‘Happy Endings’: The most underrated comedy on TV
It doesn't top the ratings. It's never been nominated for an Emmy. Heck, it's not even the buzziest young-adult comedy in its own timeslot. (Curse you, Zooey Deschanel.) But ABC's hugely enjoyable "Happy Endings," entering its third season this week, deserves all of those accolades… and your attention. With an air-tight comedic ensemble and an onslaught of jokes that come so fast you'll need to rewind twice to catch them all, we're ready to call "Endings" the most underrated comedy anywhere on TV.
We admit it: We didn't even want to watch "Happy Endings" at first. Debuting in April 2011 amid a slew of similar "Friends" knockoffs, it looked to us like just another late-season burn-off destined for the TV scrap heap. But when we finally sat down to watch it, we couldn't stop laughing. And quoting it. And telling everyone we knew to watch it. The good news is, even if you've never seen "Endings" before, you can jump right into this week's Season 3 premiere and join the fun. In fact, we have five reasons why you should do just that… and help us get "Happy Endings" from "underrated" to "rated," at least.
The cast's chemistry is top-notch
Chemistry: It's what separates the great sitcoms ("Seinfeld," "Friends") from the not-so-great ones (all the shows that tried to imitate "Seinfeld" and "Friends"). And the six members of the "Happy Endings" crew have chemistry to burn; if you told us the cast all went to high school together and have known each other for years, we'd believe it. Adam Pally and former "SNL"-er Casey Wilson get all the best lines (and merit serious Emmy consideration) as sloppy gay slacker Max and his terminally single BFF Penny, respectively. But they don't run away with the show; the other four actors get plenty of opportunity to shine, too.
We'll get to Damon Wayans Jr. (Brad) and Eliza Coupe (Jane) in a minute, because they deserve their own mention, but let's talk about Elisha Cuthbert (Alex) and Zachary Knighton (Dave). "Endings" began with Alex leaving Dave at the altar, and at first, these two seemed destined to be the show's unfunny straight men. But even they've been allowed to let loose and get wacky as the series has developed, what with Dave's addiction to V-neck T-shirts and Alex's insatiable love of ribs. Now all six actors have their quippy banter down to a science… and it's a blast to watch every week.
Get a taste of that chemistry with this full episode of "Happy Endings":
It piles jokes on top of jokes on top of jokes
We've never seen an actual "Happy Endings" script, but we imagine it must be at least twice as long as other sitcom scripts. The "Endings" cast rattles off their lines in hyper-caffeinated "Gilmore Girls"-esque fashion, talking over each other and cramming multiple punchlines into each minute of screen time. (DVRing is an absolute must with this show; there's no way you'll catch all the laughs in a single viewing.)