I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I need me some B storylines! I prefer my Happy Endings episodes to be swarming with Bs! You better B-lieve it! Bs and wieners! I guess what I’m saying is, the gang is at their best (in my correct opinion) when they are grappling with individual dilemmas that tie together deliciously at the end, versus having one dominant storyline as they did in last night’s episode “Party Of Six.” Locking everyone down as a group around a series of tables just made me antsy, ya’ll. It also put too much pressure on the writers’ one-liners which, while great, didn’t pop as much as they would have if they’d been snuggled in between a slow-motion dive or a spastic flail or an uproarious head-first fall down a flight of stairs. Or the image of a bear man riding a unicycle. That still gets me. It always will.
With Jane’s meticulous planning taking the lead, the gang is dead-set on bringing in da noise, and with time permitting, also da funk for Penny’s 29…31…30th birthday! They have to try hard, seeing as how The Curse of Penny’s Birthday has been a recognized phenomenon since she was 7, the year her party clown almost became one with sweet, sweet oblivion. “That was the funniest near death experience I’ve ever seen,” Jane chuckles fondly. “And I’ve seen Anthony Anderson play tennis.” Penny is psyched for her birthday, though she has to immediately shoot down their plans to eat dinner at Big Dom’s; her shit bag ex-boyfriend claimed Big Dom’s in the break up. Instead of pushing him into an uproarious head-first fall down a flight of stairs and victoriously eating chicken parm regardless, the group instead sets off on an epic quest to find the perfect restaurant…provided Brad and Jane haven’t had sex in it yet or Alex didn’t eat there for lunch (which means Thai, Indian and BBQ are all out). Arriving at Medora seconds before Max’s stomach starts to eat itself, Dave realizes that his vengeful, barely-legal ex Jackie is their waitress. Hoo boy! You know what that means! “She definitely urinated on this,” Max warns, eyeing the calamari. Not that Max wouldn’t eat anything at this point, including food forgotten in Jane’s purse. “All you have is a bunch of newspaper clippings about when you did figure skating,” Max whines as he greedily paws through it. Max is so hungry, in fact, that he’s willing to visit mystical other realms for alternative restaurant options. “For example, where does Gollum eat?” he wonders.
When the gang starts to debate the merits of moving their party to El Agave for some bodily fluid-free cuisine, Dave let slip that El Agave was Brad’s designated break-up spot…a cozy little spot he had once taken Jane while they were dating. Enraged, Brad’s blushing bride excuses herself from the table (“I’m going to go to the bar to destroy myself,” Jane explains), but Brad soon explains that it was her When Harry Met Sally-level food neurosis on that date that convinced him they really had something. And because I love these two, I will let that super sitcom-y explanation stand. The two of them cooing what is obviously an oft-repeated term of endearment for Jane (“Strong..strong like a man!”) was the best part, probably because it was only indirectly related to the larger plot line at hand. So of course they immediately have sex in the bathroom, causing the entire group to be kicked out of the restaurant. At least Jackie really hadn’t put anything sick in their food! She just slashed Dave’s tires…or the tires on the car he arrived in, which was Penny’s! It’s so hard to tell Ultimas apart!
Seeing as how the episode revolved around Penny, the girl got pretty short shrift in the focus department, as did Alex. At least Dave had the ongoing debate over whether he was, technically speaking, a restaurant owner. “Restaurants don’t have windshield wipers,” Brad points out. Luckily they had forgotten to cancel their appointment at Big Dom’s, and so they can finally sit down at a nice meal…until Penny’s ex Nick arrives and Penny dives under the table in terror. Because they are the best buddies, the gang berates Nick until they’ve established the right to eat delicious Italian foods wherever they or Penny chooses. “No one should own a restaurant except a restaurant owner, like me!” Dave proclaims. Now they can just stay and eat…at least until Penny stands up triumphantly, her top shreds open and they are all promptly asked to leave. At least The Curse of Penny’s Birthday has been broken..or it was, until an elderly Eastern Europe woman places an actual curse on them at the end of the ep and everyone switches bodies. Think of all the B lines we could have then! So, so many!
Max: “All ideas are welcome, as long as they’re not stupid!”
Jane, describing Brad’s Mexican ordering skills: “meat, lettuce and cheese in one of those crispy half moon envelope things.”
Dave, insulting Jackie’s current boyfriend: “Can he rent a U-Haul without his parents’ signature?
Jackie: “His parents are dead.”