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We might just finally see Penny Hartz, once literally cursed to spinsterhood, get hitched now that she’s engaged to Pete on Happy Endings, after three seasons of following Penny's kind of pitiful but always ah-mah-zing trials as a single woman.
Take into account that this is the girl who once considered dating a guy with the last name Hitler. That this is her longest relationship ever is a good sign. Then she forgets to invite her fiancé (Nick Zano) to their engagement party and then finds out if he wants to elope are not.
Jane’s (Eliza Coupe) creepy face pops up out of a Jack in the Box offering (see: forcing) her wedding planning services to Penny. Once Pete awkwardly gets there two hours later, he spills to Penny that he doesn’t like huge weddings and wants to get eloped instead. OK, whatever, Pete. Penny understandably hits the floor, as do Jane’s plans of being Jennifer Lopez.
To save Penny’s, and her own, perfectionist dreams of glorious nuptials to be remembered through the ages, Jane drags along the gang (tricking Pete into thinking that it’s a reggae expo) to a Valentine’s Day weekend wedding expo. Couples passes conveniently split the group for the expo, and for the various plotlines that will eventually converge around the 20-minute mark.
Jane and Penny successfully pitch a wedding ceremony to Pete with out-there ideas. What kind of ideas, you say? A chicken wing cake, a blue cheese fountain, reggae band, even a sushi-platter pretty lady. All do their work to win over the dude.
A poacher planner, who says the J-Lo movie was based on her, tries to swoop in before Jane throws down (literally) onto a table. In an almost-but-not-quite fool-proof plan to break back in, Jane later bites a security guard and gets knocked down by another security guard. Women be cray.
Weddings really are for crazy people, so Pete’s kinda right about that one, and Penny ultimately offers to get eloped for him if that’s what will make him happy. But, luckily for her, Pete decides to have a wedding, because that makes sense and Penny cares about it.
Max and Brad (Adam Pally and Damon Wayans Jr.) are paired as a gay couple, and the two go to the expo’s “Gay-Town,” where Max promptly acts out a dramatic breakup accusing Brad of "dumping" him, so he can go flirt with a hot guy. I mean, c’mon guys, he got the “turnaround.”
Before the gang of beefcake gays can pound now-"single" Brad for dumping his fiancé, Brad forces his “sweet-and-sour sauce” to save him and take him back as “gay homosexuals who are in love and will be married.”
Meanwhile, chemistry-less couple — seriously, they’re basically just friends — Alex and Dave (Elisha Cuthbert and Zachary Knighton) spend the whole time dealing with issues about their last wedding (see: awful pilot episode), which Dave apparently Bridezilla-ed all over back in the day. He flipped over having beige napkins, which I guess is a no-no wedding thing?
Alex tests the self-proclaimed “Chill-zilla’s” buttons all day, showing him bouncy houses for the wedding party and an underwater ceremony (“Taking the Plunge Nuptials,” so legit). An argument again finds her leaving Dave at another altar…display! Zing!
A talk with Penny about their frustrating problems — Penny's doubts of finally getting married and Dave’s wedding not actually being the one “every little boy dreams of” — makes them realize being with their boyfriend/girlfriend is what’s important on that special day.
And so, all the problems are tidied up in under 30 minutes, like an extra-strength detergent plotline that by the end looks simply sharp and fresh. Minus a concussed Jane leaving on a stretcher, that is. You always do forget that one spot.
Happy Endings always has epic wedding episodes, so Penny’s shouldn’t fail to disappoint, with Andy Richter playing her young-ish father.
But let me just pose this one philosophical question: If a Penny gets married in a forest, does anyone hear it? That answer, by this season’s end, is most likely going to be a resounding yes.
The series, in its third season, airs Tuesdays at 9/8C on ABC until March 19.
Happy Endings top-10 highlights:
10. Jane’s clever plot to use a cart with a Trojan Horse figure on it to sneak back in — naturally, by charging next to it.
9. Jane: Why work with an impersonal, professional wedding planner? You need someone who knows you, loves you, and would rather burn your wedding to the ground than see someone else plan it.
8. The Gay-Town guys threaten to “pound Brad’s ass” for dumping Max — as in, fight him. "They’re DTF: Down to fight."
7. Dave’s caricature drawing from his and Alex’s not-wedding day hanging up at the gang’s bar. Chill-zilla.
6. Penny: I’ll elope if you want. We can go down to the courthouse right now. Well not the one on Belmont, or the one on Michigan Ave., because I went through a bailiff phase…
5. Brad: Don’t be petty, Manny Petty. Give me a mani…pedi?
4. Penny, on wedding-planning: Pete doesn’t like weddings?! Well, I didn’t like Korean spas until I learned the phrase, “I don’t want to bleed today” in Korean, and now I love ‘em!
3. Alex: I get the P-shaped sandwiches for Pete and Penny, but what is with the lower-case b’s? They’re the same sandwich.
2. The A-Ha’d “Take On Me” wedding video camera effect.
1. Flashback-Penny, on doing her ‘wedding stuff’: Hello Steve, who couldn’t commit to a serious relationship, check out this rock. And no, you can’t smoke it! ... I never asked, how was rehab?
Tonight's comedy winner: Penny Hartz!
Photo Courtesy of ABCMedianet.