Alex: You loved who?
Josh: The girls of Madam Camae's Filipino Palace...
Alex: You've been spending our rent money on Filipino hookers?
Josh: They're not hookers, they're massage therapists.
Mover #2: Yeah, she'll massage your cock for money.
Mover #1: There's a word for that, I think it's hooker.
Josh: YOU'RE A HOOKER!
Massages are good fodder for comedy because the near-intimate touching is uncomfortable or can create an uncomfortable situation.
However, sometimes this "uncomfortable situation" is exactly what the customer is looking for. Beyond that, in fact, the customer is paying for sexual acts under the guise of getting a massage. When this happens, the customer will almost always be male, and the masseuse will almost always be an Asian female.
Truth in Television; many massage parlors, especially Asian massage parlors, have been discovered to be fronts for prostitution or offer prostitution services on the side. Sadly, human trafficking tends to be involved. This is why "massage parlor" is sometimes used as a euphemism for a brothel.
The best way for a citizen who really needs a massage to get one without the sex getting in the way, by the way, is to look for a registered massage therapist rather than some random parlor. If you just go to some random place, it's probably going to be one of these; they're surprisingly common. If you do wander in to the wrong type accidentally, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with just saying, "No, thank you" to whatever is on offer.
A recent variant in fiction has no "happy ending" offer after a massage, but rather the massage itself has that effect. The masseuse, with or without realizing it, is actually so incredibly skilled that (s)he can bring a client unbelievable pleasure with a massage that's never shown to involve anything remotely sexual.
Not to be confused with a hero who gets a massage as a reward for his hard work of saving the day. Also contrast Miserable Massage, where the massage is anything but pleasurable.
- A now-banned commercial for the NFL has a guy getting a massage from an attractive-looking nurse and appearing to make this request (she objects, insisting she'd be fired if she did). Eventually, she gives in and turns the television in the room on to football (what he had actually wanted).
- In Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar, main character Kenshi is taught the art of massage by Mexiah. Afterward, anytime he receives a signal he becomes a "massage machine" who makes the women massage feel so much pleasure that they can be trapped on the edge of orgasm for days.
- In Softenni, rival team manager Leo is descended from a family that specializes in massage, and he's known to be a remarkable talent that comes around once every hundred years or so, able to bring his clients to severe climax in a matter of a few minutes just by rubbing their backs and shoulders. Comically Missing the Point, Leo insists he's in need of further training because anytime he gives one of the girls a massage she winds up even more exhausted when he's finished.
- In MM!, Mamiya Yumi specializes in giving massages that make the client or, more often, victim feel more than a little too good. She doesn't just specialize in this though, she has a deep (and later demonstrably perverse) love of doing this to cute girls, whether the girls in question want it or not.
- The titular character from Dark Reign: Mister Negative is a crimelord, who among many other criminal businesses owns a brothel masked as a massage parlor. In one scene inside it we see a guest that just asks for "happy ending" - seconds later both he and girl are killed by a supervillain working for The Hood, who had just declared a gang war on Negative.
- A fully consensual example happened in the She-Hulk graphic novel, where Jen gets one from her current boyfriend Wyatt Wingfoot at the end. It was only implied that a "happy ending" would occur; if it did, given the Hell they both went through during the story, it might have also counted as Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex.
- Ron White has a skit where he talks about how an upscale hotel's services are top-notch even for his dog. The concierge for dogs even offers a relaxing massage for his animal, to which Ron White says he replied "he's going to want a happy ending."
- Gabriel Iglesias encountered one of these.
Lady: Hey, you! You, come inside!
Gabriel: No, no thanks—
Lady: No, really, you come inside!
Gabriel: [suddenly interested] Felipe, you hear that?
Felipe: Fool, I'm inside!
- Daniel Tosh has turned these into something of a running gag; Japanese chiropractors, little old ladies, "pleasure coaches," chickens...
- Rodney Carrington on massages:
I dont understand the whole concept of a massage. You get a woman to rub all over every single part of your body except the one part you really want rubbed on. And it's not like she didn't know what part I was talking about. I kept pointing at it and clearing my throat.
- Craig Ferguson has a bit on this in one of his standup routines. He says that every time a man goes to get a massage, he knows it's not going to be a Happy Ending Massage... but in the back of his head, he always thinks it might turn into one. He logically knows it won't. But it miiiiiight.
- Bill Engvall has a bit where his wife sends him to a massage parlor to help relieve him of stress. His struggle to maintain his Seduction-Proof Marriage when greeted by the Ms. Fanservice masseuse only leaves him more stressed.
- The Life and Times of a Winning Pony: Rarity inadvertently sets up one of these for Cloud Kicker when arranging a spa trip for her as an apology for tricking her into foalsitting the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Rarity had no clue she had set up this kind of massage until Cloud Kicker told her. For the record, the twins only agreed to it because it was Rarity their most loyal, long-term customer (who had saved the world three times, to boot) asking.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager parody "The Voyorgy Conspiracy", this is one of the routine tasks of the Emergency Medical Hologram, with a spoof of the Doc/Janeway massage scene in "Scientific Method".
- Sisterhood: Hisao regularly gives Hanako massages/backrubs to help her relax whenever she feels tense. Hanako notes a few of these massages devolved into something more. After their date to the arcade center, Hisao and Hanako take this one Up to Eleven.
- At the end of Kara of Rokyn, Kara gets one of her boyfriend, which leads to a marriage proposal.
- During the course Snape's Worst Memory, Lily wants to do it to Severus and won't take no for an answer.
- The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Monkey On Your Smurf" plays with this idea when Papa Smurf complains about the massage Polaris Psyche is giving him and wishes he could have had one with Smurfette as the masseuse.
- Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox: The story's twenty-first Gaiden chapter gives an example of the "massage itself having the effect" variant, when Mabui's employee Okyo gives Sumire, a married mother of two, a foot massage during the overall massage therapy session. Because her feet are sensitive, Sumire feels the effect much more strongly when Okyo starts applying the spa's signature Pressure Point technique, and she winds up experiencing a quiet orgasm (for which she tips Okyo generously afterward).
- Us and Them: The side-story "D-List Celebrities" has Sephiroth coming home from work, looking forward to a massage from his wife, Aeris, and the subsequent happy ending. Since he spent the day doing paperwork, instead of the usual merc work, she's not inclined to oblige him with the massage or the happy ending, much to his chagrin.
- The Night Stalker (1972). Kolchak is investigating the murders of several women, including a masseuse/prostitute. He goes the massage parlor to interview one of the girls and ends up being arrested when the woman (actually an undercover vice cop) thinks he's asking for one of these.
- In Full Frontal, Gus (played by David Duchovny) asks for a happy ending to his massage — and wonders if he can wear a plastic bag on his head while doing it. The masseuse refuses but blames herself later when he's found asphyxiated in his room. And this is all played for laughs.
- Isaac in Final Destination 5 tries to get one of these when he goes to an Asian massage parlor in town, using a ticket he stole from the desk of a deceased colleague, and despite the fact that the receptionist points out that their place isn't a brothel.
- In War, Inc., Yonica heavily implies that she has given these before.
- "Couples' Retreat" includes a scene where a bickering couple gets massages. The husband is aroused by his female masseuse and hints to her that he wants her to finish the job. She tells him, "I'm sorry, but THAT will not have a happy ending."
- In 2 Days in the Valley, Vice Officers Strayer and Taylor are busting "happy ending" massage parlors. But Taylor doesn't have the heart to subject the nice and clearly uncomfortable Asian girl doing his latest massage to a police raid, even though she grips his member and asks if he wants more.
- In Jackass Number Two, in the "Bad Grandpa'' prank, Irving Zissman's "grandson" asks if he gets massages with happy endings. He confirms this is the case.
- Attempted and failed in a gender-inverted example in Loose Screws as Brad Lovett tries to pose as an Asian masseuse in order to give Mona Lott an arousing massage, but instead gives her shoulder pain.
- Played for Laughs and subverted on Four Sisters And A Wedding. The Bayags have a chain of male-only spas that promise "happy endings" to their customers; the sisters suspect that it's a cover for, if not prostitution, another illicit activity. Teddie goes to investigate; it goes awry when she calls the cops on a masseuse, mistaking the activity for something sexual it turns out to be completely wholesome; "happy ending" means "happy thoughts".
- A man goes to a massage parlor and asks masseuse about if it's true you can pay for a sexual version there. The masseuse confirms it, and once they've haggled on the price, takes the money, leaves the room... and comes back five minutes later asking if he's done masturbating.
- Red Grant's masseuse in From Russia with Love doesn't go out of her way to do this with her clients, per se, but... it apparently turns out that way a lot. Grant stands out in that (among other things) he doesn't react at all.
- At one point in A Dirty Job, the main character had too much "sexual energy". Even though he ended up at a massage parlour, he didn't ask for a "happy ending" but instead later went to an "official" hooker. This led to trouble, as the girl he chose turned out to be a crazy incarnation of Death. Even the cop who saved him said that he should have just chosen the happy ending.
- In Irvine Welsh' Porno, this is the way college student Nikki Fuller-Smith makes good money: she knows she's not great at the job, but she's a much more conventional beauty than her colleagues and some customers ask for her based on looks alone. Arguably, it gets worse.
- Played with in a very disturbing way in Tennessee Williams' short story "Desire and the Black Masseur": the client finds himself getting a sexual charge from when the masseur hits him too hard. It escalates to broken bones and eventually cannibalism.
- Mass murderer Kevin Olmstead in Alex Cross novel Cross My Heart targets parlors that offer these.
- Inverted in the German novel Gottes Bodenpersonal - eine unwahrscheinliche Liebesgeschichte: The protagonist has to promise his lover that it will not be one of those to get him to accept a massage.They are emotionally very close, but sex is a problem.
- In The Dresden Files, Gentleman John Marcone, the crime boss of Chicago, owns a fitness center/massage parlor that's blatantly a front for a brothel. He also gives Harry a complimentary Platinum Membership and run of the facility, for two reasons. One, he's hoping to keep Harry Distracted by the Sexy, and two, he's very well acquainted with Harry's reputation as a Person of Mass Destruction and figures that since Harry's too powerful to be stopped if he decides to break into any of Marcone's properties, it's much cheaper to simply give him free access instead of having Harry blast his way through. Harry, being a Screw the Money, I Have Rules! person, never takes advantage of the former benefit.
- In the second Bardic Voices novel, as the church starts grabbing more and more control of the city that most of the book takes place in, they impose more and more religiously based rules on the populace, including shutting down all the brothels. However, that just drives them all underground, with some of them being covered as massage parlors where one can pay extra for a "special massage".
- Two and a Half Men. Charlie turned Alan's chiropractic office into a place for these after filling in for one day.
- In an episode of Sex and the City, Samantha goes to a masseur precisely because he's supposed to do this. When he doesn't, she takes matters into her own hands (literally!), eventually leading to the man being fired.
- Spike's Manswers gives advice on how to get such a massage. (They do, however, add a disclaimer that this could be prosecuted as prostitution depending on where you live.)
- The Show Within a Show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had an ad for an (Asian, female) psychological therapist with the tagline "Doesn't everyone deserve a happy ending?"
- Brenda from Six Feet Under was a shiatsu masseuse, and one of her male customers got a Raging Stiffie during the massage. She gave him a happy ending out of curiosity.
- Inversely, she threw out a pushy customer who came to the appointment expecting a "happy ending."
- Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole's client in "Rumpole and the Judge's Elbow" was accused of running an establishment that provides these. One of the other main characters (Mr. Justice Sir Guthrie Featherstone, a stiff-necked, somewhat conservative typenote ) thinks that he has been going to that parlour for actual massages, not realizing what was going on. He finds himself presiding over Rumpole's client's trial, and of course recusing himself would be incredibly embarrassing (effectively admitting that he had attended a house of ill repute if the accused were convicted), so he spends much of the trial siding with the defense, to Rumpole's delight and confusion. As it turns out, he was going to a totally legitimate parlour with an almost-identical name; good for him, as the accused was found guilty.
- Entourage does this a few times, with the characters fully aware of the expected result, referring to it as a "rub and tug"
- There's an episode of Malcolm in the Middle that references this.
- Dr. Kelso from Scrubs took Turk to one of these once. Turk got a crick in his neck and had to watch Dr. Kelso receive his Happy Ending. YIKES.
- Once? It is implied that he's getting them on a regular basis off camera.
"My name is Bob Kelso and I like whores."
- Once? It is implied that he's getting them on a regular basis off camera.
- The League of Gentlemen featured a man who started a massage parlor (with a [supposedly] hot blonde woman as a front to improve business) and learned that all of his customers expected these. Still, a customer is a customer...
- Phoebe from Friends worked in a real massage parlour. Her idiot brother thought it was the other kind. Awkwardness ensues. In a later episode, she mentions that the manager fires people who do this sort of thing with clients, which lands Phoebe in hot water when she develops a crush on a client and starts making out with him while on the clock.
- They tried to bust one of these in Reno 911!. The Masseuse gave him a very painful and entirely non-sexual massage, and he determined that this place is not a Happy Ending Massage. After he left, we find out that it is.
- Twelve-year-old Shane on Weeds gets in trouble at school for claiming that his uncle Andy bought him a Happy Ending at an Asian massage parlor. He is, in fact, being truthful.
- Carlos accidentally gives one of these while working as a masseur (his job while he was blind) on Desperate Housewives.
- In the Supernatural episode "Red Sky At Morning", Dean mentions having a Happy Ending Massage because, in his opinion, the supernatural object that he and Sam are looking for, a Hand of Glorynote , sounds like a euphemism for one.
- In one episode of Las Vegas, the staff struggle to find a tactful way to explain to the Montecito spa's new masseur that he is not supposed to be providing Happy Endings. Also, Sam(antha) Marquez goes to "investigate", but is miffed when nothing happens. It turns out the guy has some sort of superstition about only doing it to people with "positive spiritual energy".
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will takes Uncle Phil to a massage parlour so he can get relief for a back injury, unaware of the "special extras" they offer. The police break in just as the masseuses are about to give them their (well, not so much Uncle Phil's) Happy Ending.
- In an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry accepts a happy ending from a masseuse without knowing what that means.
- In the short-lived series In Case of Emergency Kelly Hu's character works at one of these parlors. Naturally, she puts on the Asian Hooker Stereotype for the clients. When she has a phone conversation in front of a client and talks normally, he asks what happened to her accent, and she puts on the accent again and replies "It go in and out, love."
- Barney Miller:
- In one episode Fish goes to a massage parlor which had just recently been busted for prostitution. His wife is justifiably worried, but he really did just go for a massage.
- In another episode, the detectives stake out a place suspected of doing this. All of them fail to find evidence until Wentworth goes twice and succeeds, discovering a male prostitute is offering them.
- On of George's coworkers on Seinfeld was on his way to get a massage. George winks at him in front of his wife, causing her to suspect this trope. In reality, George had grapefruit pulp in his eye and winked accidentally.
- Horribly subverted in 1000 Ways to Die. An American tourist in Thailand goes to a massage parlor to get one of these... and ends up stung to death by a bunch of Asian Hornets.
- The premise of Lifetime Movie of the Week-turned-series The Client List starring Jennifer Love Hewitt revolves around the protagonist specializing in this for money to take care of her child. Complications ensue.
- In the Graceland episode "Happy Endings", the criminals who stole Agent Badillo's car are using it to rob a Happy Ending Massage Parlor because employees and patrons of an illegal business are both likely to have cash and unlikely to call the police.
- One of the cases on the half-hour courtroom drama show Superior Court had police taking over a massage parlour and busting guys asking for "extra service." The guy on trial in the case was a D.A. and produced a witness who was mistakenly busted when he went into the place looking for a legitimate massage. The witness (played by comic actor Phil Leeds) tells his story so amusingly that the judge himself is Corpsing during the guy's testimony.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has an instance of a billionaire defense contractor receiving his "happy endings" from underage girls. Naturally, The Squad hammers him with everything they've got.
- On My Name Is Earl, Earl is trying to cross the man he and his ex-wife accidentally kidnapped in an earlier episode off his List of Transgressions. He decided that, since he caused the man a lot of stress, Earl would book him a massage with "Camden's only legal masseuse." She's a bit worried because many guys in Camden (including, apparently, Randy) would attempt to invoke this trope. Of course, they find that Josh has died in an unfortunate Murphy's Bed incident, and (as Earl puts it) "there was no one who could massage the stiffness out of him now."
- Played With once on NCIS: Los Angeles when Sam tracks down a shady businessman at a massage parlor. He silently takes over for the masseuse, and then sticks his gun into the back of the businessman's neck and promises a very un-happy ending if he doesn't start talking.
- The Playboy massage video series which consists of The Art of Sensual Massage, Euromassage, Oriental Massage and Complete Massage teach the viewer how to give these kinds of massages. Nude male and female models, including Playboy Playmates Teri Weigel (Miss April 1986), Rebecca Armstrong (Miss September 1986) and Pia Reyes (Miss November 1988) and demonstrate these massage techniques on each other while a narrator describes the execution of their intimate physical contact.
- Schitt's Creek: The Series Finale puns on the idea that the characters are all getting some form of happy ending with one of the main characters getting a massage happy ending. On their wedding, Patrick gifts David with a massage, and David is surprised and blissed out that it includes that kind of happy ending. Patrick is mortified, as he didn't intend that to be part of the gift and only left the masseur an envelop of cash and instructions to take very good care of David. Thankfully, David and Patrick are a solid couple and talk it out, and David even tells Patrick that he is his "happy ending" during their vows.
- In Laharl's cameo in the Disgaea: Hour of Darkness spinoff, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, Etna seems to reference this when she says Laharl is going to massage her SO hard when they get home or she might teach him some new tricks. It doesn't help that Laharl is a Prinny in the cameo.
- She makes a Prinny massage her in the Drama CD as well. If you don't know what is going on it sounds just like what you would think it would sound like.
- In each of the Game Boy Color remakes of Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest II, the hero has an opportunity to get a "puff puff massage" from a flirtatious young woman.
- Hilariously played for laughs in VIII: You finally find out what a "Puff Puff" is supposed to represent (Marshmallow Hell) AND what it actually is (two slimes and a con woman suckering the hell out of your heroes) AND you can get Jessica to grudgingly try one, which she's not amused at because she THOUGHT THAT THE "PUFF PUFF" SKILL SHE LEARNED AND USED ON LECHER MONSTERS REALLY WAS ABOUT FLASHING HER BOOBS LIKE THOSE HARLOT SUCCUBI]
- Saints Row 2 game has an activity where the player has to save their favorite massage parlor from going out of business. How do they do this? By delivering truckloads of sex workers to the place that the Boss rescues from abusive pimps working for the rival gangs.
- Sakura MMO has Kotone offered a "special massage" by her darkling maid as soon as she wakes up as Viola in Asaph.
- Wei from Sleeping Dogs is heavily implied to get these whenever he visits certain massage parlors dotted across the map. With enough leveling, he even gets a "special bonus" every time he buys one. Played for Laughs in a later conversation, in which a character states that he wants to get a groin massage, which creeps Wei out. The person then clarifies that he means a real one, telling Wei to get his mind out of the gutter.
- Penny Arcade: The Jubilant Culmination references this.
- Katharin's "Services" in TwoKinds.
- Referenced in Spinnerette: Katt's massages aren't this but she is offended by people thinking about it.
- This◊ little strip about common porn scenarios vs. real life. If you look on the back of the menu of massage options in the porn scenario, the customer can request a twist ending and even an epilogue! In the "real life" scenario, there are no such options available, and rather than being performed by an attractive woman, it's being performed by a big, burly man.
- Subverted in Concession, on Matt's first day at his new job as a physical therapist a client asked if he was getting a "happy ending", that was when he went for the acupuncture needles.
- Referenced in Lilly Singh's video "The Awkward Massage", recounting an incident when she wandered into a random parlor and received very suspect treatment from her masseuse.
Lilly: At this point, I've got my fingers crossed that this is a Romeo & Juliet-type massage because I ain't hoping for no happy ending!
- One episode of Teen Titans ends with Raven getting one from a bunch of aliens. Three-inch tall Hive Mind aliens. One of the more pleasant endings, but no "happy ending". Not that it didn't sound like it...
- Parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch where the customer tries to decline the "happy ending" and ends up being chased all over town by his overenthusiastic masseuse. Even snapping an officer's neck. It turns out the "happy ending" was actually a free egg roll.
- Posey from Mission Hill becomes a massage therapist; all her customers become angry on finding out that she's not a prostitute, and a local pimp even comes after her for infringing on his territory. It turns out that when she had her fliers printed up, the publisher accidentally put "Healing Release" instead of "Healing Relief".
- Sealab 2021: when the other Debbie went on vacation, she insisted on getting one of these.
- In King of the Hill, Dale's wife cheats on him with John Redcorn, all under the guise of a massage treatment to help with her headaches. It is later revealed that John really does have a legitimate massage office, but it's strongly implied that his therapy works as a sort of foreplay.
- This quote from Otto the bus driver on The Simpsons: "Man. I guess this story had a happy ending after all. Just like my last massage."