“Happy Endings” is a show that’s so good, so hilarious, and so heartfelt, that a few weeks ago when my brother sent me a text that said, “Happy Endings might get canceled,” I thought it was a joke, like the weekly texts he sends me to inform me of Gary Busey’s untimely death. “Yeah riiiiiiight!” I replied, unable to comprehend how a show this good didn’t have a rabid fanbase of 400 million viewers (God, when did I get so naive?). Then I looked online, and found out he wasn’t joking: “Happy Endings” doesn’t have super low ratings, but they’re not great either. And ABC just moved it to Friday nights, which often proves to be the death rattle for shows on the cusp of cancellation. I. Am. Terrified. So here’s the deal: if you’re not watching “Happy Endings” yet, I need you to start watching it right now. And then I need you to forward this to all your friends. And here are 10 reasons why…
1. It’s so funny it makes me question my bladder control abilities. No TV show has made me laugh so hard, so often, since “Arrested Development” (and I don’t take “Arrested Development” comparisons lightly). The dialogue is so fast and so brilliant, that, like AD, it often takes three or four viewings to catch all the layers of all the jokes. There are pop culture references wrapped in visual gags wrapped in bad puns wrapped in physical comedy. Want a taste? Watch Max teach Penny how to be a hipster.
“He’s huge on the abandoned gas station circuit.”
2. It’s got mad style. I’ve mentioned this show’s killer fashion sense a few times now, from a Style Inspiration post to the fact that I found the coat of my dreams after seeing it on one of the characters and frantically tracking it down online. But just let me say it again: the styling on this show is on point. Keri Smith, the costume designer, is a genius.
3. It’s the realest show on TV. Yes, every sentence is packed with jokes, and yes, the gang gets into some pretty absurd situations (like when Max turns into a bear for the winter), but when it comes to the way the characters relate to each other, talk to each other, and continuously mess up and repair their relationships with each other, this show is amazingly realistic. I think one of the reasons that so many (but not enough!) twenty- and thirty-somethings love this show so much is because when you watch it, you see your own friends reflected in the characters. You see your own dating mishaps and work blunders and wardrobe malfunctions. This show is a perfect reflection of life in 2013, only way funnier.
4. It’s also the most ridiculous show on TV. I read a review awhile back that said “Happy Endings” works so well because no matter how crazy the scene or the story line, the entire cast commits to it completely. Sometimes I wonder if the writers are trying to see how far they can push it before one of the cast members is like, “Ummm, maybe I’d rather not wear a giant helmet made of hair,” but so far, nobody’s holding back, and the results are so weird, and so hilarious. For example, here’s Max and Brad staging a hype-off at a Bar Mitzvah:
5. Penny Hartz is the most relatable character, like, ever. After you’ve watched a few episodes, you will surely agree that Casey Wilson, who plays the clumsy, perpetually single Penny Hartz, is a national treasure. Penny is alternately overconfident and vulnerable, self-centered and generous, inconsiderate and sensitive. We all have a little Penny in us, and we all have a friend like Penny we meet for mimosas on Sunday mornings to debrief the disastrous dates of the night before. My favorite Penny scene might be this one, where Dave offers her a trendy drink and she misunderstands…
6. The characters have adorable Chicago accents. It’s refreshing to see a show about a hip, young group of friends that isn’t set in New York or LA, and from the constant presence of gloves and warm coats to the way Max pronounces his own name, the windy city is basically the 7th main character.
7. It’s unapologetically sexual. One-night stands. Rebound hookups. Masturbation. Friends with benefits. Role playing. A married couple with a very active sex life. I mean, with a name like “Happy Endings,” what did you expect?
8. The guest stars are actually good. I usually cringe when guest stars show up on my favorite sitcoms. The new character messes with the group dynamic and the jokes often feel forced. “Happy Endings” is different. Whether Megan Mullally is nailing it as Penny’s overly optimistic artist mom (see below), or Colin Hanks is playing a supremely douchey version of himself, the writers definitely know how to make guest stars add to the show, not take away from it.
9. Max is the least stereotypical gay man on TV. There are a lot of gay characters on a lot of different TV shows right now, which is great. More visibility is always good. But most gay male characters still tend to play into stereotypes: they’re neat, feminine, well-dressed, and perky. Max is a slobby, mooching, sports-obsessed, self-pitying mess who just happens to be a gay dude. His sexuality never defines him, and I think that’s pretty awesome.
10. The catchphrases are ah-mah-zing. It’s nearly impossible to watch a show that’s so full of random abbreviations and weird catchphrases, and not work some of the “Happy Endings” lingo into your everyday conversations. Your friends might not understand what you’re talking about, but don’t worry, there’s an easy solution for that: make them watch “Happy Endings” too! Seriously, do it.