Rec Me Friday: Happy Endings
I hope to stop this trend of featuring canceled shows on Rec Me Friday soon. It really just gets me sad that such great shows have ended. But be comforted that this one has three whole seasons!
REC ME FRIDAY: HAPPY LAUGHS, HAPPY ENDINGS
HAPPY ENDINGS | Seasons 1-3Network: ABC, Now canceled because as we've established, ABC is literally the worst when it comes to canceling my favorite showsStarring: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey WilsonWritten by: David CaspePremise: In Chicago, a group of six friends in their 30s struggle with relationships and becoming adults. (They fail a lot)
Happy Endings is one of my favorite shows ever. As someone who watches a fair amount of television (hundreds of shows...), such a declaration is sorta big for me. I actually used to have a weekly ritual of rewatching an episode of Happy Endings because I enjoyed it that much. Few shows merit constant rewatchs for me.Why do I love this sitcom so much? It's the characters and the wacky adventures each of them get up to. Each of these friends are hilarious in their own way. And as a group, the show has an amazing ensemble cast that clearly adore each other on and off screen. Equipped with a stellar cast and top notch funny writing that manage to escape stereotypes of gender, race, and sexuality , Happy Endings is a must see delight.It all starts a wedding. Or really, a non-wedding because Dave Rose is left at the altar by his bride, Alex. The rest of season one follows the non-wedding's awkward fall out as it affects everyone in the gang in a different way. After that...well, Happy Endings spirals more into a classic sitcom where every week, the gang get up to all sorts of trouble.As for the dumped groom, Dave is ...Dave. Dave is initially presented as the slightly more reasonably member of the group but over time, Dave becomes this mildly pretentious and ditzy character who is forever trying to prove himself as the 'cool guy'. Dave is probably my least favorite character on the show but still, I love him. With his unhealthy obsession of V-necks and clueless behavior, it's hard not to find Dave amusing. At the very least, it's fun to laugh at him when he comes up with ideas like the man thong.Then there's sweet Alex Kervoich. I didn't think Elisha Cuthbert could ever pull of comedy but she does it so well as Alex. Alex is naive and silly but charming enough to make it seem cute. Cuthbert's comedic timing really sells Alex as this wonderfully ditzy character.Penny Hartz is the show's perennial single girl. The forever single girl on a sitcom is cliche, yes, but Penny is hilarious in her attempts to find the right guy. She turns herself into a hipster for one man, attempts to change another to her liking, winds up ruining it with a nice man because his surname is Hitler. Penny's relationship antics are never ending and each of them are so much fun to watch.There's also, Max Blum coming in with the sitcom cliche of a chubby drifter with no job or ambition. Max spends his day eating pizza and making quick zings to make fun of his friends. Oh, and when Max can make time away from his video games and food, he likes to sleep with men.Happy Endings chooses to write Max Blum the way all gay characters should be written - like any other character. Max's sexuality is accepted by all his friends and the show even has a few story lines dedicated to Max's struggles with finding a boyfriend. But his homosexuality is never something to be mocked and it certainly doesn't define his character. Max is known as the gang's poor slob more than anything else. In fact, out of the three men on the show, Max probably has the most qualities of what society defines as an heterosexual masculine man.Jane Kervoich-Williams reigns as the group's control freak. Jane's very neat, meticulous and insistent on having her way. The show even takes Jane's assortative attitude to a dramatic level in one of my very favorite episodes, The Kervoich Way when Jane attempts to fool her husband. She becomes the manipulative evil mastermind with the swiveling chair and purring cat. Yeah, it sounds a little over the top but it's fun and it worked well.Jane's sexuality is also briefly featured in a few episodes. It's a small detail in her character but I always appreciated how although she ended up marrying a man, Jane continues to consider her previous relationships with the same sex as meaningful and emotional experiences.Alongside Jane is her husband, Brad Williams. As the more fun and outgoing spouse, Brad creates a nice balance to Jane's neat freak ways. Damon Wayans Jr. is simply a delight to watch as Brad. He's so expressive and energetic.As the sole POC on the show, Brad is written pretty well. Other than a occasional non offensive joke about his position as the only POC in his group of friends, race never becomes an issue for Brad. It hardly defines him as a character and he definitely doesn't fit into any of the black stereotypes.I love Brad and Jane individually a lot but together? They're perfection. As the show's married couple, they're one of the show's very best elements because the relationship is so well written. Happy Endings always presents Brad and Jane's marriage as a partnership more than anything else. Sure, Brad and Jane have their hijinks where there are a few lies and tricks but at the end of the day, these two are equal partners in a committed relationship together. Their marriage of love and trust serves as the group's foundation.The best part of the relationship is that because Brad and Jane consider each other partners, neither of them feel the need to oblige to the traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity for husbands and wives. Jane is attracted to her husband's excitement over facials and interior decorating. Meanwhile, Brad is proud to see his wife take charge and become the sole breadwinner of the household. The couple happily acknowledge of how neither of them fit into gender stereotypes and recognize that it makes their relationship stronger. Brad and Jane's marriage subvert so many social norms about gender and it's absolutely brilliant.It's such a shame Brad and Jane are no longer gracing television with their presence. I mean, how often do we get sitcoms with a loving inter-racial marriage who refuse to conform to gender roles and make hilarious jokes all the time?Happy Endings starts off with an entertaining enough first season to introduce audiences to these characters but it's really the second season that the series hits its peak. The show escapes the sophomore slump because wow, every episode in season 2 is comedic gold. It's all fun adventures and loving friendships set to sharp and funny dialogue. In season 3, the show begins to take it too far though. It becomes too tongue in cheek for me. The characters are a little too mean to each other, the jokes get less funny, and the fun antics veer into crazy over the top ploys. Still, after a couple of rewatches I've grown to love and appreciate the episodes in season 3 too. There are plenty of hilarious moments in there.So, go on and check out one of my very favorite shows! There are many so happy laughs to be had over the show's three seasons even if the show met a not so happy end. Have fun with this short but sweet series!