitting, da funk.” and “That was the most hilarious near-death experience I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Anthony Anderson play tennis.”
- “You know what I was thinking about? If Mary Tyler Moore married and then divorced Steven Tyler then married and divorced Michael Moore then got into a three-way lesbian marriage with Demi Moore and Mandy Moore, would she go by the name Mary Tyler Moore Tyler Moore Moore Moore?” – Max has a way with tangents.
- “We are too inside the box. We gotta branch out. Talk about restaurants that maybe don’t exist. For example, where does Gollum eat?” - Max
- Alex’s Miracle and Goonies inspirational speech was all kinds of fabulous. Speaking of Alex, she once again got the best lines of the episode including “Darth Vader was a Nazi?” and “I have a brain idea!”
- The last scene with the old lady ‘cursing’ everyone and them subsequently switching bodies reminded me of the film Drag Me To Hell. Awesome.