‘Happy Endings’ 3.04 Recap: “Not a Taxi Service for Idiots”

Hello, everyone. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was hectic, which is why I couldn’t do a ‘Happy Endings’ recap last week. Luckily, the show took a short break anyway, so we have time to catch up before it airs again this week. Thanksgiving for the ‘Happy Endings’ gang was filled with tension this year. Let’s take a look at what happened.

Dave and Alex offer to host Thanksgiving at their new place, much to Jane’s chagrin. (Two weeks before the holiday, she was already working on a turkey ice sculpture.) Dave, who is 1/16th Navajo, gets self-righteous and declares that he will prepare a dish served at the first Thanksgiving: Quahog Clams. Max brings a copy of the unaired ‘The Real World: Sacramento’, where he and Brad first met. Brad unsuccessfully tries to stop the group from watching, and with good reason.

Alex, not knowing why Dave would want clams on Thanksgiving, instead buys clamps, which prompts Dave to go out on his own to get the food. Being overly charitable, he helps a couple dressed like pilgrims, but they steal his car, wallet and phone. He manages to get to the store and barters away his jacket for the clams and a blanket. The blanket, covered in cat hair, upsets his allergies. In an attempt to get some cash, he tries to scalp the tickets he bought for Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of best-selling authors, only to be arrested since he was offering them right outside a police station.

Back at the apartment, Jane discovers that Brad initially couldn’t stand her when they met. Penny accidentally sabotages Alex and Dave’s happiness when she mentions that Dave not moving his stuff in after a month is weird. Max is also unhappy when he realizes that his on-air coming out of the closet was subtitled to say “I’m Greg” instead of “I’m gay.” Brad tries to get back into Jane’s good graces, which doesn’t work until it’s later revealed that Jane slept with Brad by accident, while she intended to hook up with another housemate.

This is perhaps the weakest episode since the early days of Season 1. The show feels disjointed, with Dave off in a totally different, rather unfunny storyline. The best moments are the small ones, such as Alex discovering that her “ergonomic work hammock” is actually a sex swing, or Penny blaming her hidden feelings for Dave on the film ‘Vanilla Sky’. “I am SO tired of people using Vanilla Sky to defend everything,” Alex exclaims in the episode’s funniest line. In fact, Alex steals the show this week. Her inspired lunacy is a bright spot in an otherwise dull outing.

‘The Real World’ conceit is a good idea, and the episode gets a bit of mileage out of showing how young and silly everyone was back then. Jane dressed like Gwen Stefani and Dave looked like he should be Kurt Cobain’s stunt double. However, ultimately, the concept is underdeveloped and the comedic potential wasted. Hopefully the next episode will see the group firing on all cylinders again.

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