It’s something of a minor television miracle that not only has ABC’s sitcom Happy Endings survived for two seasons, but that it’s thrived thanks to a hands-off approach by the network. It’s easily one of the five best sitcoms on television today.
Rather than improve ratings by noticeably changing course (as Parks and Recreation had done after its first season), the cast and crew leaned into the weirdness of their comedy. Coupe and Wayans, who play married couple Jane and Brad turned their characters’ initial overachieving-bobo quirks into a full-blown orgy of neuroses—the second season finds Brad wearing a shirtdress because “Daddy likes a deep tuck,” and Jane stalking a kid she thinks might be her egg-donor baby (in fact the parents didn’t use her egg because they thought she seemed just the kind of crazy who would stalk her egg-donor baby). Wilson gave her singleton an ability to rebound that verges on masochism. And Pally’s gay character, Max, so brilliantly overhauls TV’s go-to flamboyant stereotype that in one episode he slovenly hibernates for the winter, like a bear. “It’s like we’re all kind of sharing a brain, and we’re just like, ‘Yeah, this is the direction [the show] needs to go in,’ and we all pushed it into that direction,” says Coupe. “We’ll come up with stuff together and be like, ‘Let’s do this.’ And sometimes there will be a director who’ll say, ‘Please give us a normal take,’ and we’ll be like, ‘No, we want to do it our way.’ And what’s funny is they’ll cave in.”
Scratch that, someone this show has become one of the three consistently funny shows on television. It looks like a Friends clone, but it has more in common with Arrested Development or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s a bit surprising the show hasn’t been embraced by the Internet denizens like many others.
Related: Maske, over at Uproxx, feels me on this show. Go check out his massive collection of Happy Endings multipanes.