Happy Endings: First Impressions

HAPPY ENDINGS: 1.01 “The Pilot”
HAPPY ENDINGS: 1.02 “The Quicksand Girlfriend”

Much like the rest of the TV-watching world out there, when I first saw previews for Happy Endings, I wasn’t all that impressed. The jokes felt lame (yet another joke about whether a guy was good in bed?) and another random group of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings, facing relationships in various stages: the married, the single, and the in between. Sure, it starts with a failed wedding…but if you think back to the ’90s, what sitcom didn’t? If anything, the marketing attempts for this show failed because what I thought was a stale sitcom was actually rather funny and refreshing.

I think I’d like to quote a fellow blogger, who reviewed the show over at The TV Addict:

Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, upon further review (Read: the devouring of the show’s first four episodes) HAPPY ENDINGS has two things going for it that make it worth checking out should you be so inclined to stick around post-MODERN FAMILY. First, a clever spin on the traditional sitcom-y wedding that starts at the beginning of the series rather than leave you waiting until the end of it (cough*HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER*cough) and two, a ridiculously likeable cast.

I share this less for the HIMYM slam (personally, I think leading up to some unknown variable can work in a series…if you know when it will end, like Lost, which is a bit of the failure of HIMYM — but that’s a different post entirely). More so, it’s the fact that this show really does have a “ridiculously likable cast.”

The show had a variety of new faces for me, with the exception of one. No, I’m not talking Elizabeth Cuthbert, who I guess I’m supposed to know (TV blogger fail), but instead it’s Eliza Coupe who played the rather abrasive Denise/Jo on the final two seasons of Scrubs. Seeing her now as a super professional, super supportive sister was a rather fun change. I enjoyed her here much more than, say, an FBI agent on Community, but Eliza doesn’t carry the show.

In fact, no one really does. The show is surprisingly successful at giving everyone something to do without feeling like anything has been put in there just to make sure that everyone has something to do (yes, Mr. Sunshine, I’m looking at you). Every character in the show has their own personalities, but they’re not so far apart that you say, “Seriously? Why are they friends with her?” For example, if you’ve identified how Monica and Phoebe ever became friends — let alone lived together and stayed friends afterward — you know the question I’m asking here. Further, just because you’re coworkers doesn’t mean your buddies; if I tried to single out any TV show for that flaw, I’m afraid my post would be abundantly long (and way off-topic).

Sure, we have a sister troupe with friends in the mix. The husband gets brought in because of the sister troupe, and I think the others might be roommates. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch of unnecessary explanation, but certainly not a stretch of imagination.

Add on top of that a fresh flavor of skepticism to what sitcoms do these days. Sure, they pull out the ridiculous stops (a rollerblader steals the bride?), but they balance that with mockery of each other. Every show now makes up words to be fresh, funny, and exciting. But the first reference of “chicksand” not only warrants explanation, but the buddies dislike it until it’s acceptable. The quicktalk and quibbling works since it’s lighthearted, and like any group of friends, they aren’t going to take each other too seriously.

My only complaint is that I wonder if the show is moving too fast. Sure, I don’t want to be caught up with the drama of Ross and Rachel Alex and Dave forever, but having Dave dealing with a girlfriend in the next episode did seem a little fast. The transition seemed too easy. But maybe that’s just me.

I can only hope that the show can keep going in the way that it started. Happy Endings certainly has high potential. Let’s keep it just as strong a few episodes down the road.

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2 thoughts on “Happy Endings: First Impressions

  1. I think i caught the second episode only, but i still agree with your overall review. I do like seeing movie actors go to the small screen as it lends a bit of credibility to toe show. Not that i consider Elizabeth Cuthbert a well versed actress with range, but it is something that draws you in. I was also impressed to see the actress who plaed Denise in scrubs in a different light, though i still expected her to headbutt someone every now and then. I agree that it is moving fast, but all new sitcoms do this because they need to show what they have in the first few episodes. They cant have long draw out arcs because as of now, they dont know if they will get the chance. Ill give it a few more viewings if i run into the show, but so far its not going on the DVR.

  2. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering that a lot of other reviewers who usually match up with my tastes really disliked it. Since we only saw two episodes, I can’t remember any character names, but I particularly enjoyed the gay guy and the desperate single girl. I’ll watch again.

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