On a night when most sitcoms trot out with the first attempt of the season to make holiday family magic, it becomes apparent that Up All Night did a fair amount of pre-recording their first season with absolutely no certainty about when these episodes would air.   No matter, lack of holiday fare doesn’t mean a miss for a sitcom, and since Jason Lee returned to his role as Kevin, Real Man and Super Dad, we’re calling this one a win anyway.

We almost want to skip over reviewing the plot but that pesky feeling of obligation is not to be ignored.  A water main break at The Ava Show means everyone has a bit too much time on their hands.  For Ava (Maya Rudolph), that means forging some sort of bond with McKenna (Chloe Csengery), who has a knack for besting Ava with a simple acidic, “Whatever.”  Ava being totally enamored of a manly man is a great choice; her personality had been toned down ever so slightly and her awe at the manly things Kevin does for a living was some of the more delightful moments. Trying to use a family day double date to bond with the adolescent t foe almost blows up in Ava’s face, but she quickly regains her strength by mentoring McKenna for a song she must perform at the school talent show.  This gives Ava a chance to continue to her run of perfection in the way of musical hilarity, while giving us the outlandish statements that have become her character staples.  For instance, musical awards are better than Olympic gold medals, “Because I won them for things people care about, music and sales.”  Using an older child that Ava can relate to is genius; her character matures with every moment she spends with the preteen.

Easily the best scene of the episode went to Chris (Will Arnett) and Kevin’s stolen moment of solitude during the family day double date.  The hilarity is a sure thing when dealing with two hands-on dads feeling competitive while grasping on to a strong solidarity that can only be felt by men  who know the proper way to store baby wipes.  For their competitive egos, they engaged in a rasp off that was missing only the best judge for that kind of sporadic contest could hope foe, Senor Raspy Voice himself, Mr. David Caruso.  We can only hope that this moment will breed a thousand more like it where the men are allowed to play off of each other with equal success.

Sure, Reagan’s (Christina Applegate) return to home life brought the spark back the married duo’s back and forth routine, a spark that ignited into the Sock Slapfest of 2011. More importantly it spawned several hilarious moments that were great for a number of different reasons.  Like,

  • The return of that fiendish devil, Ellen as the invisible force behind all the show’s follies, like the water main break.  “Well played Ellen.”
  • “Hashtag Occupy.”  Yes, the movement has become so trivialized that people are just saying it in regular conversation, with the hashtag!
  • It is one hundred percent fact that an infant or child ripped from their regular schedule can and will morph into, “Beelzebaby.”
  • When a man wears a nice shirt and blazer with jeans and Chuck Taylors he is wearing a uniform of a man that has given up on life, resigned himself to his fate and simply put clothes on because of the social mores against nudity.  That or, he was confused about whether he should dress casual of formal and somehow thought that mixing the two is satisfactory.  It is not.  Men of the world stop this charade please.  Wear a suit, it won’t kill you.
  • Scotch at lunch, half a bottle of wine in the goblet with the sun high in the sky, yes, adults without daytime responsibilities will drink.   It’s an American pastime, like baseball or apple pie, only it’s twenty times more Awesome.
  • Who are these people that fold socks?!  Stop shunning basic common sense and roll those socks into a ball you pretentious git.
  • The idea of a baby doll coffin was the most hilariously inappropriate thought of the night.
  • Never ever mess with the Mean Old Curmudgeon on your street.  They always suffered in some war or another and no matter how terrible they are you always come out looking worse.   Probably because you’re choosing to pick on a elderly person, but whatever.

The entire episode just worked, even without the added emotional boost holiday themed episodes can bring.  Keep it up guys.