It’s been a while, but Up All Night did an episode that gave its stories the proper weight. Ava’s show was taken over by Yvonne Encanto (Nurse Jackie’s Eve Best), the lady business idol for both Ava and Reagan, even though that’s still a weird phrase to hear. This is huge — a chance for Reagan to work alongside the woman of whom she once asked a question during an NYU lecture that she won’t shut up about now. Chris and Reed, played by the ubiquitous and haircut-y Will Forte, decided to rebuild Reed’s motorcycle as a manly act of being manly. It’s … less important (though it did mark, I think, the only time Gene has appeared on the screen without Terry).
Really, that entire story line can be summed up with one sentence. Chris and Reed were more obsessed with pulling off their leather-jacket looks than actually riding the motorcycle, though Chris eventually fell prey to its seductive manliness and stood up to Reagan’s boss like a real “beast” guy would. It was a great moment in that it was so far out of character, but not totally out of the realm of Up All Night — Chris’s confession later that, actually, the adrenaline might have gotten the best of him, made it clear that there will be few more outbursts. But the moment passed, and that was really pretty much it for Chris this week, save for the little factoids we learned: Chris thought Wild Hogs and Grease 2 were acceptable motorcycle movies, and he confused Steve McQueen with Elton John. (Though, to be fair, “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting” would make an awesome motorcycle driving song.)
Thankfully, Reagan and Ava were more than game to pick up the slack when they realized their new boss situation was more of a bait and switch. While Yvonne traveled the world, she put her lackey Luke in charge — a two-tour Afghanistan war veteran who literally forced Reagan and Ava to feel the smooth mound of a eunuch-y action figure to prove just how similar he is to those ladies. And he was now in charge, so he had carte blanche to demand total creative control of the show. Worst of all, he does all this in the name of Yvonne and all she stands for, which really pissed Reagan off. He wanted a creative brief; he got an e-mail from Reagan that simply read, “No.”
The next morning, Reagan came to work and discovered her favorite kind of coffee had been cut from the budget. Without access to the creative brief, Luke said, he was unable to properly spend the money. Then Reagan’s chair was gone. HOW DARE HE? Seriously, the guy wasn’t so bad, but it didn’t really matter when Reagan was reacting as if he personally went onto Chris’s phone and deleted that cute picture of Amy where she tried to eat the whole carrot. His biggest mistake, I suppose, was to try to interfere at all, especially if his show ideas were things like, “Who has the biggest vagina?” (though Ava seemed to like that).
Reagan eventually realized that she and Luke are a lot more similar than she originally thought. They both are starved for validation, more specifically that of Yvonne, and perhaps it’s in this shared deity that they will be able to find common ground. The final moment of the episode was a clip from Ava’s five-year-anniversary show, featuring a live kangaroo among other racial stereotypes, as both Reagan and Luke looked on with happiness over what they’d created.
This is also one of the only moments when Ava didn’t have the highest status in every scene simply for being Ava. Early in the episode, it was revealed that Kevin broke up with Ava to move to Idaho (guess the farewell moment will pop up on the DVD extras), so she was a mess. Throughout “New Boss,” she heightened whatever Reagan was experiencing, but didn’t experience much herself other than “I miss Kevin.” Maya Rudolph has the uncanny ability to sell any ridiculous premise, so even though Ava underwent an emotional catharsis that happened off-camera — Reagan pulled her aside, then suddenly she was totally cool with it — Ava was able to send Kevin off by pouring a 40 on his former front lawn, and it didn’t totally feel out of place. Nor will the inevitable five-year-anniversary-plus-one episode: “Who has the biggest vagina?”