Ok so let’s just get this out in the open and not dance around the subject, this week’s episode was pretty lackluster. And by lackluster I mean probably the worst of this season. Coming off of last week’s classic episode probably didn’t help, but not much worked for me this week. This episode made me go back to my first recap and how the show just wasn’t scoring high on the funny meter. And boy did this episode rate low on good jokes.
Let’s recap: Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) decide to invite Brad’s mailman, Drew (the funny Rob Riggles), to join them in a game of basketball, but soon realize he’s kind of a freak with anger issues. They try to ditch him but instead, he invites them to a Bears game the next day and they just can’t resist. After they realize that he doesn’t actually have tickets, they try to sneak off and Drew gets all weird and angry. When they go to complain to Drew’s boss about him, they find out that boss-man actually died when he tried to get into a fight with a bear at the zoo. (huh?) They inevitably throw him a memorial because they feel guilty that no one seems to care that he is dead. This was my least favorite story of the bunch – partly because I feel like Mr. Knighton and Mr. Wayans Jr. have the least amount of chemistry out of all the pairings. Many of the jokes felt recycled and the memorial could have been so much funnier. Maybe the writers should have watched The Golden Girls, ‘It’s a Miserable Life’ (2×04) where the ladies organize the memorial of a much despised neighbor that they hardly knew. Now that was a funny memorial.
Meanwhile, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) begs Jane (Eliza Coupe) to design a dress for her to wear at a benefit she is hosting. Jane reluctantly agrees and is surprised by what Alex gives her. Her starring moment is quickly squashed with the realization that other girls are wearing the same dress – newsflash – it’s actually from J. Crew. Alex admits that she didn’t feel confident with her creation but wanted to make Jane proud so she got another dress instead. This was a nice little arc for Alex’s character which has felt very underdeveloped. Out of all the characters, she is the one that has been the least developed and it’s a shame because she could be a really interesting funny female archetype. Not to mention that Elisha Cuthbert has great comedic timing. To be honest, I wasn’t holding my breath during the pilot episode but she surprised me and has continually surprised me with her great comedic chops. Hopefully the writers start giving her more to do than look cute and deliver mediocre Project Runway jokes. (although I will say I chuckled at the “situation walkspace,” joke)
Lastly, Max (Adam Pally) asked Penny (Casey Wilson) to help babysit his niece and nephew after his brother dropped them off unexpectedly. Penny agrees to help since kids apparently adore her but she ends up alienating the kids while Max end ups being the hero. This was the most enjoyable of all the storylines but mostly because of my undying love for Casey Wilson and Adam Pally.
Now I’ve said this before and I will say it again, (in fact, everyone will say this I’m sure…) this show only seems to work when the jokes are hilarious. When the humor is lackluster the show displays it’s biggest weakness: lack of human interest. Don’t get me wrong I love all the characters, but the stakes aren’t high enough. Where is the human drama? The forbidden romances? When I think of some of the great comedies (Roseanne, The Cosby Show, Parks and Recreations, Community, and yes even Friends (but not season 9 or 10)), those shows worked because they were not only funny but they had storylines that brought the characters to life. Happy Endings flirted with this in the first episode with the set up of Alex leaving Dave at the alter and the aftermath, but they have all but abandoned any character arcs this season. Instead one-off episodes are relying on “crazy” characters antics. This can work sometimes, as we saw in last week’s episode, but it’s difficult to keep the momentum going when the jokes fall flat. Hopefully the writers can start delivering more than just great jokes and invest in a bit of character developement.