'Happy Endings' recap: Smackdown Thaw

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Image Credit: Mitch Haddad/ABC

Happy Endings, as it’s entirely aware of itself, has plenty to thank Friends for. Especially that with no Fat Joey we’d have no Max, and with no Max we’d have no Bear Max. But the top-notch comedy has traces of another popular sitcom to it: How I Met Your Mother. Well, HIMYM during its heyday, anyway, and not this recent wave of weekly cliffhangers and melodrama. (When will it cease?!)

During last night’s episode of Happy Endings, titled “The Butterfly Effect Effect,” I couldn’t help but hope that their Spring Smackdown will become like the HIMYM equivalent of slap bet. This would be brilliant as a recurring gag and, truthfully, it would just give me an excuse to make my own Spring Smackdown shirt. As it turns out, it’s not the change of seasons that brings the much-needed Spring to the chilly Chicago tundra, rather Brad and Jane getting into an annual no-holds-barred battle royale. I don’t know what I love more, this ridiculously hot couple (of course they would be able to thaw out winter) when they get along or when they are fighting about inconsequential things like how to properly grate cheese.

Of course, its not just Mother Nature that benefits from Brad and Jane getting into their yearly argument. The guys, namely Dave, get to enjoy the benefits of Douche Week and the girls, namely Penny, get to revel in the rare joy of an unraveled Jane. (And wear cozy, Angela Bassett-approved pants and play MASH.) Man, I really want to be friends with these people in real life.

But when Brad and Jane can’t quite get it up to fight (they do, however, engage in the most hilarious fake yell fight of all-time) they play along with their scheming pals’ plans to get them to have Spring Smackdown. Only their plan backfires when the two get into a legitimate quarrel about who left their terrace door open. So was it the Slender Dragon Jane or Bird Magnet Brad? In the end, we never actually found out who the culprit was, but it didn’t matter: Spring Smackdown was epic and Max (a committed Adam Pally) spent the better part of a half hour acting like a hibernating bear who makes Tim Allen grunts and eats honey with his man paws. (I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but he and Andy Dwyer would get along swimmingly.)

Still, even with the ultimate comedy trifecta of Brad, Jane, and Max (although wouldn’t his very cute beau Grant be able to pull him out of his winter funk?), the night belonged to none other than… Alex. While her storyline didn’t go beyond playing off the two main plots, Elisha Cuthbert absolutely killed it with the material she had and turned out some of her funniest moments and line deliveries on the show yet. When Happy Endings first started, not only was Alex an unlikeable character (she left poor Dave on their wedding day, after all) but she was drowned out by the likes of her over-the-top pals. But even in the midst of an episode all about them, Alex proved she is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, I (slap) bet you that sweet, sweet little bird continues to shine on the show.

The best visuals from last night’s Happy Endings:

– Jane and Brad having their fake fight as their friends watch on.
— Brad fighting off a bird in his car.
— Brad snapping his pants right off of his own body.
— Bear Max riding a unicycle, much to Brad’s delight.
— Alex’s smug satisfaction of changing all the names in Penny’s phone to ‘Penis’.

The best lines from last night’s Happy Endings, aside from Jane and Alex’s secret gibberish language:

– “Thanks, it’s just a variation of my Renee Zellweger” — Alex, after being complimented on her drunken chipmunk impression
— “It could be just like The Butterfly Effect. That one little movie led to Ashton Kutcher doing a lot of bad movies” — Alex
— “I haven’t faked something that hard since I told your mother I celebrate Kwanzaa” — Jane
— “Whatever happened to Hard Copy? I like that show! It was a viable alternative to A Current Affair.” — Brad, during his fake yell fight with Jane
— “You guys have fun, because I just got the Criterion Collection of Clueless, so I’ll see you guys later. I hope not sporadically.” — Alex, being way existential
— “Okay, Blade” — Brad, after getting a glimpse of Dave in a trench coat
— “Burn! Freezer burn! Yes! Suck it” — Alex, finally nailing a comeback
— “Are you having a stroke? I’m Brad” — Brad, after Jane exclaims ‘bird’

What did you think of Happy Endings last night, PopWatchers? Are you hoping to mark Spring Smackdown on your calendar every year, too? Has “Them thiiings” officially replaced “Ah-mah-zing” as Happy Endings‘ go-to catchphrase? Do you agree that “The Butterfly Effect Effect” was set off by a ripple effect of awesomeness by Alex? Share in the comments section below.

Read more:
‘Happy Endings’ cast talks ‘Smackdown,’ upcoming antics, and a possible visit from Jack Bauer
‘Happy Endings’ guest star James Wolk talks Max romance
‘Happy Endings’ recap: Grant Land


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