Up All Night
Reagan and Chris have a rapport that entails playfully ripping into each other like no one’s watching. And given most of the show happens in their house when they’re alone, that’s usually true. “Travel Day” was the exact opposite. It threw the pair into a situation where they had no choice but to be around people, let alone in a place like an airport where there are well-established norms that you just can’t break (and not just for security reasons). The episode pushed the limits of Reagan and Chris’s likability almost to the breaking point, having them mouth off to airport employees and blatantly violate security procedure in a mad rush to stick to a plan they formulated before arriving, other people be damned. It was all under the guise that they were doing it for Amy’s own good, which turned out to be just enough to save what could have been a disastrous episode.
One of Ava’s old bandmates, played by Alanis Morissette, was getting married, and Reagan and Chris had decided that it was worth missing the wedding if it meant they didn’t have to travel with a screaming baby for five hours. Because everyone hates those people, even if you are those people. But then when staring mediocrity and boredom in its collective faces (for no fault of Matt Braunger or Jean Villepique), they decided what the hell, they’d go for it.
Fast-forward a few hours, and they were standing next to the Oceanic desk as the ticket agent was denying their request to sit together on the airplane. Reagan flipped out at this very nice woman, and even though nothing was changed, the ticket agent kept her cool. Later, while in the security line, Amy needed a diaper changed and they decided to grab one of those X-ray machine trays and just go for it. And before anyone could get grossed out, Reagan shouted that everyone was overreacting. This sort of pattern repeated itself when Reagan and Chris were pulled out of the security line for acting suspicious. Once again Reagan said things that would cause a normal person to raise an eyebrow, but this kindly ol’ TSA agent didn’t think twice about not just the social ramifications, but the security ones, too.
“Travel Day” tried to use all this social obliviousness to teach us a Big Important Lesson About Relationships, as Up All Night is wont to do. See, Reagan thought that Chris’s downplaying of her overreactions meant he didn’t have her back, to which Chris decided to really get her back. How did he do that? By making everyone on the plane uncomfortable with a speech about how wonderful his wife is and how hard her day had been so far. (And it goes without saying that nobody reacted weirdly and by the end of the flight, the couple had befriended the flight attendants and could get away with drinking miniature bottles of wine just kinda standing there.) Is it important to have your partner’s back? Certainly. But I chose to view those scenes in a different light: Reagan and Chris are kinda dicks, and if the world of Up All Night didn’t let them get away with it, this would be a very different show.
Ava is usually the one with the larger-than-life personality, but in “Travel Day,” she was relatively subdued. Actually, this was probably the most grounded Ava has been since this show first debuted. She had feelings tonight. As humans would. She only spoke loudly twice!
It probably had to do with the fact that Ava was completely out of show mode. Having decided to bring Kevin to the wedding, she was worried about the real-life possibility that everyone at this wedding would ask about her intention to marry the former star of My Name Is Earl. Not only that, but then she would be forced to actually think about getting married, which would mean a big discussion between her and Kevin about the future of their relationship. She liked how things were and wasn’t about to throw a monkey wrench into a good thing, so she decided beforehand that marriage was completely off the table. But later, surrounded by talk of Paul/Simon and John/Garfunkel, she decided to test the waters. And as luck would have it, Kevin was also against the idea of marriage; only he was really not into it. Really, really, really, really, really not into it. Period. Having been forced to face this extreme, Ava realized she wasn’t as firmly in the anti-marriage camp as she originally thought, and began to worry that her relationship with Kevin was destined to end.
People can change, though, and Kevin seemed willing to remain open on the whole marriage thing. And Ava even relented and busted out the hip-hop for one last rendition of “Back It Up (Beep Beep)” — the explicit version. (This show sure does love that bleeping sound.) Reagan and Chris, though, remained content with their usual patterns. When Chris’s speech derails because of a terrible Michael Keaton impression, Reagan jumped up to save him from further embarrassment, and the wedding just sort of continues as if nothing happened. For now, Up All Night is letting that stuff slide, and it’s probably for the best. Because, seriously, otherwise they’d be monsters.