About the Post

Author Information

Still reeling over Coach and Tami Taylor walking away from her and into a sunset in Philadelphia. lauramcclellan.com

Pumping the Brakes on Happy Endings

Recently it has come to my attention that not only do people not view Happy Endings as the worst show ever, they actually seem to ENJOY it. The cold opens I’d seen after Modern Family had repeatedly made me want to die a little inside, so I got all clinical about it to see if I could determine what all the fuss was about. Below are my findings:

Pre-Research Generalizations:

Casey Wilson is the worst. She has crazy eyes and no one likes her.

I’m very AWARE they’re acting in the cold opens. And everyone is way too over the top.

Post-Research Generalizations:

Okay, I’ll admit it. I laughed out loud a couple of times. It has more potential than I thought. I think the individual characters have their funny moments–even in pairs– but I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of obnoxious chaos when watching the group all together. Like I somehow got invited to a dinner where I don’t know anyone and everyone is talking loudly about stuff I don’t get and the waitress is standing by our table like, “Um, who ordered the fish tacos?” and no one is listening.

Group Dynamic:

The group dynamic, to me, comes off like this: WEIRD NOSES, SCREAMING, OBSCURE REFERENCE, CHAOS ENSUING, CLUMSY FUMBLING, MORE WEIRD NOISES…I just want to do one of those moments like in teen movies when they’re in a cafeteria and no one will stop talking and the smallest, most unexpected character stands on a chair and yells, “QUIEEEEET!” and everyone is like, whoa, and then the main character is like, thanks, and the small person is like, *beams*.

I just can’t handle it. I can’t handle it in real life and I can’t handle it on T.V.

Just CALM yourselves. Take it down a notch. Not everyone can be Chandler. Some of you have to be Ross.

Character Analysis:

I feel like the guys on this show–who in my opinion are a lot funnier than the girls–are basically slightly different versions of the guys on New Girl. Dave, a.k.a. Nick, has the potential to be quite funny when he’s not trying so hard. I actually like him. And Brad seems a little less spazzy than the others. A little more reasonable. He’s Winston (can’t help the obvious coincidence). Fairly likeable. I also noticed traces of Schmidt’s voice in Max during the scavenger hunt episode.

But I don’t get Max at all. I get that he’s The Weird One, but there’s no quirky twist to him. He’s not weird yet endearing, or weird yet hilarious. He’s just plain weird. Like the kid in your middle school that stood in the corner and mumbled to himself about aliens. He doesn’t seem to add anything to the cast.

I still think Casey Wilson is the worst and opens her mouth far wider than necessary when she speaks, but at least they make fun of her character in the show. They’re not trying to pass her off as super likable, so she’s a little easier to take knowing that.

Alex is just a caricature of a dumb blonde. It’s not even believable. Guys, she actually said “I HAVE A BRAIN IDEA.” This is not the bachelor. We don’t need that kind of nonsense in scripted television. We have enough of that in reality T.V.

[Also something I get enough of in real life and don't need in my TV lineup: verbal abbreviations. There is no need for "wherevs" (PENNY) or "solush" (DAVE). That's no longer cute.]

No real feelings about Jane other than the fact that I feel like she’d be mean to me if I ever met her.

So, in conclusion, a few of the characters have potential, and I can see how you could like them, but the group dynamic is so overwhelming that I still can’t officially get behind it.

Where do you stand on Happy Endings?

  • http://www.haleybragg.com/ haleybragg

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. I take major offense to this post. (Mostly because you badmouthed Casey Wilson and called Max weird!) I don’t even know where to BEGIN with all of the reasons I disagree. But I’ll try.

    First of all, how many episodes have you watched? And have you seen the Hipster episode? Should I let you borrow my copy of the first season?

    I can’t do much to help you when it comes to the chaos of the group or how Casey Wilson uses her mouth – those factors probably won’t change, but in their defense they are what makes the show work. It’s SUPPOSED TO BE over the top. It’s not supposed to be just like Friends. Recycling those characters hasn’t worked in the past (Perfect Couples, Traffic Light), so why try to make it work now?

    As for your character analysis, I’ve thought a lot about the comparison between HE and New Girl. (For the record, I’m a fan of both but Happy Endings is the better show, in my opinion.) Here is the breakdown of similarities between the guys (from someone who has watched every episode of both shows from the beginning):

    Brad & Schmidt (they both have actual jobs they wear suits to, both in relationships, funniest characters of their respective shows)

    Dave & Winston (they have slacker tendencies, but ultimately want to make something of themselves. Winston with the job search, Dave with his food truck, the one you sometimes forget about)

    Max & Nick (slackers that really aren’t trying to be anything else in life, grumpy dispositions)

    You’re absolutely right that Alex is a caricature of a dumb blonde (hilarious) and they abbreviate works like cuh-razy (I do too, so whatevs) – but that’s the signature of the show! It’s why so many people love it and why it’s so funny!

    Truthfully, you might never love the show. It seems like the issues you have with it are the same things that have endeared it to the rest of America are essentially its core. But if you ever want to be persuaded otherwise, I’m more than willing to grab coffee and give it my best shot! :)

    DISCLAIMER: I re-read this comment and it reads very angry, but please know it’s not intended to be argumentative or accusatory! Just a desperate attempt to get you to change your mind!

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      I admire your passion. :)  Apparently i DO need to see this hipster episode. As a Nashvillian, hipsterdom is close to my heart. :)

      I admit, I only watched two full episodes to get a feel for the show. So I’m of course not as committed as you all, but it didn’t make me want to watch more of it either. ]

      I only used Friends as a reference because 1) it is widely recognizable and  I still think some characters have to be less outrageous than others. or at least in a different way. and that was how I demonstrated it. 2) Friends is the best show of all time. ;)

      But you do make a good argument and you’re right, I may never love the show. That’s why there are so many shows to pick from. But again, I admire your passion. and we should definitely get coffee and debate tv shows. That would be fun.

  • http://twitter.com/mollsabeth Molly Gentry

    I have to agree with Haley here about everything EXCEPT Brad being the funniest character on Happy Endings. (For me it’s Max)

    And the negativity toward Casey Wilson hurts me. It just hurts.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      I’m sorry I hurt you with my comments about Casey Wilson. I didn’t like her on SNL and I don’t like her in New Girl, but to each her own! :)  

      • http://twitter.com/mollsabeth Molly Gentry

        Ha! no biggie. I actually didn’t like her on SNL either, but to me she was born to be Penny.

  • http://twitter.com/lagibbla Lauren Arieux

    Can I just say ditto on these two below me? Casey Wilson (as Penny) IS me. Give it some more time. It’ll grow on you for sure!

  • http://www.brandonclements.com Brandon Clements

    I’ve watched it a few times and don’t love it either. I can see the similarities with New Girl–it almost feels like an expanded & less good version of it. The hipster episode was really funny though, I have to admit.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      I haven’t seen the hipster episode–I’m willing to give it a shot! I do enjoy hipster humor. :-) But thank you for your support. haha.

  • http://katiemaesdailies.blogspot.com/ Katie Alicea

    I LOVE this show!!!  I totally understand what you’re saying about the chaoticness of their interactions, but I like it.  I feel like Happy Endings is a caracature in general.  Everything and everyone is exaggerated for comic effect.   This show and New Girl have been mine and Tony’s must-see shows lately. 

    Max is by far my favorite….”Mary Tyler Moore-Tyler -Moore-Moore-Moore”…GENIUS! 

  • http://calebmcnary.com/ Caleb McNary

    Laura, I was like you at first. I wanted to hate it, because I thought I had it pegged. But, after watching it for more than a couple of episodes, I realized that the show is doing exactly what it wants. It isn’t trying to be Friends, and it’s not trying to be Community (another show you have to watch a few times to buy in), it is doing it’s own thing, and I love it for that. It’s hard to nail down exactly what they are going for, mostly because it isn’t trying to ride the coat tails of a proven winner, it is happy being quirky and forging its own path. Give it a few more episodes, and if you still don’t agree, then I’ll at least respect you for giving it a shot and still not liking it.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      Ha. Thanks. I may do that. I watched two full episodes but I do realize it takes more than that to be invested in a show. It hasn’t won me over yet though. :)

  • http://takingbacktiffany.wordpress.com DTDorrin

    You had me 100% with your earlier post about Rachel and Joey being together, rather than Ross and Rachel. But this pains me. 

    I’ll admit that Happy Endings is a little over the top, but it’s a refreshing change of pace from the dramas on TV that want to be taken SO seriously (someone dies this week! someone has a baby this week! drama! drama!), or the other comedies whose casts are made up of 50% likable characters, and 50% unlikable characters. What I mean is that there are no “villains” on this show. It’s just a bunch of ridiculous people who for once in television history, live in a big city other than New York.

    And Happy Endings was on a full season before New Girl…so if anything, New Girl copied their characters from Happy Endings.

    But to each his own! I’m glad you gave it a couple episodes, and maybe the hipster episode will win you over.

    • http://lauramcclellan.com Laura McClellan

      Dang. I’m a little sad I lost you with this one. 

      I will definitely give this hipster episode a chance! :) 30 Rock is my absolute favorite show on TV right now, and I feel like they are a bunch of ridiculous people and there are not really any villains. But that’s a completely different concept for a show anyway.

      Thank you for respectfully disagreeing. ;) Maybe I will see the light if I try it again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Moret-Harrison/1553906570 Karen Moret Harrison

    Love the show, love Brad and Jane.  I can only hope you will see the error of your ways.  It will be ah-mazing!

  • Pingback: 7 Things I Learned from 24 | TV ASYLUM

  • Miravk

    This might be the worst show ever. The hipster-episode was so so so bad! omg!