The Evening Round-Up: 'Ben and Kate,' 'New Girl' & 'Happy Endings' reviews
[The following reviews were written before Hurricane Sandy cruelly confiscated Alan's power for a yet-to-be-determined, but still-ongoing duration.]
It's evening round-up time, with quick review of tonight's episodes of "Ben and Kate," "New Girl" and "Happy Endings," coming up just as soon as I have a mustache glued on top of my mustache...
"Scaredy Kate" was probably the most laugh-out-loud installment of "Ben and Kate" so far, an episode that really played to the strengths of its cast: Dakota Johnson being socially awkward, Lucy Punch being inappropriate with Maggie Jones, and Echo Kellum and Nat Faxon being goofy (and, in this case, high) with each other. And as a believer in the theory that funny dancing is funny, I enjoyed both Kate doing the robot with a bunch of people in robot costumes and Tommy showing Ben his dance moves ("This is called, 'Move your shoulder real slow-like'") in the bathroom. Nothing complicated: just a group of likable characters behaving amusingly. The ratings have been pretty dire, but the show so far is a very nice fit with the rest of FOX's Tuesday comedies. And speaking of which...
A strong "New Girl" for all four roommates, who A)got to bust out their respective Woody Allen impressions (I'd say Max Greenfield's was the most accurate, and Lamorne Morris' the funniest due to the surprise of it), and B)all wound up single and alone by the end of the night, with only the prospect of Jess punching Nick in the face to look forward to. The various stories ended roughly the way you'd expect them to, but along the way we got a lot of amusing Schmidt insults of Robbie (who was, per Schmidt, dressed as "guy who shot John Lennon dressed as a Ninja Turtle") that worked precisely because Robbie was untroubled by them, plus Schmidt being indignant about the idea of using his Purim costumes on Halloween, we got Nick facing his fears of haunted houses (Jake Johnson squealing = funny), Winston's frustration with Shelby's "reigning cats and dogs" costume, and our glimpse of the routine for a haunted house employee. Also, Schmidt's backup costume as McConnaughey in "Magic Mike" was outstanding.
Finally, I was much happier with tonight's "Happy Endings" than I was with the season premiere. "Sabado Free-Gante" had the usual rapid-fire string of jokes (everyone making fun of Dave as LaToya, the montage of Dave and Max failing to open the pinata, Alex doing her impression of a dial-up modem), but the stories all worked much better for me. Dave and Alex are still Dave and Alex, but this week we got Rachael Harris with them, and there are few better in the business if you want someone to respond to a character or storyline with the withering disapproval it deserves. Penny and Jane at the car dealership made good use of Jane's insane competitiveness while also allowing Penny to be smarter than usual, and it set up that marvelous closing sequence with Rob Corddry as the Car Czar (who knows what cars are). And Brad's maiden voyage into Max-world was a welcome return for one of the show's funnier pairings.
What did everybody else think?