Last we left the Happy Endings gang, Alex and Dave had just been down each other’s rabbit holes (Eh? Ew? I’m sorry). While Dave has been frantically trying to call her with visions of unplanned pregnancy dancing in his head (“Group baby?” he muses. “Is that a thing?”), Alex has instead chosen to pretend their hot drunken lovemaking never actually happened. All those phone calls? Well, wouldn’t you know it? Alex’s phone line somehow got crossed with an intrepid home-made cough drop salesman. “Next you’ll be telling me Chaz’s cough drops aren’t laced with ketamine,” she scoffs at Dave’s attempts to discuss their boning. “They are, trust me. I saw God. He’s black.”
The idea of a malfunctioning phone is one of two deliciously old-fashioned conceits this week’s episode employs, the other being the idea of renting Mamma Mia! from an actual movie store. Enjoy these kinds of jokes while you can, guys! Our cyborg children won’t understand anything the nanobots haven’t programmed into them. Speaking of programming and excellent segues, the writers wisely use Alex and Dave’s canoodling to give us (read: me) more of what we/I want: Brad and Jane! In order to support Alex’s total denial of her sexual escapades, Jane implements the Kerkovich method, a time-tested stratagem which involves planting clues and manipulating the people around you until you finally Gaslight their memories clean out of their heads. Hey, it saved their great-grandparents’ village in Serbia! Sure, then their town went on to produce Slobodan Milosevic, but that is neither here nor there. The Kerkovich Way is also responsible for “Brad’s cute little forgettums,” lapses in reality on which his entire marriage to Jane rests. To whit, Alex was actually watching Mamma Mia! with them on the night of the alleged porking…OR DID THAT ACTUALLY HAPPEN? It didn’t. “You said you were jonesin’ for some Streep,” Jane reminds Brad. “That does sound like something I would jones for,” he muses. While Jane has no problem letting Brad think he has early-onset Alzheimer’s if it makes married life easier (“Let’s just say he’s one MRI away from a free MRI,” she says smugly), Alex is torn. “I can’t krump away the guilt,” she cries. When Alex finally admits to sleeping with Dave, he does the classy thing and pretends it never happens. Now let us pretend it never happened, because I do not want these yo-yos to get back together.
Meanwhile, Penny and Max are gearing up for Rosalita’s Run, a movie-themed scavenger hunt they’ve lost every year to the horrifically perfect blond couple Julie and Justine. If only Jane was still allowed to compete. Sadly there was…an incident. “ I didn’t push him out of the way because he was French,” she snarls. An extremely pregnant Julie stops by long enough to be awful and Penny to be catty (“You think baby number three would just fall right out,” Penny enthuses), then it’s off to the races! Sadly I don’t know shit about John Hughes movies (other than Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Home Alones 1 & 2, the greatest films ever made) so most of the references didn’t get my giggle box going AS IT WERE. Even sadly…er, every reference just reminded Max of his lost love Grant. Luckily he pulls himself out of his funk just in time to win the race, relying on his most salient of skills: eating raw eggs off the floor, sensing the inner spirit of grocery carts, and reining in Penny’s hysteria. Hey, if Penny thinks she was the assistant curator of Chicago’s historic John Hughes museum and not just watching VHS tapes in her middle school teacher’s basement every summer, then so be it. The year of Penny might be over, but “not the fiscal year of Penny. Suck it, tax payers!”