Adam Pally, Zachary Knighton, Stephen Guarino were joined by their Happy Endings writers, Jonathan Groff and David Caspe, today in an Outfest panel discussion that followed the world premiere of their lost kickball episode.
I don't want to say you'll get a kick out of the episode, because that's lame incarnate, but the sports-related proceedings (Bad News Bears meets A League of Their Own) are so damn funny, it's easily one of the show's best offerings to date.
Prior to the screening, I caught up with the guests of honor on the red carpet to get some season three scoop -- and the biggest headline is that Dave and Alex will be a full-blown couple when the third year picks up.
"A lot of times, we try to do what feels like the most real thing but we never did the whole breakup/makeup thing with them because we tried to find out who those characters were individually," executive producer Groff told me. "So many couples reexamine their feelings for one another after an explosive breakup, so Dave and Alex will explore if there's still love between them."
This means Miss. Penny's heart is once again left out in the cold ... but not for long. "Penny will get a boyfriend this season," Groff said. "For all her foibles, Penny's a good friend so she could only go down that road with Dave if there was a clear path. She had to step away from it when she saw Alex might still have feelings for him. Plus, I'm just excited to explore Penny in a real relationship ... and see how she wrecks that," he laughed. Although Groff did reveal that Brian Austin Green's wheelchair bound character from the season two finale is not the lucky lad.
Season three could also see Max back in another relationship (the writers are even open to Grant returning), which Adam Pally is totally game for. "There's something so fun about seeing Max being a bumbling romantic idiot." The new year will also see Brad still unemployed. "We're excited about Brad not at work," Groff said. "We're going to explore him with a more Max-like life," which allows him to get up to more shenanigans in the boy's storylines.
That relationship also plays into a big season three theme: flashbacks. We will learn a lot more about our character's pre-pilot lives through this storytelling device, including how Max and Brad became such good friends.
And while Brad's leading a life of leisure, Jane's still bringing home the bacon -- although where she clocks in every day is going to change. "We're going to explore Jane's work life," Groff says, "But we're shifting her office from what we hinted it was to a place where her alpha tendencies will be better served. You know she's just a tiger at work!"
In terms of guest stars, the writers would love to have Stephen Guarino, Megan Mullally and Michael McKean back as Derrick, Dana Hartz and Big Dave Rose, respectively. And a casting call will soon be going out for Jane and Alex's parents, who will be introduced this season.
"We're going to meet The Kirkovich's," Groff tells me. Immediately I brought up Elisha Cuthbert's desire to have Kiefer Sutherland once again play her TV dad. "That would be a dream," Groff exclaimed. "He'd be so amazing to get, and such a great presence. Plus, with how we're conceiving the character, he would be perfect for it. We're not making an offer or anything, but it would be great for him to do it!" As for Mrs. Kirkovich, Caspe suggests Sharon Stone.
Happy Endings will officially return this fall, but unofficially, Caspe slipped that episode two airs on Halloween, so given its new Tuesday night timeslot, one could deduce that the season premiere will be on October 23.
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- Jonathan Groff