Five years ago, ABC officially cancelled Happy Endings, effectively ensuring that the world will never be good again. When it premiered, the show was centered on the aftermath of one friend leaving another friend at the altar for a roller blading acquittance. The show eventually found a wonderfully light tone centered around an ensemble cast of six friends in Chicago, by way of a backlot and Max’s insanely good “shitty” apartment. It was a brilliant ray of sunshine. And now it’s dead.
Quality television comedy in the 90s and 2000s was very much dominated by the “what if our characters were assholes” take on sitcoms. Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Arrested Development are all good TV but that move was getting a little old in 2008. Happy Endings was so genuine it was crazy. Six friends who are good people and genuinely care about each other. Jane spent an entire episode getting Alex everything she wanted, to try to improve her life. I wouldn’t buy a burrito for my friends. All this to say it worked. Fast, smart, goofy, heartfelt and just plain happy. It worked so damn it. Happiness is a powerful force in changing people’s demeanor and world view. If it was still living, it would be delighting and touching millions of Americans. Maybe even several thousand Wisconsinites.
Diversity had already been an issue in sitcoms. White New York delighted Americans for decades. But as a slut shaming millionaire champion of the working class angrily insists about shows that aren’t hers, diversity isn’t everything. The New Normal, which Happy Endings actually joked about at one point, was a Ryan Murphy production about a gay couple with a baby. If only Ryan had the foresight to see the new normal was unfortunately Nazi based. But I digress, the New Normal failed because it insisted upon making it’s progressive message the point of the show. That was admirable but also made the show seem just plain not fun. Happy Endings had a diverse cast but insisted to both not do the stereotypes but also not do the anti-stereotypes. The characters aren’t defined as “he’s not your stereotypical gay guy.” Max is a slob because he’s a slob not because, as Happy Endings often joked, he’s a “fresh new take” on a gay guy. Strong characters who are diverse, are the best kind of progressive message. Anyway, did I mention this show was cancelled? Double your lexapro prescription.
So it’s dead. They never even put the third season on DVD or Bluray. Because it wasn’t worth it. The third place streaming option, Hulu plopped down a couple bucks to get it streaming. Most of the stellar cast have been bouncing back and forth doing guest spots and TV shows that ultimately fail. David Caspe’s new show about falling in love with his wife Casey Wilson on the set of Happy Endings was also cancelled. Presumably an executive wanted to see David cry. He does have a new show with Adam Pally coming in 2019 – on Youtube Red. The subreddit is dead. There are no new gifs. And the old gifs are low quality and on old platforms. And the gifs were so good. In a flash, the year of Penny disappeared before our very eyes. And we’re left behind to find a way forward.
It was a pretty good show.