People, “Up All Night” has definitely found a groove. When it first joined NBC’s Thursday night lineup, I was a little cranky about it because it came at the expense of “Community.”  And although I still miss “Community” something fierce, I’ve stopped expecting “Up All Night” to fill that show’s ridiculously big clown shoes, and just focus on its solid writing, cute-as-hell baby and charismatic cast.  And then of course there’s Will Arnett. I’ve gone back and forth on this issue, but I think I’ve finally made a decision: he’s sexier than Joel McHale. There, I’ve said it. It’s official. Is he sexier than Alison Brie? Uh, I may need to mull that one over a little longer.  But hey, let’s all question my sexuality some other day.  On to the recap!

“Travel Day” is exactly what it sounds like – an episode about Chris and Reagan trying to take their first big trip with Amy. When Ava is scheduled to use her new Joey Tribbiani online ordination to officiate the out-of-town wedding of her former band mate, Amanda (Alanis Morissette, not looking a day over whatever age she was in 1996), Chris and Reagan want to attend but balk at the idea of putting Amy on a plane. But all it takes is a “yeah, you can’t do this” from annoying neighbors Gene and Terry to convince the Brinkleys that they should at least give it a shot. They think it will be a breeze because Amy is so awesome and Chris is an airline Platinum Club member, but come on. Neither babies nor airports are ever easy to handle.  

Although the standard airport hassles –long security lines, dead-eyed ticket agents, dead-eyed TSA workers, dead-eyed passengers – all rear their ugly heads, these typical experiences aren’t just trotted out for some easy jokes. The inconveniences and aggravations associated with the airport are used to bring to light a problem that Reagan has obviously been keeping silent about for a while: she feels like Chris doesn’t “have her back” enough.  When the Brinkleys earn a trip to the pat-down room due to Reagan's relentless griping to several airport employees and absent-minded use of the phrase “ticking time bomb," Chris apologizes to said employees and chides Reagan for being too controlling – a move that positively incenses her. In a very honest moment, Reagan blurts out that she always sticks up for Chris in harrowing situations, even when he’s wrong, and she’s hurt that he can’t do the same for her. So, as Reagan tries to find her seat on the plane (Platinum Club status couldn’t get them seats together) among a sea of passengers visibly annoyed with the gear and crying baby in her arms, Chris jumps on his white horse and announces that he needs everyone to be patient with his wife and baby because this is their first trip. (And he buys their understanding with a round of beers and Bloody Marys.) Part of me thinks this is a very sweet thing to do, but another part of me thinks that, if I were a passenger on that plane, that speech would have seriously pissed me off. Oh yay, another pair of parents who think that everyone should just sit quietly and smile while they force their crying, snotting devil child on the world! Well, I guess my mood would depend on who was delivering the message. I suppose if it was Will Arnett, I would just sit quietly and smile, as DILFY fantasies of joining the mile-high club ran through my brain.

While Chris and Reagan’s relationship is tested by the travel, it’s the destination that nearly does in Ava and Kevin’s. The wedding atmosphere naturally brings up the topic of their own potential wedding, to which Kevin reacts like a frightened 10-year-old. Even though Ava never really cared about walking down the aisle, Kevin’s declaration that he never never never ever never ever never never ever wants to get hitched again throws her for a loop, and makes her doubt their future. They end up having a very mature discussion (this is becoming a habit with Ava – imagine!) about “never saying never” to possibilities and decide to focus on the here and now, where they’re both happy.

But wait – there’s one more relationship breakthrough! Apparently, Ava and Amanda’s friendship had been strained due to some controversy over writing credits for their hit “Back It Up (Beep Beep).” But the happy occasion provides a great backdrop for the two to set aside their differences and perform the song one more time.  And of course they do the uncensored version, which would never never never ever never ever never never ever make it to the radio. About 80% of the song has to be bleeped. It’s fabulous. The Lennon/McCartney (or is it the Simon and Garfunkel?) of hip-hop is back! 

Grade: A-

Random Thoughts:

• I’ve seen Will Arnett do his Michael Keaton impression before and I’ve always found it creepily spot-on. I’m glad he was able to work it into this show by making it yet another example of things Chris and only Chris thinks are awesome.

• Not only did Alanis look great, but she sounded fantastic. I hope they bring her back for another inappropriate rap song or two in the future.  

• Best Quotes:
Kevin: “Sorry! I don't have anything dramatic to say…just thought the door had one of those hydraulic thingies.”

Reagan: “She’s a terrorist attacking her diaper with poo.”