The first few months of relationships are exhilarating. Everything is new, and you’re both on your best behavior. For a brief moment, there’s the illusion that your relationship is going to be different; this is going to be the one that has no problems, no fights, no arguments whatsoever. You’ll be entirely the same person and live out the rest of your lives in total bliss that involves feeding each other duck-fed beef (but not flan).
Of course that’s a total lie. Hahahahahaha romance is hard. “Day After Valentine’s Day” showed two relationships at completely different stages, both dealing with the same harsh reality: Love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and sometimes you have to get out of your own way and remember what it was that brought you to that person in the first place.
The central story was about Reagan and Chris, as it always is. Ava invited this hot Latin guy (Latin American, not like ancient Latin) onto the show to waltz around shirtless and make out with unsuspecting women, and Reagan became the object of his affection. Ashamed and worried, she showed the video to Chris, and he was totally okay with it. Like, not fazed at all. Later that night, the two were enjoying a Valentine’s Day with takeout from their favorite Chinese restaurant — barely any spice — when in stormed Kevin and Ava, in the midst of an epic knockdown-drag-out because neither party felt appreciated. Thank goodness their relationship isn’t like that, thought Chris and Reagan collectively while they were having eight minutes of unsatisfying sex that barely moved a hair on Reagan’s head and inspired Chris to get right back into whatever it was he was doing on his iPad. Gesturing wildly, that’s what he was doing.
Suddenly it was obvious, as are most of the metaphors on Up All Night: Their relationship is like that Chinese restaurant; they’ve become that boring couple they swore ten years ago they’d never become. I mean, I’m sure there was never a point when Chris thought to himself, “This girl Reagan is great, but one of these days, I want to just dangle out in front of her — really get my schween all up in there — and it’s going to be totally normal.” If he did think that, then he’s the pantsless Nostradamus we’ve all been waiting for. Tell me, pantsless Nostradamus! What does the future hold, besides pants?!
In an effort to spice things up, both Chris and Reagan attempted to do the crazy things they’ve been saving up all this time. Chris headed to the underpass where he once spray-painted his love for Reagan, and attempted to do it again — but wound up rolling down the slope and into the unfortunately placed fence. Reagan went to a tattoo parlor and decided to profess her love for Chris in permanent ink form on her butt. You know, the “love spot,” as no experts call it. “This is gonna blow your mind, but I’m over 30,” Reagan said to the guy about to preclude her from ever being buried in a Jewish cemetery, making it clear that this was an act of rebellion and impulse.
If there was one thing to learn from “Day After Valentine’s Day,” it was that it’s impossible to plan impetuousness. Both Chris and Reagan inevitably chickened out of their rebellions, but found themselves having a tender, loving moment out in the rain and next to an ATM no less — the ultimate act of foolhardiness, at least in the world they live in right now. Inconveniencing a few drivers on the streets of the Los Angeles suburbs is about as crazy as it’s going to get for these two for now, but it was just crazy enough. And in order to get there, the two had to yell at each other. Like, raise their voices. That’s a first for Up All Night, right? It usually seems like Reagan and Chris have the kinds of fights therapists have wet dreams about, where no one is really emotionally hurt and nothing escalates past a strongly worded talking point. It was nice to see them freakin’ have at it for a moment.
It was inevitable that they would, because “Day After Valentine’s Day” set up a nice contrast with Ava and Kevin’s relationship — one where if no one is volatile, then something is wrong. Ava decided to cook Kevin a nice meal for Valentine’s Day (though not really), and I guess Kevin didn’t appreciate it enough because he had a hard day. That’s what I got from their fight; it was kind of hard to tell what happened because it escalated to screaming and flan-throwing so quickly, because nobody likes flan. Because she’s always one to tempt fate, Ava threw herself into the arms of Julian, owner of a trendy new restaurant called Bed where you eat Italian-inspired sushi out of beds that are both metaphors and actual beds. The fact that he lavishes so much attention on Ava turned out to be a huge turn-off; Ava gets that every single day of her life, and Kevin requires a healthy dose of empathy. Ava needs Kevin to ground her, and soon she came running back to him, coffee filters in hand even though she doesn’t know how to use them.
It was yet another fast and neatly wrapped up plotline in a string of neatly wrapped up plotlines on Up All Night; but much like Chris and Reagan’s end-of-episode realization, sometimes it’s just the effort that counts.