Up All Night Recap: ‘Couples Friends’

After an all-too-brief flirtation with dubstep, Chris and Reagan have rejected their field-dwelling young hip couples friends Tim and Caroline. Luckily, Gene and Terry save the day by throwing a very boring neighborhood safety mixer after Terry’s car is weiner-keyed (side note that distracted me for far too long: does this 30-something woman really not know what ejaculation is? I mean, she’s a mom. She’s clearly had condomless sex), where the Brinkleys find a similarly Gene-and-Terry-hating couple with “gay cachet” to boot. What follows is an adorable scene of asking them out. I half expected Chris and Reagan to slide a note into Justin and Lawrence’s mailbox that said “Do you like us? Check yes or no.”

Meanwhile, Ava is still dealing with the feminist military man Luke from last week. I guess even though Yvonne is gone, her deputy remains? While workin’ on his night moves with Bob Seger, he books a bunch of manly Southern guests on the show to get a better time slot in the south. Worse, he plans on greasing their wheels at a manly man’s men-time poker game for men. “They’re not cartoon roosters,” he deadpans after hearing Reagan’s impression.

By the way, I loved Reagan and Ava’s helpful tips to each other on how to best make fun of Luke. Seeing a supportive female friendship on TV is always weirdly refreshing, and Luke provides good fodder for the two of them (plus an underused-as-usual Missy) to overreact to a man’s presence in their powerful women’s workplace.

Ava crashes the poker game and gives the guys a dose of her Southern pretending-to-be-drunk charm, winning a new time slot for the show and a moral victory for all womankind. She also impresses Luke enough to ask her for a drink…at the bar where he stalks his ex-girlfriend. Ava, who’s still getting over Kevin, relates, and helps Luke out by faking a kiss and loudly inviting him over for “some athletic seventies-style lovemaking” in front of his ex. Something tells me we’ve got to start taking bets on when Ava and Luke are going to realize their deep feelings and emossssions for each other. I give it two episodes.

At the bowling alley after a classic Swingers reference (“Are you- this is so money!” Chris sputters to defend his shirt), Chris begs Reagan to not get too competitive with their new friends. So we know how this will end. When Justin and Lawrence arrive, it turns out they’re exactly like our protagonists, down to the annoyance with the standard bowling ball thumb alignment. Reagan’s breathless “you’re fantastic” to Justin is up there for line of the episode. But being exactly alike is not always good, as all four of them learn when an argument erupts over who won the bowling game.

I would’ve been happy for the A-story to end with that realization. But then they go and rekindle the relationship (“warts and all”) and their kid happens to be a terrifying demon child who won’t stop screaming and throwing things on the floor. Chris and Reagan can’t help but say something, which prompts Justin and Lawrence to criticize them as parents in turn, and it’s official: the Brinkleys will never have gay cachet.

Altogether, the Clone Wars aspect of the episode plus the parenting debates felt overstuffed to me. Did Chris and Reagan fail at finding couples friends because they were looking for people too similar to them, or because they’re too intolerable of people who parent differently from them? There was too much going on. But just as one parent might find strollers oppressive and another might find them necessary, perhaps it was perfectly stuffed for you. See, I did learn something from this episode of television. TOLERANCE.

Up All Night Recap: ‘Couples Friends’