Happy Endings – “Pilot” and “The Quicksand Girlfriend”

Posted: April 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Have you ever started dating someone and they make all the wrong moves? On paper, they seem unstoppable, and there are subtle ques of chemistry that shine through, but they are only followed with awkward misstep after misstep that you want to walk out of a restaurant immediately? But you want to stick with it, just for maybe one more try?

Happy Endings follows an all too familiar formula of six affluent 30 year old friends an a large metropolitan city. This time it’s Chicago. The twist is the link between the group was broken as Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves Dave (Zachary Knighton) at the alter, and they try to manage to keep everyone together amidst the break up.

It was created by David Caspe and executive produced by veterans Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, most known for directing a number of Arrested Development episodes, but it plays more like a less surreal Scrubs or less absurd 30 Rock.

But allow me to put a stop to this ride very quickly: this show is nowhere near as good as any of these shows, but it has great potential.

Its biggest strength is all of the players in the show are actually funny, so they can create in a scene. No one is simply tagging along. SNL vet Casey Wilson dominates scenes as Penny, brash, fun and perennially single lady and Damon Wayans, Jr, (yes relation) is actually understated, which you would never expect from a Wayans, in his role as smarmy best friend Brad.

However, here is where the problems roll in. As good as everyone is on the show, much of what is written for them is so flat. The scenarios and dialogue present thus far is almost alien, in that, it’s what people think “normal people” are like. Characters should be complex and I feel like they tried to accomplish that only by giving these people lazy juxtapositions.

Max, an openly gay character on the show played by Adam Pally, is just a regular bro-type. Which is would be perfectly fine and even welcomed in a singular representation of such characters on Network TV. But at the same time, his bro-ness will take a backseat to his irreverent flamboyance. To balance this, they feebly introduce a friend of his (found in a gay softball league) who is off-the-wall flamboyant to his disdain.

Also, super Type-A best friend Jane (Eliza Coupe) is very one-dimensional, but Coupe hasn’t given up on her character and does wonders within her balance, this gives me hope that she can grow.

With such a scattershot of feelings gained from the first two episodes, I’ve decided not to give up on the show. The format is at least tried and true. Cutaways for jokes is a bit overdone, but I still think it can work. It is very rare that in these kinds of shows that you care about characters fairly early, and I attribute that only to the work of the comedians on the show.

So we had a rough start, but I’ve decided to go on a few more dates, and see if Happy Endings is true to its name.

Watch “Pilot” and “The Quicksand Girlfriend” on Hulu

Leave a Reply