Didn’t think I’d be writing a post praising a mid-season pilot that wants to be this generation’s Friends, but I am solidly enjoying the new ABC show Happy Endings. Honestly, when I woke up on the couch after randomly falling asleep at 9 o’clock, I didn’t even know what it was. So as I groggily stared up at my TV, and started laughing, loudly, I was a bit surprised. Then they aired another episode immediately after the first, and I was wide awake, laughing regularly.
It’s the Friends formula, remixed with Modern Family. A group of 30-ish friends try to deal with the breakup of two members of their group (Elisha Cuthbert and Zachary Knighton). She left him at the altar, and now they’re trying to be friends again and keep the group friendship intact. I realize that sounds heavy or maybe even incredibly stupid, but it’s actually become almost an afterthought by the 4th episode. The cast itself has pretty great chemistry. Besides Cuthbert (who I like because of Girl Next Door – that’s right) and Knighton (who I liked from the woeful, defunct Flash Forward) there’s a Wayans descendant (I must be totally clueless to not have realized that Damon Wayans was old enough to have a Jr. who is a grown-ass man), Casey Wilson as an always-single goofball, and someone named Adam Pally who just might be my favorite on the show. He’s the “gay one”, and the writers make a big deal about the fact that he’s not a “typical gay guy”, and go to great lengths to make him seem like a jock/frat boy/jokester who just happens to be gay. And he’s not typical, at least on TV. So that is refreshing. And speaking of the writing, it’s fast and whip-smart. Not Gilmore Girls-level of speediness, but close. Most importantly though, it’s FUNNY.
I hope it continues to be as witty and clever as this first handful of episodes was. I don’t know if it’s doing well; I have no clue if it is already on the chopping block or looking at renewal, but it’s earned a spot in my series manager simply by being good on its own merits.