Up All Night has had the ability to turn classic sitcom fare into something clever without ever going over the top. It’s something I’ve said before and will continue saying until this overlooked freshman comedy gets the praise it deserves. After moving to Thursday nights, the Will Arnett and Christina Applegate parent comedy still is lacking in reviews, but that doesn’t stop it from churning out highly entertaining episodes.
“Day After Valentine’s Day” presents two very different special evenings. First Maya Rudolph’s Ava and returning guest star Jason Lee’s Kevin get in a dramatic fight because she is too needy and he just wants to talk about his awful day at work. This leads to them heading to Chris and Reagan’s house in the midst of a fight where the parents are having a very unromantic meal of Chinese take-out.
It’s the perfect set-up for what the show does so well. Continuing the trend of blurring/bleeping out obscenities, Ava yells at Kevin, “Do I just need to f*ck myself?!” Usually they save this gimmick until later in an episode, so it refreshingly caught me off-guard to see it so early on. What was even more hilarious was Chris’ indecent exposure a few scenes later.
Seeing the juxtaposition of the two very different relationships weave back and forth proves that this show just isn’t for people who have children. Anyone who’s had the flame flicker in their long relationship can relate to the Brinkleys’ dilemma and understand how important it is to prove that there is still romance involved. On the flip side, using Ava and Kevin to showcase two very different personalities trying to coexist as a couple is something we all can empathize with. What is also great about this is that this isn’t the first episode their differences has caused a rift, which goes to show that Up All Night doesn’t just throw random storylines into the mix just to have conflict for a themed episode.
The show is slowly becoming an ensemble show that showcases all aspects of relationships without claiming to be a relationship show. Perhaps that’s why it works so well. Unlike the failed Perfect Couples, Traffic Light and Mad Love, this show started as a look into what it’s like to have a baby and naturally morphed into a very pleasing display of the multiple stages of relationships. The only thing that this episode lacked was the inclusion of Missy. She would have brought a fun twist to show someone who was casually dating. Even though I absolutely love how ridiculous Missy is, I understand that this episode needed to focus on Chris/Reagan and Ava/Kevin’s relationships.