ABC’s Sunday night comedy experiment was a dismal failure. Both ‘Happy Endings’ and ‘Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23’ sank to the lowest ratings either show has ever had. It didn’t help that Sunday’s episode of ‘Happy Endings’, officially designated as Episode 10 of Season 3, was in fact an unaired episode from Season 2 (‘Kickball 2: The Kickening’, for the curious). The episode, which predated events like Dave and Alex getting back together, confused viewers. Get it together, ABC. You paid for the show. Just air the whole season in order. Is that so hard? Anyway, we’re firmly back in Season 3 territory now, and ABC has already replaced the Sunday airings with repeats of ‘Shark Tank’.
This week, Brad and Jane have a bit of a problem, as Jane’s ex Ryan is coming into town. Jane evokes a rule where she and Brad are allowed to have a dinner with a visiting ex. However, she neglects to tell Brad that Ryan is in fact a woman. At first, Brad is ecstatic, presuming that he’ll get to hear some sexy girl-on-girl stories. Later, he’s horrified to discover that the relationship was about love and not pure sexual attraction. He proceeds to lash out against Ryan, much to Jane’s dismay.
Max has a new roommate (none other than ‘Saved by the Bell’ star Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who also recently guest starred as himself on ‘Don’t Trust the B—‘) and has decided that the two shall lead entirely separate lives. However, he immediately changes his mind when he discovers that his new roomie is the coolest guy ever, and incredibly rich to boot.
Penny gets thrown for a loop when her boyfriend requests that she hang out with his friends for a while instead of hers. This is the highlight plot of the episode, because it brilliantly takes on the closed-world nature of shows like this or ‘Friends’ and other ensemble sitcoms. Penny doesn’t get along with the new group, who have serious discussions about important world issues, and don’t make fun of each other for stupid mistakes. She wants to leave, but is worried that everyone will hate her if she doesn’t leave without an excuse. Her boyfriend assures Penny that they won’t hate her, “because they’re normal.”
Penny immediately races back to Brad and Jane’s, where a new dinner is taking place, and Brad has invited an ex of his own. Jane is disturbed to discover that Brad’s relationship with his ex was entirely sexual, and the two start bickering openly, much to Penny’s perverse pleasure. The argument stops when the couple discovers Ryan and Brad’s ex making out on the balcony.
Bored, Penny goes to find Max, Dave and Alex. The trio spent the whole day trying to find Max’s roommate after he didn’t come home all night without calling, a clear violation of roommate protocol. Dave proves surprisingly good at sleuthing while Max and Alex play at being detectives. (In one great moment, Alex suggests they call CTU, not the first ’24’ reference the show has made.) Finally tracking the roommate down, they discover he’s not living with Max but using his apartment as a love shack to hide from his wife. His wife isn’t happy to hear this news, and the roommate vows revenge on Max, leaving the door open for Gosselaar to return in a future episode, if we’re lucky.