Not That Kind of Happy Ending

This post is late. For so many reasons. We haven’t posted at all this week yet. And it’s Thursday. Also – spoiler alert – it’s sort of about a TV show that premiered last night and every other media outlet in the world already covered it. I was supposed to write this post last night but then I somehow wound up walking from Hollywood and Cherokee to Sunset and Vine in five-inch booties. Now I have a blister the size of my palm on the bottom of my foot. Do not recommend walking in Los Angeles. Ever. And an hour ago when I signed on to G-chat to let Ellyn know I’d be blogging, we wound up talking about all the unhappy things that have happened in our lives (see emotionally unavailable parents, corporate burnouts, anxiety disorders) and how we firmly believe all those things will ultimately lead us to happier lives… which brings me to the blog subject at hand: happy endings.

Specifically, brand new relationship slash ensemble comedy Happy Endings, Wednesdays on ABC at 10|9c. Full disclosure: I’m a longstanding admirer of some of the show’s creators and star Eliza Coupe. If you don’t follow her Twitter, do it now. You won’t regret it, I swear. Have I ever steered you wrong? In any case, we don’t often blog about television. It’s possibly the one topic Ellyn and I genuinely disagree on. The only show we both love — and when I say “love” I really mean “treat as if it were god itself” — is Friends. But we tried to write a scorecard style post on Cougar Town, Mr. Sunshine, and Episodes and well… Ellyn had nothing to say. About any of them. So here I am, blogging alone, praying that when I finally convince Ellyn to watch Happy Endings it will hit that Friends spot and she’ll want to write about TV again.

So Ellyn, why should you watch Happy Endings? Well, for one, I just about choked laughing when Casey Wilson’s character grabbed the oversized “30” candles off her birthday cake and used them to pummel the cake to pieces. And the tramp stamp that said “stay grounded”? Dear lord I want to meet that woman in real life and mock her. Endlessly. You know who else I want to mock? All those women who look like “you shook a Tory Burch store and they all fell out” or whatever the exact line was. I can’t wait for football season to start again (while I’m praying, dear lord let there be a football season this year) so I can sit on the couch and drink beers and do nothing else all day too. For the record, Happy Endings writers, the hip slang for such Sundays is “Sunday Fundays.” Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

My favorite TV critic, Alan Sepinwall, panned Happy Endings yesterday, saying “everyone’s pitched at the same smug, selfish, cartoonish level, insulting and undermining each other at every turn, yet still treating each other – and being treated by the show – as if there’s genuine affection underneath it all.” Honestly, that’s what I loved most about the show. How freakin’ unapologetic the characters are. I don’t find it cartoonish, I find it refreshing. Because real people generally aren’t nice people, and yet real people still have friends.

Which brings me to my last point: Happy Endings is actually inherently unhappy, which takes balls. Somebody gets left at the altar in the very first scene. Someone else is afraid to come out. Another seemingly happily married couple changes their minds about having kids. As Ellyn and I love to remind you all, life shits on you. All the time. It’s what you do with it that matters. And the most important thing you can do is laugh. When I was in college, I dated — and got dumped by — one of my six best friends. And three months later we all had to move in together. I know how that break shakes up a group of tight-knit, freakishly childish friends to the core. And if you read this blog, ever, you know both Ellyn and I confront relationship game-changers on a daily basis. So more than anything else, I hope Happy Endings lives up to its inherently unhappy premise, and explores the ramifications of that premise to the fullest degrees, with the fullest comedic grace.

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