Happy Endings: Sabado Free-Gante

Being a grown-up is hard.  You have to pay bills and drive yourself to the doctor and you can’t just make your mom go buy you new jeans when you rip a pair when you fall down the stairs (not…that I’ve ever done that, of course).  This is why I’ve eschewed adulthood as much as possible (mainly because I really hate clothes shopping).

But really, being independent is amazing, but no matter how long you’ve been supporting yourself, it can still be scary.  Being independent means if you screw up, you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.  You have to be an adult and take responsibility for yourself (or do what I do and blame it on your mom anyway).

This week, Penny, Dave, and Alex were making big adult decisions: Penny’s trying to buy a new car, and Dave and Alex are planning on moving in together.  Jane finds out about Penny’s plan and, as a master negotiator, convinces Penny to let her come along.  Penny’s initially resistant: Jane is great at getting deals, but she’s a steamroller.  She doesn’t want to say her friend got her a great deal on a car – she wants to be a grown-up and get her own car, at a reasonable price, all on her own.  But Jane can’t resist interfering when her friend makes stupid decisions (like writing a check for the sticker price, then asking if you’re supposed to tip 15 or 20 percent on a car), and gives her a rundown of the tricks the salesman is going to try and pull.

After sitting in the salesman’s office while he runs the deal by the car czar (he knows what cars are!), Penny sees that Jane’s predictions are coming true; she knows exactly how the dealership tries to manipulate their customers into accepting a less-than-great deal, including making them sit in an office for hours (and, Jane’s quick to point out, the car czar?  He doesn’t exist).  They’re in there for so long that Jane falls asleep, and when she wakes up, Penny’s downstairs, about to sign her contract and purchase the car.  Her usual clumsiness kicks in, though, and she winds up falling through a taped-up window…which they taped up after she fell through the glass earlier in the episode.

Desperate to get her out of there, the salesman offers Penny her desired price on the car, as well as a rebate.  Jane realizes the whole thing was an act: Penny knew exactly what she was doing, and put on an elaborate act to trick the salesman.  It’s a mature side to Penny, and it’s sort of unusual that she comes out victorious.  Like I said, there’s a theme in this episode about adulthood and being self-sufficient, and of the three storylines, Penny’s the only one who comes out truly on top.  She’s doing something big and doesn’t fail at it – she not only gets her car, but she gets it on her terms.  Her success is entirely due to her own effort.

Then we have Dave and Alex, who are sort of abusing the whole freedom thing that comes along with being adults.  Since getting back together, they’ve sort of been rushing their relationship.  Obviously their relationship has been a huge part of the show, and even though they’ve moved on and have gotten back together, they’re still not over their issues.  Maybe he’s forgiven her for leaving him at the altar, but the root issue of their relationship has always been that they’re just not ready for commitment.  They’re not ready to get married and now, they’re not ready to move in together.  But they’re so convinced that they’re different this time around (and so desperate to quiet their friends’ non-existent concerns) that they jump right into it.  They go apartment hunting (with the amazing Rachael Harris playing their realtor), and their excitement is palpable until, at the first apartment, they’re informed they would be entering a two-year lease.  Hearing that makes them realize that they will actually have to make a commitment.  Dating is one thing; moving in together is a huge decision that they’re just not ready for.  But they’re both too proud to admit it to the realtor, or even to each other, so they come up with random excuses why every apartment they’re shown isn’t right (including, but not limited to, not having enough room to have a chicken fight, its wi-fi capability, and Alex’s immediate suspicion that the place is haunted).

Finally, their realtor has enough.  She’s been catering to their stupid whims all day, and she’s the only one who understands why they can’t pick an apartment: they’re not ready to move in together.  They’re scared and they’re making excuses to cover that up.  But, of course, even after hearing that, Dave and Alex still can’t admit that she’s right.  So they take the apartment, even if it’s not a good idea.

One of the funnier, cartoonier aspects of the show is the characters’ deflection of responsibility.  Take last week, when Penny forgave Max for drugging her and forcing her to stay in her cast for an extra week, simply because she had done it to him once.  It allows for most storylines to be more or less self-contained, but its more emotional storylines do carry over from episode to episode.  I don’t think Dave and Alex are going to work out, at least not right now (especially because of the little hints we’ve been given that Dave and Penny’s relationship might be explored a little), so I wonder how long it’ll take before one of them admits moving in together was a rash decision.  Both of them are always reluctant to admit that they’ve messed up, and certainly don’t want to think about the fact that maybe they’re rushing their relationship.  If this fails, they can only blame themselves…unless, you know, they pin the blame on Penny, or something.

Since quitting his job (again) last week, Brad is finally able to enjoy his freedom.  For once, he’s not a slave to his responsibilities: he gets to relax and actually take time for himself.  But without his income, he and Jane have had to cut back, meaning Brad’s unable to do his usual Saturday routine (consisting of breakfast, clothes shopping, a workout with his trainer, and a steam).

Max, who’s a pro at living on a very tight budget, sets out to prove to Brad that he can still appreciate those luxuries without paying anything for it.  It turns out that there is a cheap alternative to all of Brad’s hobbies, and they’re both having fun until Brad runs into a former coworker, who sees Brad’s T-shirt and smeared costume make-up (which he acquired at a birthday party he and Max crashed) and assumes that Brad’s become homeless just a month after losing his job.

The conversation makes Brad question what, exactly, he’s been doing.  He realizes he wants a combination of his former life and his newer routine at home: he doesn’t want to work eighty hours a week, but he doesn’t want to be doing nothing with his time.  And that’s the thing about being a grown-up: maybe it’s not always fun, and maybe you don’t get as much time for yourself as you would like, but everyone’s days of getting to sleep late and live worry-free have to end.  Everyone grows up sometime.  And, as Brad learns here, it’s not just universal to eventually become mature; it’s embarrassing to spend all your time doing nothing.  Maybe signing up for a cell phone in exchange for a free T-shirt is fun and inexpensive, but that’s just not Brad.  He likes wearing suits and having a trainer and being able to support himself and his wife.  He likes being an adult.

Some other great moments from throughout the episode:

-Something I really love about this show, that you inexplicably don’t see much on TV, is that it actually shows these six people as friends.  They tease each other (like with last week’s video of Penny getting hurt, or intentionally messing with Dave on Halloween), they have a shorthand (“BBF” and “GFF”, in particular, killed me), and they have regular times when they see each other.  These six people genuinely love each other.  We’re not just told that they’re friends; we get to see it week after week.

-The reveal of everyone’s Jackson 5 costume (Alex’s delighted “HEE HEE” and “SHUT UP, LATOYA,” in particular) was beautiful, as was everyone trying to get out of the apartment.  Maybe Marionette Jackson 5 isn’t such a good costume idea after all.

-Anyone impersonating Penny is always so amusing to me, just because of the inevitable “ahmahzing”.

-The montage of Dave and Max trying to break open the piñata was brilliant (and, going back to my first bulletpoint, this show is really good at putting together characters who would naturally be together.  It actually remembers that Dave and Max are roommates; they don’t just use that dynamic whenever it’s convenient for a storyline).

-“CCH Pounder!”

-Dave and Alex’s attempts to find a reason not to take that first apartment, finally ending with, “It’s too…Shia LeBeouf-y,” had me in TEARS.

-I think Rob Corddry is attempting to appear on every comedy show in existence.  I totally support this plan.  Hopefully, since Jane took his job offer at the end of the episode (there really is a car czar!), we’ll be seeing more of him.

What did you guys think of the episode?  Did you find it as ahmahzing as I did?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Happy Endings: Sabado Free-Gante

  1. I was thinking about recapping this show, and not sure I would do it justice. But you absolutely did! I think Happy Endings is quick and brilliant, but I’m still waiting for them to hit me with an emotional connection to the characters. I’ll never felt half of what I felt after last week’s Parks, for example, after an episode of this show. BUT, I do think that they’re attempting to create arcs that carry over from episode to episode this year, and hopefully that connection will come. It’s still one of the best ensembles on television and at least 4 times every episode, I laugh out loud in a really embarrassing way. –S

  2. Yeah, I’m usually missing that emotional connection, too. I love all the characters and can see bits of myself in all of them, but I don’t have the same attachment to them the way I do the Community study group or the guys on New Girl, or whatever. And I think that comes from the sort of cartoony aspect – each episode is pretty much self-contained, which isn’t a BAD thing, but the emotions aren’t going to carry out through the season. I definitely think they’re working on creating arcs, though, especially with Brad’s job and the Dave/Penny/Alex triangle. But it’s one of the best comedies on TV right now, hands down. And Alex is in love with John Krasinski – how can I NOT love any show that’ll shout out John Krasinski?!

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