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For an episode that aired the night before Thanksgiving, a holiday all about the spirit of togetherness, Happy Endings felt awfully disconnected, didn’t it? Maybe I was just setting my hopes too high for a Thanksgiving episode (no show has yet to grab the baton of great Turkey Day sitcom eps from Friends) but this was the first episode all season I didn’t entirely love. Plus, last week’s episode was so non-stop funny, it set the bar way too high. (My fellow Happy Endings-loving friends and I have been falling into hysterics at inappropriate times when the memory of the Temple Grandin slam at Dave’s perm randomly pops into our heads.) That said, even a sub-par Happy Endings episode has its share of gut-busting moments and one-liners. (“TV is nature’s babysitter.” It’s funny, because it’s so very, very true.)
I think my biggest issue was that all three of the story lines, while some were incredibly funny — namely Max and Penny’s misadventures in babysitting — were overall unnecessary and didn’t really move any character, or the series itself, along. (I’m also noticing that the show tends to pair off the six, rather than keeping them together throughout, something I hope they’ll reconsider since they all work so well off of each other.)
The worst, or at least the most inconsequential of the three plot lines belonged to Dave, Brad, and their annoying mailman Drew (the always funny Rob Riggle.) While there were some undoubtedly amusing moments with the blackmail-happy delivery man (as Newman once scarily boasted on Seinfeld, “When you control the mail…you control information“) — like Brad’s nickname for him (Drew Tang Clan), that he was the last remaining person on Earth to enjoy The Man Show, and that he cooked ziti in his trunk — the story itself wound up just like Drew in the end: Dead weight.
Why bother having the character of Drew if they were going to kill him off in the first place? Sorry, but as far as tragic, one-off characters go, he was no Frank Grimes. Moreover, why did Dave and Brad feel obligated to throw him a memorial service? How come Drew’s racist-looking, gun-toting tailgate buddy Billy or any of his co-workers do it? None of it really worked or went anywhere in the end. (At least in the How I Met Your Mother episode where they have to attend the service of the bartender’s whose name they couldn’t remember, it worked as an obstacle in the way of them trying to watch the Super Bowl.) All that said, I did get a kick out of Dave’s song at the bar memorial and his many failed attempts to sound gangster throughout the episode. Dave, you’ve officially grown on me.
NEXT: Max and Penny’s adventures in babysitting