Make a list of cliche sitcom standbys and Happy Endings will probably have all of them.
-Local bar hangout? Check.
-Wacky/unusual jobs? Check.
-On again/off again romance? Check.
-Wacky/unusual personalities? Check.
So Happy Endings is just another cliche sitcom… right? I thought so. I saw the commercials. I even caught the first few minutes if I forgot to switch the channel after Modern Family. But the show just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. I had no idea who these characters were or why they were acting so wacky and I just didn’t care. But one day, about 6 months ago, I was talking to my best friend on the phone about TV (this is normal) and she reprimanded me (also normal) about not watching Happy Endings. She instructed me to get off of the phone and watch the most recent episode online, assuring me that I would roll on the ground laughing if I just gave it a chance. During my first Happy Endings episode, they made an Adrien Brody and a Gilmore Girls joke… and I was hooked.
Most sitcoms make you feel like you might want to join in on the fun. Maybe you wanted to have coffee at Central Perk, or head down to Cheers for happy hour, or grab a bite to eat at Monk’s Cafe. But Happy Endings doesn’t exactly conjure these warm and fuzzy thoughts. Penny (Casey Wilson) is neurotic, self absorbed and has eyebrows that convey more emotion in 5 minutes than some people verbally express in one year. Penny is the inner monster that most women try to suppress. Elisha Cuthbert plays the dumb blonde Alex… and that’s about it. Dave (Zachary Knighton) is the middle man always wearing a V neck with no outstanding qualities or real quirks, but holds the “quirky job” of owning an always-themed food truck. Max is a role that is played to perfection by Adam Pally in his portrayal of a gay man without the slapstick flamboyant qualities that all other TV gays seem to possess. He’s the stoner of the group… without being a stoner. He has a paunchy belly, a 80’s limo, a whiplash speed of talking and zero ambition. The real gems of the show are Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans Jr. as Jane and Brad, the most unique married relationship on TV. She stress cleans, he tries to hang out with black guys, they both refer to normal household objects with ridiculous nick names and have an outrageous sex life. They can’t really be considered as two separate characters, because their most ridiculous antics are more adorable and understandable when they’re together. Overall, these characters aren’t approachable. You don’t feel a desire to go hang out with them because they’re just too… weird. But this is exactly why I fell in love with this show, because I would never do half of the things that these wacky characters do.
If you like Modern Family for that wacky family suburban wholesome-ness then you’ll like Happy Endings for the exact opposite reasons. It’s urban, it’s young and a fresh take on what it’s like to be 30… in a bizarre way. Also note that if you like slow paced comedy, you won’t like this show. Jokes flash by and you might miss a few (I know I do). It wasn’t until the second viewing that I understood the “Hold your horses” line! At the same time, they’re not really jokes, because they’re so many of them. Watching Happy Endings is like watching a dizzying stream of funny.
“This rat poisin?” “You’ve been eating that?” “Just once… I thought it was my pirate cereal.” “They do look alarmingly similar.”
“Woah Max. Hold your horses!” “Why?” “Because there’s syrup all over the floor. And those look nice.” “Thanks, Grant won them for meat Six Flags.”
“I think I know your wake up from a dream gasps by now!”