RECAP: Henry Winkler Is Up All Night

With just three main characters on Up All Night, there are only so many incarnations of "Ava in the home" or "Reagan on the show" or "Chris at the park." That's all fine and dandy, but it does make it all the more apparent when the well of ideas is running low. In this case, the plot seems to have sprung from the concept of "What if Chris interferes in Reagan's life and gets a job on the show?" Like I said, there's nothing explicitly wrong with that as long as you don't mind knowing where it's going ahead of time. The outcome is wacky, but pleasant. That sentence alone could sum up the charm of Up All Night.

Let's get the fact out of the way that Will Arnett and Henry Winkler did not get to be on the screen at the same time, thus depriving us of the GOB and Bob Loblaw reunion that we secretly wanted. (2013, you guys. Keep holding on.) Lawyer Derek is unable to be on the Ava show, which gives Chris the chance to volunteer his services. Reagan is skeptical, but Ava wants him on the show. His first appearance is...well, it's a disaster. Will Arnett plays frantic very well, so it's very entertaining and cringe-worthy. He gives himself a catchphrase, "Do the math!" (Reagan: "If they could do the math, they wouldn’t be watching tv in the middle of the day.") Not even Gene from Gene-and-Terry can cheerfully lie about how bad it was. Reagan, though is more than happy to lie to her husband. Chris has this constant need for approval from his wife and she knows this. (Other TV couples that suffer from this include Ian and Ellie from Cougar Town and Jane and Brad from Happy Endings.) So she feeds his ego and begs Ava to take care of it. Miraculously, Chris snags a second appearance on the show...and he kind of rocks it.

Before too long, Chris has secured a position as the full-time show lawyer. Why does he need to be there all the time? And who's watching Amy? There's something about the actions of Chris and Ava that smacks of conspiracy, but I don't know if either of them are capable of that. When he's not spending time in hair and make-up, he's constantly up in Reagan's grill, so Reagan calls an old-school gab session in the ladies room. They come to a consensus--Ava will fire Chris if Reagan takes care of the situation with Ava's dad. Also, Missy might be pregnant. Um...what?

Ava's papa, Marty Alexander, has won a Newbery Award, but he's nowhere close to winning the Father of the Year Award. (The Newbery nerd in me got a kick out of his book title--Snow on the Sidewalk and Hot Day for Hopscotch. Nailed it!) He visits Ava in his Winnebago and brings along his new family, Linda and the twins. Marty wants to ooh and ahh over the stars on set instead of spending time with his precious daughter. One of these stars is Sharon Osbourne, playing Ava's British nemesis. The banter between the two of them is just delightful. More Sharon Osbourne, please! When that's all over and Linda and the twins are out of the way, Daddy and Ava reconcile at a taco stand. (I've found that tacos are crucial in maintaining the relationship with my father.) The ending is a little too neat, but I'll go along with it just for kicks.

Back to Chris, Ava takes it upon herself to fire him in favor of Lawyer Derek and his sickness. (She bluffs that he has multiple sclerosis and the best joke of the night might be when Ava says, "It’s kind of a lot of sclerosises.") Reagan confesses to Chris before they go to bed and while the other ending might have been overly sentimental, this feels like a real moment between spouses. He was driving her bananas and they need to keep her work life and his home life separate to the point of being able to stand each other. After a great moment where Chris rubs leftover bronzer on his shirt, Reagan gives him the opportunity to tell her something honest back. He responds with a solemn, “Reagan, you keep getting more and more beautiful every day. And I fall in love with you more every day.” There it is! That's why I like Up All Night. We've only got a couple of episodes left in the season, so enjoy it while you can.