Happy Endings ‘P&P Romance Factory’ Review: B-Plots to the Rescue

Whenever I’m asked to describe Happy Endings to a friend that hasn’t seen it, words tend to escape me. I mean, it started out as a show about a guy humorously getting left at the altar (that’ a thing, right?) but with time, it became something much more. Weirdly enough, that is often at the expense of the plot of Happy Endings. I mean, it truly is a show that’s pretty much about nothing. I’m totally okay with that but it is what it is. This week on Happy Endings, there’s nothing really at stake again, but I can’t find myself too broken up about that.

Source: ABC

The main focus of the episode is on Jane in her attempt to break into the ranks of the Car Czar’s boys club. Yeah, remember that one time when Jane just up and quit her successful, high-paying job doing… whatever she did and became a car salesperson? If not, it might be because you didn’t watch the last 30 seconds of Happy Endings two weeks ago. Or maybe it was because it was never mentioned at all in last week’s episode? Whatever the reason may be, yeah, Jane being a car saleswoman? That’s a thing now. Evidently the only way to make it big with the Car Czar, the incomparable Rob Corddry, and his band on non-descript cronies is to insult your spouse. There are a couple of cute moments when Brad plays up his trophy wife status, including a squealing potbelly pig in what appears to be a sailor suit. However, the bulk of this is just sort of awkwardly mean-spirited. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good joke at someone else’s expense as much as the next person, arguably more than the next person, but it’s just such an uncomfortable storyline. Maybe I’m still not willing to let this whole “Jane abandoning her job to work for the Car Czar” thing, which seems totally out of place for her control freak, Type-A personality. Whatever it is, something about the main storyline for this week’s Happy Endingsjust doesn’t really work for me.

Luckily, the B plots are puling double duty this week. Penny, in her usual way (Classic Penny…) finds a seemingly perfect guy, but her chance for romance is given a significant… handicap when she is forced to wear a helmet from her fall down the stairs (Remember that? Season 3 premiere? Anyone?) that resulted in a concussion. Nick Zano plays Pete, her love interest, at least for this episode. I mean, I could use a little more closure with Penny and Brian Austin Green, although I suppose him jumping off the building while she took the stairs could be seen as a bit of dealbreaker. Zano doesn’t bring much to the table, but then again, does he ever? However, Penny has some great physical comedy as they do a re-hash of all her various head injuries. The writers are really on their game with the Penny plotline as they go through various dates which require protective headgear, but I think the shining moment of this storyline belongs to Alex as she tries to hide Penny’s helmet under a full head of hair.

Source: ABC

Honestly, it’s good to see Penny and Alex back together again after what could have been a friendship-ending fight in last week’s Thanksgiving episode. Plus, in true Alex fashion, she’s got some great one-liners as she tries to convince Penny to go for it with Pete including “He could be your soulmate, your kindred spirit, your One Tree Hill.”

Still, the strongest storyline in “P&P Romance Factory” belongs to Max and Dave. After a humiliating fist bump incident (yes, you read that correctly) Max is infuriated. However, Dave is despondent, blaming himself for Max’s humiliation. See, back when he was a kid, Dave invented “Down low, too slow” or so he claims. Nothing is at stake here. It is literally an entire storyline about various forms of handshakes. Dave’s sangria mouth as he reminisces about his first time saying “down low, too slow?” Priceless. It’s so simple and so ludicrous, but Zach Knighton and Adam Pally really commit to it and have a lot of fun with what is unquestionably one of the most trivial stories to grace primetime television.

“P&P Romance factory” is really a mixed bag. Despite devoting way too much time to rather unbelievable career shift, the episode balances itself out with its supporting storylines. Definitely not the best example of Happy Endings talents, it isn’t exactly the worst episode of a sitcom I’ve ever seen either. Hopefully, Happy Endings brings more of the low-stakes drama, such as high-five feuds, in the next episodes of the season. After all, couldn’t we all use a little more triviality in our television?

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About the author: Calhoun
Calhoun
Calhoun Kersten is unofficially over-educated and unemployable. he is currently finishing up his Masters thesis on horror films from DePaul University, but now resides in Hell on earth aka Los Angeles. When he's not writing, he enjoys being a grown man who still watches Arthur on PBS, singing along loudly to Three 6 Mafia, and spending time with his dog, Karl Marx.

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  • Simon T

    Yay for Happy Endings!
    One thing – wasn’t Jane’s job voluntary before? I’m sure I read that somewhere (or maybe even remembered it from an early season one episode, but that feels less likely…!)
    I didn’t think much of the handshake storyline, but loved Penny (as always) and hoping that Nick Zano gets more chance to prove himself soon. I used to love him in What I Like About You…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433160170 Calhoun Kersten

      I know she did a lot of charity events with things like Animals for Change (… except to help panda bears, they are like the breast cancer of animal charities) but she definitely is seen in, like, an office setting.
      Anyways, let’s focus on the REAL important thing here and that is, good lord, Penny, find a way to make it work with Nick Zano!

  • Eric Pharand

    ‘A’ story wasn’t funny or good but the rest made up for it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433160170 Calhoun Kersten

      Yeah, there was just something about it, right? I dunno, didn’t really do it for me, even though I love me some Jane and Brad