Season Analysis: After catching my breath from all the laughter, I realized that Happy Endings had suddenly become one of the best comedies on TV.

“Big White Lies”

The natural speed of Happy Endings is hyper-drive.  So, when any episode forces its characters to put together a whole to-do in a short amount of time, then Happy Endings is spinning in its wheelhouse.  For the sake of avoiding going out for tea with Daphne, a slightly off-putting childhood friend (played by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, natch), Penny panics and blurts out ever more elaborate fibs, which eventually involve Alex (who’s supposed to be gay), Brad and Jane (who are supposed to be pregnant), and Dave (who is supposed to have a terminal illness – but refuses to play along), but not really Max (who is happy to play along anyway, and decides that he’s lost his money to Bernie Madoff).  The stakes could not possibly be any lower: when Penny ultimately admits to Daphne that she was just trying to avoid her, Daphne is hardly, if at all, offended.  Those low stakes were exactly the point: these meta-minded friends were all too willing to put on a Three’s Company-esque charade, and could not slow down their hyper imaginations for just a second to realize that there was no real cause for concern.  There was no point to this half hour, except for pure comic brilliance.