The ‘Happy Endings’ family continues to grow. This week, we meet Jane and Alex’s mom (Julie Hagerty) and dad (Christopher McDonald), see more of Pete, and discover Max’s new BFF.
Jane is determined to tell the perfect joke to make her father laugh at a party in his honor. He’s a tough sell, but she thinks she can get him with a zinger designed to play on everything he loves: World War II, the Chicago Bears, bass fishing, Chevy Chase and old-timey slide projectors. Brad doesn’t think she can do it, while Alex feels that the only thing that will make her dad laugh is notorious watermelon-destroyer Gallagher.
Max is annoyed that Penny spends so much time with Pete, her new boyfriend. He was certain that they’d already have broken up, which they nearly do when Pete discovers that Penny has written up a list of his faults. (His nipples are a quarter inch too low.) Max recruits a new best friend named Nicole (which he insists on pronouncing as “Nickle,” because “A Nickle is worth five Pennys”), but his efforts are stymied when Penny sets Nickle up with Pete’s brother.
Dave learns that Alex hasn’t told her parents that they’re back together. He’s determined to reveal the secret, but Alex’s father harps on how much money he spent on their botched wedding. Dave backs down, making Alex wonder if he’s really serious.
Brad trips Jane up by stealing her perfect joke, which her dad loves. In desperation, she puts on a Gallagher costume and pulls out a giant hammer. Dave interrupts her by declaring his love for Alex. Jane finally gets to do her act, misses her watermelon target, and knocks herself out with the hammer, causing her dad to double over with laughter.
Max brings Penny and Pete back together by revealing the list of his own flaws that Penny drafted years before. Meanwhile, Nickle reveals that she might just have some problems…
The gags don’t flow as fast and furious here as they have in other episodes, but there are some good jokes, especially between Alex and her mom, who apparently taught her how and what to eat (meat and lots of it). Jane also gets in some great lines, and we learn that Brad’s aunt calls Jane “cocaine” because she’s thin, white and a scourge to the black community. As Dave notes, that’s a special kind of racism, the kind you’ll only find on ‘Happy Endings’.