Happy Endings

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From left to right: Brad, Jane, Alex, Dave, Penny, and Max.

Happy Endings is an ABC sitcom that premiered in April 2011. The series begins when Alex leaves fellow friend and husband-to-be Dave at the altar. This completely traumatizes Dave, and leaves their friends, who were brought together due to Dave and Alex being a couple, lamenting how they will probably never see each other again.

When Alex returns from the honeymoon that she and Dave planned, Dave is understandably ticked off; and now the friends have a problem: having to either disband or pick sides between Dave and Alex.

Fortunately, Alex and Dave decide that what happened was for the better and that it should not be something that should destroy their friendship. However many complications remain down the road for this group of friends. And Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes used in Happy Endings include:

Penny: (to Alex) Maybe your dad is the head of some elite counter-terrorist unit and he has 24 hours to - I don't know! The point is, would you date?"

    • Jane once said that she made a "vision-board" in order for the universe to get her what she wants, including Brad. Brad then said that it wasn't really him on her vision-board, but instead it was one of the guys from In Living Color. One of the creators cast members of In Living Color is Damon Wayans (as well has his brothers), real-life father of Damon Wayans Jr., who plays Brad.
  • Adult Child: Dave and Max. One episode revolves around them buying tons of Nerf weapons and playing with them the entire episode.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In 'Big White Lie' Penny's learned a lesson about how lying only complicates things... which she forgets right after the person who told her that has left the room.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Penny's date Todd. Apparently she has a history of dating these kinds of guys, which included Max in college.
  • Apologises a Lot: Dave
  • Badass Israeli: Yoni, the Krav Maga instructor.
  • The Bear: Max, in both the gay sense and the fact that during the winter he becomes like a bear. He doesn't shave, chases after meat, eats honey straight out of the jar [1] and gets stuck in trashcans.
  • The Beard: Max has been using Penny as one whenever his parents come to visit. In one episode she cancels, so he has to find a new beard. The ensuing hilarity leads to Max finally coming out to his parents, who are very accepting.
    • After his mother starts trying to set him up with other gay Jewish men, Dave kisses Max in order to act as his gay beard.
  • Big Eater: Max
    • Also Alex as seen in later episodes. We see her picking up an obnoxiously large take out order for herself in one episode and in another she assures Brad that he doesn't have to pay for her second waffle... or first omelette. In a third, she comments she's had Thai for lunch in addition to Mexican and BBQ, all in the same day.
    • This is actually Truth in Television for most Chicagoans.
  • Blah Blah Blah: invoked by Brad in "Pilot"; also by Max in "The Shershow Redemption"

Dave: None of us has made a new friend in like 11 years.
Brad: I wouldn't even know how to do that. What do you do, like just walk up to random people and go, "Hey, blah, blah, blah, sports"?

  • Borrowed Catchphrase: in "The Quicksand Girlfriend" Brad uses "chicksand" to describe Dave's one-night-stand, to Max's disdain until:

Max: You drowned, bro, in chicksand. I like it and I'm taking credit for it.

  • Book Ends: The first series begins and ends with the central cast at a wedding, one of which is marginally more successful than the other.
    • The "Year of Penny" begins at the start of the first episode of the second season and officially ends in the last episode of the season.
  • Boy Of The Week: Penny tends to meet a new a-maazhing guy every week. Lampshaded and said word-for-word by Max in the second season finale, who states he's glad he never gets invested in them.
  • Break the Cutie: In "Yesandwitch", Penny takes it upon herself to break her incessantly optimistic mother. She immediately has reason to regret it.
  • Breathless Non-Sequitur: Dave, while tearing Alex out about leaving him at the altar.

Dave: I can't believe you got the white trash tourists braids you look like Predator I'm afraid you're gonna rip my spine out and keep my skull as a trophy!

  • Brick Joke:
    • When Max and Dave realize there's a guy living in their ceiling they sneak into his room, and Max comments that he has really nice shirts. Later in the episode Max gives the guy food in exchange for borrowing them.
    • At the beginning of "Bo Fight", Brad and Max are arguing about whether it's harder to be black or gay. At the end of the episode, and after Max and Dave break into Alex's shop, the officer says it was most likely an inside job and immediately suspects Brad, even though Max and Dave are bruised messes. Brad treats it as a victory.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Jane's Creole accent when drinking
  • Broken Pedestal: Dave realizes that his former favorite high school teacher isn't all that great or in Penny's words, he's a "full-on douche".
  • But Not Too Black: in "Bo Fight", Max and Brad debate which is harder, being gay or being black.

Max: The President's a black, right?
Dave: Technically, he's more of a tie-dye.

  • But Not Too Gay: We see rather little physical affection between Max and the guys he dates, but he's still on par with Penny in that regard. That aside, the episode Cocktails and Dreams had various characters having sex dreams about Dave, and while Penny and Jane's dreams ended with kisses, Brad's cut away just before.
  • Captain Ersatz: Alex takes part in an online sewing class called Situation Walkspace, run by the "second step-cousin" of Tim Gunn.
  • Camp Gay: Derek, an offensively-over-the-top-Sex-and-the-City gay guy that Max finds for Penny so she can be a Fag Hag.
  • Camp Straight: Brad. He likes to twirl.

Alex (to Brad): I don't know. A lot of people think you're on the low.

    • And more recently on a kerfuffle about "The Code"

Brad: Oh no he didn’t! Oh no he didn’t just say oh no he didn’t! Yes he did! Girl yo’ lying! Bitch ain’t lying it’s the code, shoo!

  • Candlelit Bath: Dave in Alex's bathroom
  • Caught on Tape: Max borrows Jane's nanny-cam (that she uses to keep an eye on Brad, but that Brad uses to his own advantage) to catch Dave sleep-walking and eating his leftovers. Turns out, there's an artist squatting upstairs in their crawl space who's been stealing the food
  • Characterization Marches On: Several episodes in the first season deal with the aftermath of Dave and Alex's breakup, but over time they settle into being two friends in the same group. Lampshaded when other characters tell Alex about having sex dreams about Dave, and she says Dave is like their brother.

Brad: Didn't you sleep with him on and off for, like, ten years?

    • Alex originally didn't have any defining character traits, but she's gradually turned into the cute ditz.
  • Character Tics: Dave slaps Max after high-fives.

Max: Why is that something that you do?
Dave: It just feels right.

    • Brad dry heaves when he sees someone ready to throw up.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Alex runs a fine line between this and The Ditz, and sometimes merges the two traits.

Penny: She really does march to the beat of her very slow drummer.

  • Comic Sutra: Brad explains how Jane refers to sex, but the group's humming blocks it out, so the viewer is just left seeing Brad's gestures and Jane's titillated agreement
  • Conflicting Loyalty: The group towards Dave and Alex's split
    • Averted by Dave and Alex mending their fences for the good of the group
  • Contrived Coincidence: The events that cause Penny to think she's living in a condo with a spinster curse on it.
  • Control Freak: Jane, such as when she takes over Alex's search for a housemate.
  • Cool Teacher: Subverted when Dave's favorite teacher Mr. Fitzgerald resurfaces. Turns out he's a Jerkass sponge who can't remember Dave's name.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Max, especially in 'Big White Lie' where he joins in in Penny's Master Lie For the Evulz.
  • Crazy Prepared: Jane, proudly.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Alex. With a snake of all things.

Alex(excitedly): I'm gonna name him Tyler!


Brad: So, where'd you two guys meet?
Todd: J-date. We instantly connected.
Brad: I thought you had to be Jewish to be on that.
Todd: I am Jewish.
Brad: No, I was talking about Penny... is also Jewish! Yeah. Alright, 26-year-old Jew.


"Night of a thousand comebacks!"


Jane: Didn't you see me making the "opening" gesture?
Brad: Oh, that's what that was? I thought you were separating two boxing mice.
Jane: Boxing mice? That's what you thought this *gestures* was?
Jane: Oh no. Yeah, I see it now.
Brad: I know, right? What's that mouse's name?
Jane: Mice Tyson!

    • or

Alex: I figured it was time to move on, plus I got tired of saying I was a Super Dave Osborne fan.
Max: What?! How could you get tired of telling people you're a Super Dave Osborne fan?
Max:... I'm just trying to clear something up in my head as I go over it again. Are you a Super Dave Osborne fan? Or are you tired of telling people you're a Super Dave Osborne fan?


Dave: I'm gonna go out tonight and I'm gonna get absolutely blackout drunk.
Max: Yes! Let's do it!
Dave: Maybe I'll meet somebody, you know. I can bring her back here. Somehow convince her to have sex with me on this soiled futon while you sleep nearby.
Max: Sure, I mean, chicks love a chubby guy sleeping on the floor. Reminds them of prom.
Dave: Couple months go by, surprise! Herpes. Surprise number two, she's preggo and loves cocaine.
Max: Okay, you're going to a dark place. Let's turn it around.
Dave: We try to make it work for a while, but it's only a matter of time before she runs off with a roadie from Pantera. Before you know it, I'm a single dad living in this torture-porn warehouse with my cross-eyed baby Mitchell.


Dave: Hello, high voice. Either you're wearing really tight jeans or you have a mouse.
Alex: Both, and believe me, it was not easy getting up on this chair.

  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Dave and Alex have matching tattoos with one another's names. Dave (believing Alex has had hers removed) consults a doctor but Alex comes to him at the last minute to show that she didn't remove hers. They try to remove them together, but find it too painful and decide to leave them as a tribute to their friendship.
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Brad grows a huge mancrush on Grant.
    • Brad also starts having sex dreams about Dave when he starts drinking Dave's cocktails, just like Penny and Jane.
  • Everything Is Racist

 Brad: [sees waiter with a tray of food} Okay, here we go. [waiter turns away] Oh, come on! They got here like 20 minutes after us. This is totally 'cause we're black on blonde.

Brad (again): (Jane crashes the Prius and her airbag deploys) Of course the white lady's airbag deploys.


 Penny: I want somebody who goes to brunch with me and touches my boobs in a platonic way!


 Brad: I mean, a small typo on the word "Canal" and you're in a whole different family of sites.

Jane: I know, the same thing happened to me when I searched for a pair of black crocs.

    • Also when Alex gets a late night booty call from her latest guy in "The Code War".

 Alex: I thought maybe he wanted to have a late European dinner

Penny: Look how he spelled "come over."

Alex: I thought it was the European spelling.

    • In the halloween episode, Alex was talking about how they both went as Sean Penn

 Dave: What, I thought you loved double Penn!

    • In "You Snooze, You Bruise":

 Jane: I'm gonna go take a nap, think about it, maybe buzz one out.

Brad: "Buzz one out"? That's a weird way to say "snoring".


 Max: Dave, you're scaring us. We haven't seen you today.

Dave: Really? You're going to try to Groundhog Day me?

Max: Dave, you're scaring us. We haven't seen you today.

  • Guilty Pleasures: Max reads Japanese Tiger Beat.
  • Guys Are Slobs: Max
  • Happy Birthday to You: Penny's 30th (or 26th if you ask her date)
  • Happily Married: Brad and Jane. Although she did experience some insecurities over the state of her marriage after the break up of Dave and Alex.
  • Hates Being Touched: Invoked by Max, but averted when he and Brad do an intricate handshake
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Subverted with Max and Dave, since Max is gay, but otherwise fits.
    • Brad and Max as well. Brad did tell Max that "he loves him the most."
  • Heroic BSOD: Dave after being left at the altar by Alex. He's drunk, writing depressing thank you cards for the wedding gifts, and ate most of the world's largest chocolate bride. He left the hand to hold on to.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Grant also goes by the name of Adam in another series that's set in Chicago.
  • Hipster: Penny's date in "Dave of the Dead", leading Max to give Penny hipster lessons

 Max: Hipster Rule number one, never try. Never put effort into anything.

Penny: Got it. Like a flight attendant.

Max: ...Hipster Rule number two, only like things ironically. Books, movies, TV shows, the environment.

Max: ...Hipster Rule number three, never show too much enthusiasm.

Max: ...Final rule, everything is dumb. If someone says something and you don't understand, you just go, "I'm over it."

Penny: Froyo, over it. Other stuff, over it.

  • His and Hers: In a Season 1 episode where the gang is doing a Jazz-Kwan Do routine, you can see Brad and Jane in matching Adidas sweatsuits as well as matching Samoa sneakers.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Alex
  • Hurricane of Puns: Alex makes several of them when she finds out Penny is dating Douglas Hitler.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Max tells the man living in his and Dave's ceiling that stealing is wrong...while wearing one of the guy's "really nice shirts".
    • While Dave is trying to break up with a girl he thought was too clingy at her grandmother's funeral, she turns things around on him, to which he responds, 'Ok I don't think this is really the place to talk about this...'
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: In "Like Father, Like Gun", Brad's attempt to get his father to say he loves him backfires when he thinks it means he's going to die. Dad then starts "dropping L-bombs" to everything except Brad.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun

 Penny: [regarding Alan's slaw] Sounds slaw-some. *Beat* I don't know why I said that.


 Max: Yeah, this is a classic of boy meets girl, boy loses girl to guy on rollerblades, boy becomes biggest YouTube sensation since "kitten stuck in tuba".

Dave: It's on YouTube? How many hits?

  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Penny always describes something as uh-maazhing.
    • Dave also has a relationship with a woman who insists her name is pronounced "Uh-ndrea," prompting Max to introduce the bro-trio to her as "Mox, Braid, and Dove"
    • This is a common trope on the show, mostly from Penny 'This sooks!', but the rest of the cast gets in on it too. See 'roof stoof' instead of 'rough stuff', among others
  • Jerkass:
    • Derek, who goes from Penny's Pet Homosexual to a guy who orders her around and refuses to let her speak.
    • Alan Fitzgerald, Dave's favorite teacher from high school, who tries to scam money off Penny and doesn't follow through on a promise made to Dave.
  • Jerkass Facade: Max tries to pretend that he doesn't care, but he really does.
  • Jewish Mother: Max's match-making mother
  • Legal Jailbait: Dave's date, Jackie, in "Pilot"

 Jackie: I can't wait until I'm 26. I feel like no one takes you seriously when you're in high school.


 Dave: It's always v-neck season.

  • Little White Lie: In "Blax, Snakes, Home," Jane goads Alex and Dave to reveal the little lies they told during their failed relationship, including lies to circumvent Alex's poor pet care and Dave's love of frolf. In true sitcom form, they realize hiding a few disagreements kept them from fighting.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Max suggests why Penny's latest boyfriend may have broken up with her:

 Penny: And then he said he hates when I say Uh-mahzing. But I've barely said that at all this season!

Max: ...you mean Winter?

Penny: Yeah. It's more of a summer word.

  • Seems to be a recurring element in Season 2. The episode 'Big White Lies' gives us a line from Max and Dave's landlord that mirrors what some critics and viewers might say about Max's nontraditional portrayal of a gay man. 'Are you? Cause I've been watching you and you don't seem very gay to me...I don't know why I care so much. But I do. I DO!'
    • Then the Season 2 finale gives us two bits, first with Max saying he's glad he doesn't get invested in Penny's 'Boys of the week I only hear about through dialouge.' And then Derek says to the entire group 'I don't have time for this endless bantering! The back and forth, its exhausting, I don't even no what you're saying half the time. So slow down!" Made more funny because Derek's quite the motor mouth himself.
  • Logging Onto the Fourth Wall: www.steakmehometonight.com, which advertises Dave's food truck.
  • "Ma'am" Shock:

 Woman: Excuse me ma'am, are you done with this machine?

Penny: Ma'am? Ma'am?! I'm going to go bawl my eyes out, and then I'll be back to physically fight you.

  • Mistaken for Gay: Dave by Max's parents. Apparently they once found Max's gay porn and he had to blame it on Dave.
  • Mistaken for Racist:
    • Penny when she dates a man with the last name "Hitler", but some unfortunate coincidences lead him to think she's some kind of Gestapo fetishist.
      • Penny Hartz Hitler
    • Jane's parents by Brad because it took her six months to tell them she was living with a black man.

 Jane: My parents don't see color, they just see "sleeping with our daughter".

  • More Dakka: When Dave and Max start procuring Nerf weapons.
  • My Nayme Is: The girl Dave dates in episode 2 makes it clear her name is Undrea.
  • Old Maid: Penny's fear

 Todd: Wait, are you thirty? Or are you twenty-six?

Penny: I'm thirty, and I'm Catholic, and I'm gonna die alone in a light-up Christmas sweater talking to a menagerie of parrots.

  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Chicksand".
    • Gaycist
  • Punny Name: Dave's food truck is named Steak Me Home Tonight.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Most of the causes of Brad and Jane's annual spring fight, such as grated cheese incorrectly and hair length.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: One of the show's distinctive characteristics that helps differentiate it from its spiritual predecessor Friends.
  • Real Life Relative: Brad's father is played by Damon Wayans.
  • Reset Button:
    • Alex wanting a roommate. When she found one, it turned out to be another case of bad judgment on Alex's part.
    • Max's flirtation with Ian ended abruptly at the end of the episode after we find out Ian is married
  • Runaway Bride: Alex, obviously.
  • Share Phrase: "Shut your whore mouth!"
  • Shirtless Scene: Dave and Max have had some of these, usually Played for Laughs.
    • The girls purposely invoke one with Grant, when Penny "accidentally" spills soda on him.
  • Shout-Out
    • Max: I'm gonna Exit Through the Gift Shop.
    • Penny: You're really 'Eat Pray Love'-ing your way through this.
    • At one point Penny's Pet Homosexual called her Penny Arcade.
      • Although, penny arcades used to be a thing (so named because the attractions cost a penny, this being back when the penny actually had buying power), that's where the comic got its name. So maybe not.
    • The Bachelor gets quite a few mentions in the episode "Bo Fight", (it is ABC after all).
    • Max: We had to rent The Road twice, and it is not that funny the second time.
    • Brad: She's Beautiful Mind-ing it. You just gotta let it play itself out.
    • Dave: Hello Wisconsin!
    • Max: If you're going to do this sex-tape, a couple of things. One: Make sure she shoots you from the right side, because from the left you look like a troll. And not like a cute doll with the hair troll, like a "I distract you with a crystal and steal your baby" troll.
    • Jane: Dave is Freddy Krueger-ing us in our dreams…with sex.
    • Max: You're not the only one who's good at this game, Emily Thorne!
    • The episode when Dave calls all of them by their Friends Identities. His wife being Monica and Alex being Pheobe.
  • The Slacker: Max
  • Spit Take
    • Dave when he finds out that his date, Jackie, is still in high school.
    • Invoked by Max in "Dave of the Dead"

 "I did that double spit take to illustrate how insane you sound right now."


 Alex: No, I was just picking up a normal amount of to-go food for one person, and I didn't eat half in the cab and the other half in bed.

Penny: No one said you did.

Alex: Good, cause I didn't!


 Max: Up in the Air was overrated.

Dave: What, no? I mean, yeah, of course it was. Who's gonna believe that Clooney's gonna be alone at that age?

    • Lori Petty

  Dave: I'm doing lots of stuff: taking online yoga, meeting great people. They're calling me Body, which is awesome, 'cause of Point Break. I've been watching that a lot. Totally holds up. What happened to Lori Petty, right?


 Dave: All right, that one was a little forced.

Alex: Maybe you should force yourself onto a girl. I'm not good at these games.


 Alex: So, this is it.

Max: I think it was "it" when you ran out on your wedding. Too soon?

Penny: Yes.


 Dave: Just tell me one thing: what would Seagal do in this situation?

Max: Well, I think it's pretty cut and dry. He'd fly over to Bo's house on an eagle, tear his throat out, use it as a dreamcatcher, and then ride away on a polar bear.

  • The Windy City
    • Among Max's interests: having a Chicago accent.
    • The Bulls, new and old - and especially Scottie Pippen - are referenced numerous times.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Max to spiders. It's his third biggest phobia behind public speaking and drag queens with no makeup.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Alex and Dave seem to be on the verge of getting back together as the first season progresses but a held back by the fear that they will repeat the same mistakes that led to the original breakup.
    • In addition to hinting at a possible Penny/Dave hook-up, in Season 2 Dave and Alex do sleep together, although they agree to move past out immeaditely after, not wanting to threaten their friendship. The season 2 finale does end with them hinting at a rekindled attraction, and holding hands at the end of the episode.
  • Xenafication: Jane during Krav Maga and Penny after Jazz Kwon-Do.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Jane, as Max's beard, much to his parents' dismay
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Alex loses a drag contest to Max.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Max and Jane get into a dispute leading to a Zombie Apocalypse Olympics that tests athletic prowess, ability to be still, aim, and ruthlessness
    • Jane wins by demonstrating ruthlessness in pushing Max out in front of a group of hungry, hungry hipsters.
  1. though that's all year round