Happy Endings Recap: L-U-V Mandonna

Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC

You begged for it. (And begged for it, and begged for it, and begged for it.) So here it is: a Happy Endings recap! Farewell, season two. We loved you dearly.

“Four Weddings and a Funeral (Minus Three Weddings and One Funeral)” brought out the most-est in everyone: Max was especially Max-y, Penny was particularly Penny-ish, and Jane was even Jane-ier than usual. Weddings just have that effect on people.

We open on the gang in their natural habitat of quippy trash talk, with everyone sharing their thoughts on Derek and Eric’s upcoming gay wedding. Max is more concerned about his website, Things That Are Gay dot biz, and Alex is focused on creating a compelling portmanteau for the happy couple. Penny is super psyched that she won’t have to sit at the single-people table because she has an amahzing new boyfriend — aaaand that took three minutes. It turns out everyone had bet on how long it would take Penny to mention her beau, and Jane of course cleaned up. “Pay up, suck dogs!” Aw, poor Penny.

But really, poor Brad. Larry Whitmore returns as Brad’s boss, who just made Brad his “aside” guy — the person he says glib asides to during meetings. Unfortunately, aside guy isn’t a permanent position, and Brad gets canned. Please, please, please let this lead to Brad working on Dave’s food truck with him. He seems like he’d be so good at naming new sandwiches. (Prediction for next season: He tries working at Alex’s store and in Max’s limo, then tries being a househusband, and then he finds a new gig.)

Wedding excitement! Everyone’s in the wedding party except Jane, who takes the news … not so well. “Quiet Jane is the scariest Jane,” according to Penny and Alex. This brings us to our first referendum point in the recap: Are the characters on Happy Endings mean? Are they too mean? I tried to convince one of my friends to start watching the show, and she complained that the characters were smug and that they’re nasty to each other. There is a lot of teasing on the show, and this week really highlighted how tolerant the characters are of casual cruelty. Derek is kind of the worst? But everyone seemed completely fine with all of it — unlike the really nice woman on last week’s episode, whom everyone hated and tried to avoid. Hmmm!

Anyway, Max is being petulant about possibly reuniting with his Madonna tribute band Mandonna, which is Alex’s third favorite all-male Madonna tribute band after Madonald and Material Earl. (What about Micah Prayer? Ray of Light? Papa Does Preach?) At the wedding, Alex and the other band members convince him to mole up and perform, and of course — of course— he does. Not before insulting his bandmates, though. C’mon, Pitchy Pete, get it together.

Poor Penny again: She’s going to the wedding solo after all. “I’m so glad I don’t get invested in your boyfriends of the week that I only hear about through dialogue,” Max tells her. Zing! Meta-zing! Also though, now that we’re keeping track of meanness, meanness zing. Perhaps Penny’s heartache can be soothed by how stinking cute she and everyone else look in their tuxes. Ladytuxes FTW. Jane gets a moment to Jolie — those are some toned gams, Eliza Coupe! — before finally getting the go-ahead to be in the wedding party, too. She doesn’t get a snazzy, flattering tux like everyone else, though. She’s stuck in a boxy, hideous yellow number along with Eric’s half of the wedding party. The best part of the wedding photo scene, beyond the truly impressive cuteness, is that someone on Derek’s side is shorter than Alex. That is a wee, wee gentleman.

This is girlish and a little embarrassing, but let’s take a quick second to talk about the styling on this episode. Holy smokes, everyone looked great, even though I am not a huge fan of Alex’s fake ponytail (fauxnytail?). But lo, fake eyelashes are a girl’s best friend, Jane’s flippy bangs are quite adorable, and Alex and Penny’s makeup is to die for.

Poor Penny x 3: She gets stuck at the “Skype table” at the wedding, facing a bunch of laptops — again, kinda mean, but at least one of the laptopians is David Silver, and the two of them hit it off. Does this mean 90210 can’t exist in the Happy Endings universe? That seems like a real loss: Penny and Max just seem like they’d be huge, huge 90210 fans, don’t they?

Hey, poor Penny IV: She and Dave have a very sweet heart-to-heart about what a bust the Year of Penny has turned out to be, and Dave gives her the kind of pep talk boy BFFs give their girl friends all the time: You’re great, you’re beautiful, you’re special, and you’re going to find someone who loves you as much as I love you [cue violins]. When Penny later realizes that she and Dave have sort of had A Moment, she decides to try to talk to Alex about it — only do discover a shirtless Dave in her room, which she figures means the two have hooked up, and then she runs away. This brings us to our next referendum: Do you want Penny and Dave to get together? This season has set the two up as a could-be romance a few times, and they are very sweet together. Beyond the inherent dangers of moving out of the friend zone, there’s also the Alex Factor.

In Brad and Jane Land, Brad has been avoiding telling his wife that he lost his job. We’ve seen these two try to keep information from each other before, and it doesn’t work, which is why this felt like a weird choice: These two are super in love and super supportive. Why would he be worried about telling her? When he finally does, she of course gives him the loving spiel we all knew she would, only to be interrupted by


First, I definitely want Mandonna to play at my wedding, where I marry this show because of how much I love it. Second, our final referendum: How does this performance compare to “Zou Bisou Bisou” in terms of how arousing you find it, how important it is to the characters, and what you believe its lasting impact will be on pop culture?

So how did we leave off? With Penny romancing a broken-legged David Silver and Alex and Dave joining hands – and thus rekindling the couple whose break-up set the show in motion. So many conflicting feelings!

Happy Endings Recap: L-U-V Mandonna