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'Undateable' recap: Highway to the friend zone

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Three’s a Crowd” | Aired June 5, 2014

The friend zone. It’s that dreaded point on the line of friendship when the hope of something a little more intimate turns into a counseling session on why the smoking-hot girl from your buddy’s free weekend of online dating never responded to his wink? You don’t want to hurt his feelings by saying that this Victoria’s Secret model would never, ever, date someone like him, because he doesn’t have abs of steel or a house in the Hamptons, so you bake him is favorite cookies from scratch and tell him it was her loss.

Everyone’s been there right? RIGHT?

Justin is definitely on the outskirts of the friend zone with Nicki. As the BFFs settle in for a little Mad Men, Danny warns them that single guys can’t be friends with single girls. This annoys Nicki. Clearly, she and Justin do not fall into this category. They can totally be friends and nothing more. She snuggles up to Justin, entranced by Don Draper’s charisma. Justin smells her hair. Classic friend-zone move.

Back at the bar, Justin berates Danny for killing his mojo the night before. Danny instructs his band of dorks that they must arm themselves with a secret weapon to keep from falling into the “single friends” trap. Danny prefers putting the girl on the back of his motorcycle and leans back until she grips his hips. This later leads to horizontal positions. The fact that his hair looks amazing whipping in the wind is an added bonus.

Justin claims to have an equally impressive, surefire way to make the ladies bend to his will. None can resist the ol’ “cover the eyes from behind” move. He tops that off with the time-honored, “You have an eyelash. Make a wish!” What if there isn’t an eyelash, you ask? No problem. Simply pluck one of your own before going in for the kill.

Of course, this smooth maneuver shouldn’t be performed in a bar when you’ve been handling limes. Fortunately, Nicki’s sight returned almost instantaneously, just in time for Justin to cryptically reveal that he has feelings for someone. Newsflash! So does Nicki! It’s too bad that her crush is on Danny.

Justin has officially become the mayor of Nicki’s friend zone.

He angrily confronts Danny, but is quickly shut down by Leslie. Danny is just a fling. No one would ever want a REAL relationship with him. Danny reluctantly agrees and instructs Baby Bird to tell Nicki how he really feels. He needs to keep his hands away from her face and tell her with words. Words that form sentences.

The next day, Nicki flirts with Danny by giving him a neck massage. Justin walks out of his office and is livid at this intimate display of touching. Danny does a good job of smoothing things over, but it’s all for nothing when Nicki pokes her head into the office asking Danny for a ride home on his motorcycle — just like the first night they met.

Justin’s beloved Nicki has hip-gripped his mentor. This is not OK.

Danny tosses Justin an imaginary apology. He throws it to the ground and stomps on it like Robert De Niro in Goodfellas.

Screen shot 2014-06-05 at 8.21.00 PMBrett convinces Danny that he needs to help Justin win the girl and get out of the friend zone. Danny goes to the bar and makes Justin tell him everything he likes about Nicki, pushing him to come up with something better than “she’s an awesome waitress.”

Justin: “I’d tell her she’s the first person I want to see when I wake up and the last person I want to talk to before I go to bed. And I would admit that I stole that from When Harry Met Sally. And I’ve been scared to tell her this whole time, because I didn’t know if I could take it if she said no.”

Nicki comes out of Justin’s office, having heard every word, and kisses him passionately. He’s her lobster.

The second story arc isn’t as eventful. Apparently Leslie is dead to Shelly because she mentioned that everything associated with Detroit sucks. The guys are surprised that Leslie didn’t know Shelly’s deep affection for his hometown, since every article of clothing he owns has “Detroit” plastered on it. Brett tells her the best way to win him back is by taking him to a Lions game and learning the lyrics to “Night Moves,” which is his favorite song.

Leslie plays the game and Shelly forgives her. She begins a sweet rendition of “Night Moves,” but is suddenly interrupted by an a cappella-singing Justin and his new aca-partner in crime, Nicki.

I will be honest and admit that I am still in the friend zone with this show, having not yet made the decision to fall in love completely. But I do know that when Brent Morin sings, I see everything in a new perspective, and I find myself smiling like a smitten schoolgirl. I’d say that right now, I’m smelling Undateable‘s hair.

Undateable Quotables

Justin: I was not in the friend zone with Heather Flanders in college, OK? She thought I was gay.
Shelly: World’s worst brag.

*

Justin: Did your hair flip in the wind?
Danny: It was a good hair day.
Justin: Did she grip your hips?
Brett: DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF, MATE!
Justin: I HAVE TO KNOW!
Danny: She gripped my hips.

*

Justin: Brett, make me a stiff drink.
Brett: Straight vodka. Coming up.
Justin: A stiff drink I like.
Brett: Lemon drop. Coming up.

Undateable, rated TV-14, airs Thursdays at 9/8 C on NBC.

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