Happy Endings Recap: ‘The Code War’


Ah yes, it’s a clash as old as The Clash when Max’s high school girlfriend Angie moves to town, an event for which he demands the gang be on their best behavior. “Do not tell her your theory that the ideal murder weapon would be knife that absorbs blood,” Max tells Alex. “But it would!” she (accurately) declares. As Max’s college girlfriend, Penny warns that her jealous wrath might express itself in a variety of devastating ways, but as soon as Angie (an underutilized Riki Lindhome) arrives, Penny is all hugs and kisses and refurbished vintage coat racks.

After Dave, currently prepping for an interview on Crazy Randy’s Meat and Greet, starts court Angie, Max invokes the Guy Code, thereby legally and cosmically disallowing Dave from ever attempting to sex her up. Dave scoffs at Max’s anger, since he’s, you know, gay. To prove his point about the sanctity of all exes, Max lays the smooch to end all smooch on Alex. “He’s kissing her like she has a penis,” Brad gasps. Unfortunately, the kiss sparks a new, exceedingly futile crush in sweet Alex’s big blond doll head. If I had to pick, I’d say the MVPs (which is a thing I’ve heard of!) for this episode would have to be Alex and Jane. Caught up in her earnest affections, Alex cannot help but buy Max a matching scarf for when they eventually go couples snowboarding. “I bought you a harmonica!,” she proudly tells him, before frantically wheezing a little ditty, her eyes bright and hopeful even as the rest of the group cringes away in horror. Likewise Jane amps up her delightfully awkward physicality in her attempt to find a work husband, having found out about the existence of Brad’s work wife Vanessa. In her attempts to flirt, Jane leers at the mailman Hector, her angular shoulders do the shimmy shake, and she ends up with her fingers and later a stapler jammed seductively in her mouth. All of which adds up to a visit to the HR Department! Luckily Steve in HR would make an excellent work spouse. Or, rather, he would, if he hadn’t assumed his casual drink date with Jane, Brad and Vanessa was the pretext for a fourgy. “Who are you going to report me to? I’m God!” he declares whilst clad only in his tightie whities, various tropical fruits clutched in his sweaty hands for some unknowable dark sexual purpose.

Despite the fact that Max is truly and forever into duderuses, he can’t help but lose his shit for real when he finds out Dave has been seeing Angie behind his back. Declaring all codes null and void he ruins Dave’s meat interview by revealing his tendency to prepare food in his undies whilst belting Indigo Girls. Crazy Randy may have been working in the street meat field for years, but this? This is unacceptable. Dave goes on to violate the building code by smashing a load-bearing pillar in Max’s apartment. Max then violates the Hair Code for Men by giving Dave a tight home permanent when he’s asleep. “Temple Grandin!,” the gang howls. “It’s Pat!” Finally, Max, the guy who once found a cricket in his mouth, admits that his feelings about his ex may not be rational now that his sexuality is man-centric, but they are genuine; he can’t help that he so crazy. Dave agrees to back off, and Penny successful purges Alex of her Max crush: by forcing her to watch him eat a sloppy juicy loose meat sandwich with his shirt off. Seriously, that sandwich was oozing.