“Happy Endings” Review- A Guaranteed Smile

Written by Guest February 05, 2012

The End of the “Friends” Curse

The least original concept for a comedy has to be “a group of twenty-somethings in the city dealing with work and love.” It’s a safe concept but it doesn’t frequently allow for much creativity from the writers (such as the recent premier of “Are You There Chelsea“). “Happy Endings” somehow sticks to this premise while still being wildly entertaining due to the likability of characters and energy of the jokes. And no, it is not a show about a massage parlour.

“Happy Endings” premiered in April 2011 on ABC with a quick burn-off season that comprised of airing 2-episodes a night just to fulfill contract obligations and fill space after “Modern Family”. It got strong enough ratings to barely get a second season but has since become one of the highest rated shows on Wednesday nights.The initial premise of the series follows Alex (Elisha Cuthbert, “24”) after she leaves Dave (Zachary Knighton, “FlashForward”) at the altar on their wedding day. This was never funny. The show quickly shifts focus to them interacting with their four friends. A show about six people hanging out in the city after one runs out on a wedding may be the exact premise of “Friends” (a show I love to death), but somehow it is just as great, if not better than the classic comedy was in its early years.

"Friends" never had this much diversity in it's entire run.

A Well Represented Gay Man? Say It Isn’t So!

The standout character of the show has to be Max played by Adam Pally. He is gay, but unlike characters on “Modern Family” or “Glee”, he is not defined by that one aspect of his life. Being the only non-stereotypically gay man on television provides a bulk of jokes that has never been tapped by other comedies who “play it safe” by being explicit. Not only is the writing strong with him, but the other characters like the hopeless-romantic Penny (Casey Wilson, “SNL”) and dynamic power-couple Jane and Brad (Eliza Coupe, “Scrubs” and Damon Wayans Jr., “New Girl“) are strong on their own. Any combination of the six characters has proven to work fantastically, and after a season and a half it still feels fresh.

For being a relatively unproven show, “Happy Endings” has proven itself well in handling guest stars such as Megan Mullally, Ken Marino and Damon Wayans. The way the regular cast interacts with others feels organic and never forced. Not every episode is a hit however especially in its first season. The show is usually at its worst when they go back to the issue in the pilot episode of Alex leaving Dave at their wedding. The further they distance themselves from that and the closer they get to just being a “hanging out” comedy the better it is.

“Happy Endings” may not be the replacement “Community” you are looking for in these dark times but it is something worth watching. It is definitely the best show of ABC’s Wednesday comedy block. It is worth sticking around after “Modern Family” to watch. “Happy Endings” more often than not, provides quick, light humour with interesting characters and some of the most subtly great sexual innuendos (such as “rotary dialling”) that is hard to come by on broadcast television. I am very interested in sticking around with this gang of characters on a weekly basis for years to come.

My Rating: 8/10


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