aaand we’re back. Back after a long, dry, painful Happy Endings-less hiatus — the era of the abandoned steak truck, if you will (I know, you won’t, and for good reason). The long sidelined ABC sitcom has returned, and in prime form, releasing a double header of winning episodes in its glamorous new time slot! … Friday night.
The night where television shows go to die.
We already know Happy Endings is in trouble. When the very network carrying the show releases a PSA asking fans to save it, you’ve got to wonder what sour fate might be waging its way into our pile-on laden universe. Fridays are typically allotted for socializing — date night, bar-hopping, improv classes, the odd pickup egg toss tourney. People want to be with other people on the weekends. But here’s the catch: other people aren’t as good as these people. The Happy Endings people.
And if you caught this week’s slate of new episodes, you’re probably rethinking the devotion to your friends and family altogether. Which leads us to believe that maybe Happy Endings isn’t the victim of this new time slot, but our social lives.
After all, don’t most of your friends have boring jobs, working for accounting firms or art galleries or pizza-themed aquariums? No room for wacky high jinks there! But as we see in the first of this latest couplet of episodes, Brad’s turn at the Chuckles & Huggs play place involves every conceivable manifestation of madcappery! When Brad’s incompetent boss runs the business all but into the ground, our dear, sweet Mr. Wayans, Jr., must use his businessman savvy to turn the joyous emporium into a profitable establishment — enlisting the help of arts and crafts expert Alex (who transforms the place into a sweatshop) and musician Dave (who sells out to the scatological interests of his young fan base) to entertain… while Jane desperately tries to find just one way to connect with children.
Plus, don’t most of your friends have boring relationships? Healthy ones, based on maturity and trust? Not Penny and Max. The insecure duo upholds a new maxim of never responding to their significant others’ text messages, enlisting a highly illegal sleep-inducing medicine to help them resist the urge. It’s all about the power.
And that’s just one episode down — what about your friends’ interests? What are they into? Sports? Politics? Pop culture? Do they simply enjoy these things casually and healthily, without any ulterior motives? Bah. Who needs ’em when you’ve got Alex, who abandons her passion for reality TV in favor of highbrow current events, leading her boyfriend Dave and sister Jane to try and destroy her out of jealousy and derision for her new intelligence! That’s the kind of group dynamic you really want. One that erupts in your diminutive friend attacking a bunch of “nerds” with a fire extinguisher to prove that she’s back to her old self.
But here’s the kicker: do your friends have some kind of code of ethics and morals? Consciences that keep them from doing reprehensible things?
WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE PEOPLE?
What you really need is a gay fellow who’d lie about his sexual orientation in order to “date” a girl with a steady supply of Bulls games and Jay-Z concert tickets. That’s the sort of friend you can really admire… that’s why we love Max. And for a very similar reason, we love Penny, who’d stop at nothing to sabotage his plan and save the unknowing Abby Elliott from his duplicitous ways… less out of morality than spite. Spite is better.
So why are you even considering going out next Friday? This is where you need to be. These are your friends and family now.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: ABC]