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Friday, December 9, 2011

"Grinches Be Crazy" on Happy Endings

     ABC's Happy Endings celebrates Christmas in a fashion true to itself in "Grinches Be Crazy." Jane (Eliza Coupe) accidentally gives housekeeper Gita (Jamie Denbo, Suburgatory, Terriers) her and Brad's (Damon Wayans Jr.) Christmas vacation money, rather than the intended tip. Jane tries to steal it back, but feels guilty as Gita proclaims her an angel. Max (Adam Pally) agrees to play Santa for Penny (Casey Wilson), and discovers some true benefits to the persona. Dave (Zachary Knighton) cashes in all of the coupons Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) gifted him over the years, including one for a kiss.

     Jane is a true type-A personality, and because of that, she can be a little cold sometimes. But viewers get to see what Brad sees in "Grinches By Crazy," in that Jane does the right thing in the end. Yes, she goes to great lengths to steal poor Gita's gift back, which leads the police to try to arrest Max and Brad for the crime, the latter hilariously, because of race stereotypes. This is OK, and really funny, because the arresting officer (Gary Anthony Williams, Boston Legal, The Boondocks) is also black. But Jane also cannot disappoint anyone, so she lets Gita take the trip. It's to Brad's credit and maturity that he doesn't get upset with Jane, recognizing that she only makes a mistake, and does her best to make up for it.

     Max's turn as Santa is pretty hilarious, too. It is well documented that Max does not like kids, but sometimes can relate to them, under the right circumstances. Of course, he does relate to them in "Grinches By Crazy," touched by a moving story from a child. But the true greatness of the subplot comes when he, just by being in costume, saves Penny from a mugging, then the two cluelessly ignore the mugger hitting someone else right behind them. Bonus points for Alex falling into the donation bin in the background of another scene featuring Max.

     The chemistry between Alex and Dave is palpable. Alex runs a little crazy, and Dave is neurotic, so it's realistic that they didn't work out. But they must also have great sex, and affection for each other, because they can't seem to stay apart. They've tried, but they also keep being drawn back together, which means they probably have a little growing to do, but will eventually get a happy ending with each other. How can they not, after that higly charged kiss?

     In "Grinches Be Crazy," Dave and Alex bond as Alex goes to great lengths to fulfill her coupons. They are goofy ideas that she never expects to have to do, especially not all at once. But give the girl credit for throwing herself into the tasks whole heartedly. The thing about Alex is that commits. This is reflected in Cuthbert's acting. The actress is the least funny member of the ensemble, but it's clear that she tries really hard, so she remains likable and sympathetic.

    Happy Endings is a series that deserves to be watched, and it's not out of line to consider it this decade's Friends, given the consistent talent and success it is currently enjoying. It will return in January to ABC.

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     To buy Happy Endings streaming episodes, please click here.

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