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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PILOT REVIEW: Happy Endings


Starring:Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson

Created by David Caspe
Written by David Caspe, Directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo

Happy Endings is a new sitcom from ABC about six mid-to-late twentysomethings (sound familiar?) who have been friends for a long time. But there friendship is put to the test when Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves Dave (Zachary Knighton) at the altar. What ensues is the fight to bring them back together at least for the sake of the group of friends who might be forced to pick sides. Basically, it's an episode of Friends right after Ross and Rachel broke up.

Of course it is nowhere close to Friends. In fact, I was tempted to copy and paste my review of Perfect Couples on here because it's just as unfunny and just as much of a mess as that show is. The characters are cookie cutter and there's no believability or empathy to be had with any of them. ABC was comparing this to the pilot of Modern Family, but there's no comparison. I realize sitcoms take awhile to get into their groove but some you can tell from the beginning have a shot and others you just know won't work. This is in the latter category as was evident by the nauseating party scene and forced jokes about not wanting to get old, a girl not realizing her boyfriends is gay, and being Jewish. It just tries way too hard.

There have been many bad relationship comedies this season but some (Better With You, Mad Love) can occasionally rise above the formulaic premise and writing thanks to talented actors. This is not the case because these actors can't rise above it. Kingston was not believable at all as a grieving groom. Cuthbert was ok in a small role in the pilot but nothing to write home about. Jane (Eliza Coupe) was too frantic and over the top. Her husband Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) tried too hard with forced "bros" and "chills." Max (Adam Pally) seems to be a one joke pony about being gay and Penny (Casey Wilson) also tries too hard to be the quirky and needy single girl. These actors did not show the promise of rising above bad writing and there doesn't really seem to be much chemistry between them despite the writers' desperate attempts.

Basically what we have here is another failed attempt to replicate the magic of Friends. But it's nowhere near Friends, it's not even close to Better With You and Mad Love. The best thing it has going for it is that it's not quite as bad as Perfect Couples, but that show was perhaps the worst new comedy of the year. This is one to skip out on.

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