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Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Blax, Snake, Home”, Season Premiere)

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Season 2, Episode 1 (14)
Date of airing: Sep 28, 2011 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 7.25 million viewers, 3.1/8 rating with A18-49

A pretty solid season premiere, though somehow it didn’t feel like it was catching up to the better part of the first season. A few jokes were funny (“Year of Penny, suck it”), but a few jokes were also really cringe-worthy (Penny [Casey Wilson] finding THE GOOD WIFE and THE VIEW episodes on her TiVo). Also, the whole plot of Penny finding herself as a lonely woman in a haunted condo seemed too much like a Halloween episode than a normal plot for a normal season premiere. I don’t really know, but it wouldn’t fit in here.

I liked the truth game between Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Elisha Cuthbert) though, and especially how Jane (Eliza Coupe) was involved in that little mess. The back and forth in front of Dave’s food truck was hilarious, and Jane’s day out with both Dave and Alex was also to get shot for, because there were a few funny gems hidden in those tiny moments. I would have wished for those moments to be a real story though. Simply depicting a clueless, but happy Alex wandering through town with Jane, doing things, buying things, being happy from ear to ear, but annoying Jane until she’s six feet under, with Jane playing the good-hearted and best friend. Same with Dave, though I wouldn’t even know what to do with Dave, since he rarely does anything great and funny. At the end, the truth game was nothing buy a simple story pressed into the episode to have the 21 minutes of airtime filled. Funny while watching it, but not really rememberable after a while.

Same goes with Max (Adam Pally) losing his Murtaugh. I liked that the writers always try to depict a special friendship between the friends, but the stories are not interesting enough all the time. Especially when they look so important to the characters, but aren’t shown like that for the viewers. I saw that Max cared about Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and wanted to hang out with his (black brother-)friends, but I never saw it as an important moment for Max, because he wasn’t acting on it very much. Just a discussion at the bar (“That printer is very tasty”), just a few gay people around Max for his counterattack, but that’s it. Not really exciting.

And Penny? The condo must cost a lot, and I wonder where she got all that money from, but whatever. The “Year of Penny” is hilarious, the 1920s theme party was partly funny (especially with the couch ice cream and the ground ice cream), but the rest wasn’t mine. Too many fake horror-comedy moments, and a Penny that was a little too superstitious for me. That could have been handled better. 6/10

Alex’s new house guest comes fresh out of the animal store

Welcome to the 1920s, sponsored by some ice cream company

Written by Christian Wischofsky

November 8, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“The Shershow Redemption”, Season Finale)

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It was a great season finale. Somehow it was fitting to end the season with a wedding, and with romantic undertones, if the series should not have been renewed. It would have been a great series ending, with everyone of the friends finding some sort of happy end, as well as the reason to love. It was kinda touching. And not just because of “Everlast” at the end, and not bringing a final gag.

So, Shershow (T.J. Miller) has his wedding, and everybody is pretty much surprised about it. I loved how Penny (Casey Wilson) reacted to it, losing her safe, and I loved how it formed the relationship between her and Max (Adam Pally). I always knew that the two would totally fit together in a perfect way, and would this show be a drama, the writers would work on a little affair between the two. But since this is a comedy, the writers can’t really go that way, but I love the way they are going anyway. I really believe they are best friends forever, and I don’t just believe it because of the great acting and the chemistry between the cast members.

The crazy wedding idea from Jane (Eliza Coupe) was a bit stupid though. Yeah, it shines her character in the right way, but somehow I don’t see much anymore from Jane. Here she has a crazy idea, there she behaves in a stupid way, but in the middle there are some great scenes like the “beautiful mind” one, after she realized her “perfect wedding” wasn’t that real. I want more of those moments, not crazy-Jane, because crazy-Jane is not always funny. I loved Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) though, especially his “pants down” trick. I have to learn how to do that.

The romance love story/whatever between Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) gets picked up again – which is not bad, because it was actually cute and not over the top. The chemistry between the two actors improved over the season, and now I wouldn’t mind when the writers are going into a little love romance between the two, as long as it doesn’t go over the top. The writers could have done more with Alex being the wedding jinx though. But at the end I was pretty much glad that even this story wasn’t overdone. With Alex as a wedding jinx, who knows what could have happened. And she just ran over the couple’s picture.

At the end, a very nice episode with a very nice ending. Touching, sometimes funny. And the chemistry is really noticeable here. 8/10

This is not a funny moment

Max is Penny's savior

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Like Father, Like Gun”)

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Amah-zing episode! Finally the writers are using their ideas for episodic arcs for some hilarious moments. Finally the boys are totally bored and start shooting at each other, and finally the girls realize what they are capable of when they’re drunk. I couldn’t have imagined a better “moral” for this episode. And who knows, maybe this was the first step to a COMMUNITY-similar series, where the whole series goes into a meta stage of crazy awesomeness.

I just loved that Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Max (Adam Pally) were so bored that they started to play with toys again. Okay, the beginning of it was a bit boring, but when Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) came to play, shooting the crappy guy from across the street, having foot sex, was just hilariously awesome. I loved how serious the moment became, when they weren’t able to shoot this guy in 90 minutes, and I loved how the final shot came to burning down the whole house – hilarious. I would have wished for this story to go on forever, just because it was good to see the boys being boys and doing crazy shit. After all, we have to be kids every now and then.

The drinking… Hilarious as well. I was laughing when Penny (Casey Wilson) was suddenly able to speak and understand Italian, when she’s drunk, but lost the superpowers, when she was sober. So, of course the writers had to stack it into a message of drinking as much as you can, just to be close to your guy you just slept with. In addition, I adored the scene, when Penny and Alex were drinking, so that Penny could understand the Italian guy’s message. It really looked like the two actresses had fun – until Alex realized she’s eating steaks when she’s drunk. That was not funny and awkwardly acted.

Well, again Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) were the problem in the episode. Somehow it didn’t feel like it fit into the episode, and Damon Wayans couldn’t show that he has improved as an actor. Though it was nice to have a family-moment in the series, it felt too forced, too fake, and way too misplaced in-between all those crazy shots. But I’m forgetting it already, and the episode was hilarious for around 14 minutes. 8/10

Drunken fun for Penny just to understand Italian

Dave takes the shot

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“The Girl with the David Tattoo”)

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It had to happen sometime; not all episodes of the first season after the rocky start could be awesome as hell. This was a rather average episode, not really funny, and without messages. I’m already in the middle of forgetting the experience of Max (Adam Pally) judging his dates and Adrian (O.T. Fagbenle) not learning to pick up a pen.

I actually liked Adrian’s story, and how Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) tried to help him after he was responsible for Adrian getting fired and dumped by his girlfriend. Unfortunately it was not a good-enough story for a comedy like this, and there was the humor missing. Or the writers were just thinking that showing Adrian how he starts clicking in is funny, and forgot that they had overdone this part in the episode. And seriously: Where was the message?

Max’s little story was okay. I didn’t really like how he became the judgmental character, but I loved the scene in the movies, where he was talking down the random dude, because he had a date with noone. But similar to Brad’s story, the writers didn’t know what to do with the women at their sides. Neither Penny (Casey Wilson) nor Jane (Eliza Coupe) had something to do in this episode, and weren’t able to bring laughter into the mix.

Instead I actually liked the tattoo story, and not just because Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) had to pull down her pants a bit, just to show her tattoo. Again the writers go back to her past with Dave (Zachary Knighton) past, again they pick it up for the series, including flashback, and again they have a message for the viewers. And who knows, maybe the series will continue to explore storylines between the two as friends, without getting them back into bed (as it was suggested for five seconds, before it was revealed they were in the middle of the tattoo removal). Even Alex works better as a character, when she is on a friendly course with Dave – as well as Elisha Cuthbert, who seems to be finding the groove of the show with every episode. Now I don’t think anymore she was miscast.

Yep, episode is already forgotten. Two episodes left, I’m still sad though. The show is really good, just has to work on their average episodes… 6/10

It looks incredibly painful

Adrian is doing his clicking thing

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“You’ve Got Male”)

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Solid episode, nothing more, nothing less. It had some funny moments, it had some awkward moments, and it had the chance to let Max (Adam Pally) have a recurring story for once. Then the final scene came and make a joke out of his story, ending it in the comedy-way. That was the point where I was a bit disappointed that the writers don’t even think about telling ongoing storylines. Which is a shame.

Having Max and Ian (Max Greenfield) date was a nice story, and the whole fight against the coffee chain was just the icing on the cake. Max and Ian had a great chemistry together, and in addition the story wasn’t even supposed to be funny – it was just a little romance story in a comedy show. And even though the writers were able to bring them back together at the end, they had to establish in the last scene that Ian won’t be a recurring character. Damn, another chance of HAPPY ENDINGS becoming a really good series is gone. At least Ian was given some moments, where he could deliver some of the humor of the show, even though it was just the scene with Brad and Jane battling it out in the group interview.

The story with Alan (Rob Huebel) was a bit lame though. It was predictable that he would become an asshole, when he started dating Penny (Casey Wilson), and it would be predictable that Dave (Zachary Knighton) had to learn something about his idol from school he never wanted to learn. The thing is: It wasn’t really a funny story from his side, and I was only laughing, when Alan’s “penis” stopped Penny’s door from closing. Other than that Alan was way too awkward for me – it could have been on purpose, it could have been that I got the character in a different way, I don’t know.

I loved that Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) was connecting with Max again. The two seem to have some buddy-chemistry for a while now, and I wouldn’t mind when the writers go overboard with the two for an episode. The two characters are stupid enough to make some stupid and funny things happen, but I’m waiting for now. At least Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) did stupid things. The group interview was hilarious, and how their bet ended was awkwardly funny and annoying. I can’t even begin to understand how they can be married, though I understand now why they married each other… 7/10

Awkward couple is awkward

Love is coming from the food truck

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Your Couples Friends & Neighbors”)

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Okay, seriously? Boring episode. Even though I finally really realized that Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Jane (Eliza Coupe) are a couple (something which wasn’t explicitly shown in the first two episodes, when ABC aired the first season out of order), the episode had nothing to work with. And again every storyline is worked through within 20 minutes – no wonder why comedy shows nowadays seem to bomb with the audience.

Let’s take Malcolm (Michael Mosley) for example: He could have been a funny character for a couple of episodes, and he could have been a serious date for Alex (Elisha Cuthbert). But neither the first thing happened, nor the latter. Instead he will probably be forgotten after this episode, as well as the whole ceiling thing. I don’t even know why writers are still doing such writing, which is completely forgotten after the episode has finished. I would wish for this trend to end and a new trend to begin: continuation in comedy shows. Remember FRIENDS? When every comedy show wants to be like FRIENDS, and copy their success, why not beginning with continuation in the storylines?

Carl (Brett Gelman) and Dianne (Danielle Schneider) were really boring characters. They didn’t help Jane and Brad at all, and I found the moments with the new friends very much eyes-rolling. In addition, I wanted to find the whole threesome-situation funny, but I only could bring a little smile on my face, when Dianne was touching Jane in the bar – it was literally nothing more. The story didn’t even develop Jane and Brad as a couple, despite the whole talk of Jane auditioning couples therapist ad realizing that they are very much a couple.

The only funny thing about the episode was Dave’s (Zachary Knighton) sleepwalking, and how Max (Adam Pally) was just standing in front of Dave, when Dave managed to get up the ceiling after he probably dropped a liter of sweat. The rest was plain boring. No wonder why ABC has decided this episode to be the third episode, and bring all the weak ones out of the crossfire. 5/10

Jersey Shore parody!

Awkward couple is awkward

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Mein Coming Out”)

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Muhahaha, that’s a way to do some Hitler jokes. Totally loved the episode and all the comments, especially “Penny hearts Hitler” and “Two sluts and a Nazi” – especially latter would be a really cool title for a movie.

It really was a good episode. All stories were good, they had a message, and they were funny. The story with Max’s parents (Caroline AaronAlan Rachins) started a bit slow though, and I didn’t like Jane (Eliza Coupe) as Max’s beard (but that was obviously on purpose), but I liked the rest. I just wanted a bit more from Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), who didn’t get to be Max’s beard at the beginning. There could have been a nice little sub plot about friendship here, but the writers were missing out on that one and instead focused on the dinner with Jane as Max’s beard, and repeating over and over that Max (Adam Pally) has to finally come out, though, as he said it, “coming out is so gay”. By the way: I like how the writers play on all the gay jokes. I don’t know how the gay community feels about them, but the jokes are light and mostly funny, and as long as they result in a fake gay kiss, everybody should be happy, right? (Wasn’t there some anticipation to a gay kiss in MODERN FAMILY, and everybody was disappointed when it happened? Looks like HAPPY ENDINGS showed how it’s done)

Doug Hitler (Greg Cromer) and Penny (Casey Wilson) were cool. I just missed more gags, besides me being happy that both Penny and Alex weren’t stupid enough to not realize that having Hitler as a family name can be … irritating. The story just got a somewhat lame ending, when Doug realized Penny is “one of those freaks” – I didn’t really get it, and it wasn’t really funny, but hearing Penny talk about what her name would be when she marries Hitler was freaking hilarious .And the “not jewish” gag was hilarious too, especially the faces of Penny and Doug seeing the note…

Only Jane and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) were boring again. Somehow I think that Wayans Jr. might be miscast in the role. He can nothing but smile in awkward situations, and his character hasn’t done anything since the pilot. Maybe the writers haven’t gotten anything for him so far, to get him into a proper story or let him play out his comedy timing. Sadly I wish now he would give up this role to stay on FOX’s NEW GIRL. 8/10

This credit card is ... AMAH-ZING

A gay kiss - not so revolutionary TV anymore

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 13, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Of Mice & Jazz-Kwon-Do”)

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OMG, that was like the best episode of HAPPY ENDINGS so far. I just love how the craziness is continuing, and how the series doesn’t need storylines and funny dialog to be funny. It just needs some crazy and its actors to be crazy too, and the show works. Maybe I should finally start watching COMMUNITY.

I loved the Krav Maga sessions, and how it all became a fight between Penny (Casey Wilson) and Jane (Eliza Coupe). I loved how Penny was so insecure, after she got literally beaten by Jane, and how Penny was “able” to strike back in her Wonder Woman impersonation. I so fucking loved that sequence, I couldn’t stop laughing. She’s deflecting bullets. Best scene ever. I seriously want more of those kind of storylines (meaning less relationship-of-the-episode), which means more humor. That even brought me to finally like Jane more, because she didn’t hang around with Brad this time.

Because Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) had some problems on his own. Okay, the gaycist storyline didn’t bring anything, and was neither funny nor really good, but it seemed like the writers wanted to tell another gay-related storyline with Max (Adam Pally), which looked more authentic than the other storylines. But it looked like as if the writers don’t really have something to do for Max in the sense of a comedy series and instead tried to do something else for him. And since he’s gay, it has to be part of the story in every second episode. That made the story forgettable (though it was somewhat touching, when Brad realized he is a gaycist), likewise to all the other forgettable stories in the previous HAPPY ENDINGS episodes.

I liked Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave (Zachary Knighton) this time though. The series started with their blown-up wedding, and finally the writers go back to their old relationship. I don’t believe Alex and Dave will ever going to be a couple, but it doesn’t hurt, when their past is buried out of the story-box. I loved how the two were talking past each other – Dave just wanted to take clean showers, Alex thought Dave would go back to a relationship – and I liked that this story had a message at the end and there might be some hope left for Alex/Dave fans after all.

Another great episode. When HAPPY ENDINGS continues to be on this level, I will gladly wait for the second season. This episode finally showed me that HAPPY ENDINGS is worth to be watched. 8.5/10

This shower scene is torture for Dave

Let's fight this out, bitch!

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 12, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Why Can’t You Read Me?”)

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Okay, this episode was a bit boring, and I don’t even know why. Maybe it’s because it looked like as if this episode was outside of the rest of the HAPPY ENDINGS season. All of a sudden, Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Penny (Casey Wilson) have a job, which is part of their episodic storyline, and the rest is just involved in being … well, a bit annoying. No wonder why this episode was cut from the first season and shown outside.

The best story was Project Penny, but only because the episode could have been a parody of reality TV. When it all started, I was about to expect all the hilarities those kinds of stories would bring, but nothing came. Instead, the only highlight was Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Max (Adam Pally) talking to Rita (Gina Rodriguez) outside the building, and needing her “help” to say to Penny that she is still cool. Other than that, I actually can’t believe that Penny wasn’t given something bigger with this story. Maybe she should have noticed herself that she is being used as the cool boss, and maybe it should have been her story to make things go right. Instead Max and Brad were involved, and not even they had much to do. What a shame, that such a story got wasted for this.

Jane’s graduation was alright. There was a message behind the story, with Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) drawing all the attention to herself and annoying Jane with it. I loved the moment, when Paul (Clint Culp) read Alex’s letter and Jane was moved by it, and I loved the slapstick moment of Alex running into the glass door (see, even those moments can be funny, if you use them unexpectedly), but the rest was useless, uninteresting and not funny. Another shame, but here I blame the story: I absolutely didn’t care about the graduation at all.

The sex tape story with Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Kim (Bre Blair) was good. It could have been used more as a parody though, because there wasn’t much comedy in it,w hen Kim suddenly came with analyzing the shit out of the sex tape. The connection between Kim’s job as lacrosse coach (the sport is everywhere in television now) and her analyzing as a sports expert could have been more worked on, and Dave could have been more freaked out about the situation. Like the moment, when Dave realized that Kim had lots of Daves (and other guys) on her DVR: It could have been a great comedy moment, but instead Dave chickened out and gone was the story. What a shame.

At the end, the episode wasn’t much of a highlight. Some great ideas were in, but they weren’t well executed. Now I have my answer why this episode was preempted by ABC and shown in the middle of the summer, where no one watched television. It really was a lame episode. 4.5/10

Let's play secret government agents

Let's analyze the sex

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 9, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Episode Review: HAPPY ENDINGS (“Dave of the Dead”)

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Season 1, Episode 7 (4)
Date of airing: May 4, 2011 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 3.88 million viewers, 1.7/4 with A18-49

I almost wanted to say that HAPPY ENDINGS is going to lose some steam with going further into the relationships-of-the-week stories, after Penny (Casey Wilson) found her new boyfriend in a hipster, but the episode was surprisingly hilarious, even though it wasn’t pushing to be a hilarious piece of comedy. But I really, REALLY, want to see a reality show called Zombie-athon. Maybe somebody should have the guts and create one, as comedy entertainment, similar to WIPEOUT.

Or alternatively just a one-shot-episode with characters doing a zombie-athon, finding out who could survive during a zombie outbreak. I loved the scene, when Max (Adam Pally) had the evil plan of forcing Jane (Eliza Coupe) to clean up the spilled beer, but I would have loved even more scenes between the two. Now that the writers are establishing more and more scenes between all the characters, and not typing up the same couples over and over, the series is working better. The only thing is that the most interesting story, or the most hilarious story (in some cases both together) are mostly the shortest story of the episode. Like this time: The zombie-athon came too short, and instead the episode was focusing on Penny transforming into a hippie, as well as Dave’s (Zachary Knighton) restaurant dream, which needed a better message.

Okay, Dave’s story and the message of it was nice. It reminded me that HAPPY ENDINGS can be about characters as well, and that the writers can bring in some drama into the comedy. I wouldn’t mind it happening more often though, if they should find the right mix between the five seconds of drama and the fifteen minutes of amah-zing crazy comedy. Besides the scene, where Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) and Dave could talk to each other nicely, the zombie images were interesting – the rest not so really.

Four episodes in, and I like the show already. It still has some minor issues to fight, but I can’t believe I’m falling in love with the show. 7/10

Freeze and hold your breath!

Hipsters are freaks. There. I said it.

Written by Christian Wischofsky

September 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM

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