Happy Endings

What triangle?

Happy Endings may have ended Season 2 with Dave (Zachary Knighton) having shared a moment with longtime pal Penny (Casey Wilson) and ex-fiancée Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), but there will be nothing ambiguous about any other their statuses when Season 3 premieres Tuesday (9/8c, ABC).

"We never saw Dave and Alex as a couple since the show obviously [started with her leaving him at the altar], so we really like the idea of exploring that relationship now," executive producer Josh Bycel tells TVGuide.com. "We kind of stumbled upon it, but it was actually better that we were able to have a season and a half to help create real, distinct characters for Dave and Alex, so it ... makes them a [more fun] couple together."

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Don't worry about Penny though. She will finally get a steady beau of her own in the form of Nick Zano, who will recur as Pete in at least seven episodes. But does that mean all hope is lost for a Penny-Dave hookup? Bycel and creator David Caspe give us the scoop.

1. Just friends? Like fans, the writers are torn about whether or not Dave and Penny should get together, and have not conclusively decided what to do. "We're not sure if they seem right for each other or if it seems right and organic," Caspe says. "We're not sure it would happen, but we're not sure that it wouldn't. Dave and Alex also seem very right for each other now, weirdly. They complement each other comedically in a really funny way. They're both kind of idiots. Well, all six characters are idiots, really, but Dave and Alex are more so." And if you're anti-Dave-Penny, fear not. Caspe and Bycel assure that the two are not an end game. "I think the thought is, whatever happens at the end of this season, I don't think we're going to see Dave and Penny together," Bycel says. "There may just be a moment of maybe something might happen, but the truth is, we'll always put obstacles in the way."

2. Jealous much? There's also no plan yet for Penny and Pete's romance to end — if it will at all. And the longer it goes on, the more it will irk Max (Adam Pally) and Dave, who will be jealous of Pete. "Penny is not someone who's been in a real relationship, almost ever, so both Max and Dave have a chance to look at Penny in a different light. In Dave's case, it's not necessarily jealousy, but more like awareness," Bycel says. "When she gets into a steady relationship with Pete, who's nice and cool and good-looking, it's like, 'What's happening?'"

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3. Shacking up: In the second episode, Dave and Alex give their realtor (guest star Rachael Harris) a headache with their dillydallying over getting a new apartment, but they do eventually move in together. "They may be moving a little too fast," Caspe says. "It's sort of that 'can't go back' in a relationship thing. They were already at their wedding day, so if they decide to try again, where do they start from? That's why they're on this crash course a little bit. I think they will settle in more going forward."

4. The first Thanksgiving: Speaking of settling in, Dave and Alex will host Thanksgiving at their place, during which Dave will make it his mission to give the group an authentic Native American Thanksgiving experience — and that apparently includes Quahog clams. "There are also pilgrims involved and scalping," Caspe teases. And yes, Dave's Navajo jacket will make a reappearance.

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5. This is the true story... The same Thanksgiving episode will reveal how Max and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) first met — on The Real World: Sacramento. What's that? You missed that season? That's because it never ended up airing. "One of the roommates burned the house down, unfortunately," Bycel says. "But Max has finally gotten a copy of the episode in which all the friends come to visit, so they watch it." Among the intel dropped on that long-lost tape: How Brad and Jane (Eliza Coupe) hooked up for the first time.

6. Odd jobs: Brad will go through a string of short-term jobs, including one in which he and Max hype Bar and Bat Mitzvahs as Boyz II Menorah, and one at a kids' play space. "It's called Chuckles and Hugs and he's the CFO: Chief Fun Officer, and he really likes it," Bycel says. Meanwhile, Jane will get a new gig working for the Car Czar (guest star Rob Corddry) after she impresses him with her salesperson skills while helping Penny buy a new ride in the second episode. "She tries to get in the boys club at work and there's a very funny story where she ends up getting in, while Brad is becoming one of the trophy wives," Caspe says.

7. Meet the parents: Alex and Jane's parents will make their long-awaited debut in the sixth episode, when Jane racks her brain to make her hard-to-please father (Christopher McDonald) laugh at the anniversary party of the family's mattress store. "Mr. Kerkovich is more similar to Jane, and Mrs. Kerkovich (Julie Hagerty) is more similar to Alex," Caspe says. Bycel adds: "They both share a love of Serbian meats." Oh, really?

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8. The Year of Penny Max: Now that Penny is happy and coupled up, the scales of must be tipped to maintain balance. "Max is having the Year of Penny of Max," Caspe says. "He's sort of struggling with finding a guy and not having much luck in the dating world. It's not looking good for him right now."

Happy Endings premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.