Tonight at 9:30/8:30c (and again at 10/9c), ABC is airing their latest new comedy series HAPPY ENDINGS.  The show stars Elisha Cuthbert (24) and Zachary Knighton (FLASH FORWARD) as Alex and Dave – the engaged couple at the core of a group of 6 friends.  When Alex leaves Dave at the alter (oh hush, it’s not a spoiler; it’s in all the promos), the rest of the group – Penny (SNL’s Casey Wilson), Max (Adam Pally), Jane (Eliza Coupe), and Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr) – is left picking up the pieces, and deciding, as the tagline goes, when a couple breaks up, who gets to keep the friends?

I really enjoyed the easy chemistry that the cast has, and the sarcastic and almost passive aggressive way that the group interacts (when Dave comments on Alex’s hair after she returns from their honeymoon, I laughed out loud knowing were I in Elisha Cuthbert’s shoes, I’d never get through the scene).  Does the show cover the tried and tired “three ‘couples’ in different stages of life” story that we’ve seen explored in lesser comedies this season?  Yes, but it does it in a fresh new way; the three stages they’re exploring are a former-engaged-couple-turned-truce-calling-friends, an interracial-couple-full-of-snark-and-attitude, and a lonely-girl-and-gay-guy-trying-to-find-mister-right (versus Engaged/Married/Old and Married-Sane/Married-Crazy/Single-Crazy in recent other examples). Follow the jump for why I love each of the characters and be sure to tune in tonight on ABC after an all new MODERN FAMILY!

Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) is the typical girl who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.  She happens to be engaged to a man who gives her money for Valentine’s Day, and who she’s know forever.  So what if she wants longer than she should to tell him that she’s unhappy (like on their wedding day) – she finally does, and the show picks up steam once the duo and group try to figure out what exactly they can now that Alex and Dave are no longer “Alex&Dave”.  Cuthbert’s obviously been spending more of her time in drama in the past few years, but she should have popped up on a comedy sooner – she’s fast, she does the physical comedy well, and by the time she’s trying to be Max’s beard, a sculptress, in an upcoming episode, I was fully a fan!

You all know the guy we’ve seen in all of the romantic comedies who doesn’t know what he’s got until it’s gone, and in HAPPY ENDINGS, he’s Zach Knighton’s gin-smoothie drinking Dave.  I only know him from FLASH FORWARD where he was fighting to figure out where his future would take him, so it’s nice to see him lighten up, and show a fun side.  He’s the “straight man” in a show full of over the top (in a good way) characters, and he more than holds his own with a one liner or two.  Definitely looking forward to seeing more.

Jane (SCRUBS’ abrasive Denise, Eliza Coupe) is the know it all here, and I’d expect nothing less.  She’s happily married and knows what it takes to work on a relationship.  She’s also the one that’s a little more convinced than anyone else that Alex and Dave might find their way back to each other.  She’s clearly the one who wears the pants in her relationship with Brad, and both she and Brad are 100% okay with that.  Coupe has a way of turning everything she says into the most sarcastic sentence ever uttered, and I think that’s why I’m drawn to her the most.  I get her humor, and it always keeps me laughing.

Jane’s husband Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) is a man just trying to make his wife happy – whether that’s a cleanse to get ready for babies, or a move to the suburbs, he’ll say yes to her in a heartbeat.  That doesn’t mean he won’t complain to the guys as soon as he can or that maybe he’s figured out how to use his wife’s nanny cam to his advantage.  Wayans is great and he makes his “yes” man of a husband easy to relate to without invoking too much sympathy.

I think Max (Adam Pally) is my favorite of them all.  He’s a gay man who hates the stereotypical.  He has an opinion on everything (whether you want to hear it or not), he thinks every man has a thing for him, and he has yet to tell his parents that he’s gay.  He has a super thick Midwestern accent, and his friends think he’s a little chubby, but he doesn’t care.  Its his “chubbiness” that leads to the A-story in an episode next week featuring SCRUBS S9 star Michael Moseley, and that’s fine with me!

I was always mad that Casey Wilson was so unceremoniously fired from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, but I’m actually happy that she was let go, so that she can be a part of this cast.  The writers of BRIDE WARS, she brings a real desperation to Penny Hearts who is constantly looking for mister right.  Whether it’s a Jewish fireman or a possible relative of a war criminal – she doesn’t care, as long as there’s a chance he’s the one.  And unlike other wacky sidekicks on TV who don’t realize that they need to hog the spotlight all the time, Penny definitely knows she needs the spotlight, and is 100% okay with admitting it right off the bat.

Check out the series premiere tonight at 9:30/8:30c on ABC, and check it out in its regular time slot next week after COUGARTOWN!!


One comment

  • Travis

    Wow, that was a very well-written and detailed review. Personally, I wasn’t blown away right off the bat, but Happy Endings did grow on me, quickly too. Now I find it absolutely hilarious. It’s a seriously inconvenient timeslot for me though. But luckily that’s where DISH Network’s: dishonline site comes in handy though. It’s an on-demand service that not only has a ton of content but also makes a lot of it available to non DISH customers and customers alike. As an employee of DISH I was pretty excited when this went live and have spent a good deal of time browsing all the great programming.