Oct 3, 2013

[TV] Happy Endings: Season 3

The Fall television season in the US has pretty much begun and I find myself thinking more about the shows that did not make the cut more than the ones that did. A lot of the newer shows fail to draw my interest and some of the older ones still had a bit more story left in them.

Happy Endings may not have been the greatest sitcom around, but it certainly address a familiar need for an ensemble comedy of its nature. Sure, a lot of folks compare it to a somewhat modern take on the concept of the show Friends, and in many respects it is. But at the same time it did its best to try something new and enter new territory.

The third and final season of the show was still pretty good but it had been left to a rather lousy schedule. That really killed it in this weird television block of time that apparently killed a lot of sitcoms across the networks. And now we can only talk about the show in the past tense and wonder what could have come later on.

Synopsis: Happy Endings is a US comedy series created by David Caspe for ABC. The who managed to get a number of nominations over the years but only won the 2013 Dorian Award for Unsung TV Show of the Year.

The season started with a number of changes to the status quo. Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) have decided to start dating again but supposedly keeping things "cazsh" - some bizarre slang for casual. Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) is still unemployed and a lot of the season involves him finding himself career-wise. There's not much to say about the others - they remain crazy, which is their status quo for the most part.

The show has some really crazy funny episodes to kick things off. The second episode of the season, "Sabado Free-Gante" was absolutely hilarious, primarily because of Jane (Eliza Coupe) and her misguided efforts to help her sister Alex get the best possible deal on a car. The lengths to which this episode goes certainly break past the absurdity barrier and yet remain perfectly in character for Jane when you really think about it. If anything, this and many other episodes in the season really helped establish just how well the writers knew how to handle her character. Case in point, the episode "No-Ho-Ho"

I sort of liked "More Like Stanksgiving" primarily because of the effort the cast went into creating a weird version of The Real World that they were supposedly on. The other arcs in that episode weren't quite as strong but seeing that perfectly on-point recreation of that 90's-locked show was a odd bit of comedic nostalgia for everyone. The next episode, "P&P Romance Factory" was nice only because they managed to introduce a decent love interest for Penny (Casey Wilson) and yet also find a ridiculous situation for Penny to deal with in terms of her need to wear a helmet.

Max (Adam Pally) is the character that has probably gotten the least amount of character development over the years that that holds true in this season as well. He's stuck being a caricature and not an actual person and thus simply performs on demand in all manner of ridiculous, slapstick situations. So yeah, I feel rather bad for Max. He could have been a heck of a lot more than what he ended up being. And with the show over, we'll never see more of him beyond his antics.

Despite the lack of development though, I certainly loved "The Marry Prankster", which had the gang pranking Max and then him swearing to get revenge. And the way he does this plays on a lot of the tropes related to horror movies in how they depict the scenes. The pranks, of course, are insane. But that's why we're here.

The show was never firmly grounded in reality. It liked to push the envelope of what people might actually do in normal situations and then take things a few steps more. It's still on the saner side of crazy, but things do get crazy and I do enjoy how they dance back and forth over that line. When the humor worked, it totally worked. When it didn't, well, the show was just weird and painful.

Happy Endings was still a pretty decent show and I think it still had a bit more life in it. It's a shame that it's gone - and I say this mainly since I think that there are a heck of a lot more shows out there that were worse. But now that it has past, I can only really give this last season of the show 3.5 quirky moments out of a possible 5.

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