If history has taught us anything, it’s that Jews and humor are a perfect mix. Whether it’s Groucho Marx slinging one-liners while Harpo mugs for the camera, Woody Allen comparing an urban Jewish family dinner to a suburban WASP dinner, or Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David perfecting the art of the awkward, Jews and humor go hand in hand. This week, ‘Happy Endings’ dips its toe into the Jew pool.
Max has a new career as a bar mitzvah hype man. The gang comes out to support him, which results in Penny getting perpetually hit on by thirteen-year-old Jewish boys. Brad wants in on the hype game, so the pair form a group, Boyz II Menorah. Penny, in a tacked-on role, continues to go to bar mitzvahs, and as a result receives even more come-ons from young Jewish boys.
Jane notices that Dave and Alex are slipping into old habits. Alex agrees, and does what she can to keep the spark of their relationship alive. However, Alex being Alex, her attempts end in disaster. Jane offers to help the couple out, while detailing the outlandish scenarios she and Brad indulge in to keep their sex life exciting. In the best sequence of the episode, Jane, dressed as a cop, pulls Brad over, only to be chased by a real cop – who turns out to be part of another couple trying to keep their relationship fresh.
One of the many things that ‘Happy Endings’ does very well is balance its cast. Most shows would always pair up Brad and Jane, Dave and Alex, and Max and Penny. But the writers here don’t take the easy way out. They mix up the groupings without feeling forced. The three-and-three here is an interesting attempt, but leaves Jane and Penny a little short of motivation and material. Jane gets better lines than Penny, although Casey Wilson remains the most adorable actor in the cast.
Through a misunderstanding, Alex gets arrested at the airport, thinking that Dave is planning a “whisk away” to Paris. Coming to her rescue, Dave and Jane manage to close down O’Hare for hours. Brad and Max have a falling out. This leads to a hype-off in the middle of a bar mitzvah, which is later classified as a hate crime. Penny notes that, given what has happened to Jews in the past, ruining a bar mitzvah isn’t so bad.
In terms of dialogue, this episode fires on all cylinders. The one-liners and asides are better than most other sitcoms’ main gags. Virtually every two lines are bust-a-gut hilarious, and the Boyz II Menorah video at the end is just icing on the cake. Mazel tov, ‘Happy Endings’, you’ve aired another winning episode.