Monday, May 6, 2013

Can ABC's Happy Endings be Saved? And should we care?

Posted By on Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:47 PM

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The premise? When Dave is left at the alter by Alex, the couple’s group of friends is left to pick up the pieces while trying not to overcomplicate their own lives.

This much is true, for about two episodes. The ABC comedy focusing on a group of thritysomethings in Chicago has never fit into a neatly labeled niche. Friday’s season, and possibly series, finale saw the end of Alex and Dave once again, but this time I found myself interrupting the spurt of drama to say, “I don’t give a shit.” Their story no longer mattered. Happy Endings is as plotless as Seinfeld, as quotable as Cheers, and as best-friendly as Friends. The issue falls more on the marketability of the show. Ultimately, Happy Endings is the funniest show on television, and you’re not watching. The series that was poised to be a classic will-they-won’t-they eventually found itself growing into something entirely different: a comedy of character. Best described as an emphasis on characterization in lieu of plot, a comedy of character is what produces the preposterous yet beautiful couple of Brad Williams and Jane Kerkovich-Williams, the self-deprecating but triumphant Penny Hartz, and, well, the character of Max Blum. A man who hibernates until spring, hustles the streets with an illegal limo service, pretends to be straight to get Bulls tickets and makes every pop culture reference imaginable could only be TV’s modern Cosmo Kramer, Max Blum. Friday’s finale finds Max referring to Jane’s handling of maid of honor duties as “Jane you're actin extra nuts, and I'm not talking about mistaking the teaspoon with tablespoon kinda nuts I'm talking about Mel Gibson downing a 5 hour energy and showing up at a Bar Mitzvah kinda nuts.” Season three capped off its run with a ratings boost of 33%, however it was up from last week, which marked a series low. Regardless of ratings, ABC knows it has something special. Hell, they even sparked a petition to get the ball rolling for fans to save Happy Endings. After all, it is hovering in syndication territory if it can hold out for just one more season. There are three possible ends to the show that has made it through more hurdles than Zach Morris at Bayside High: pending doom reigns and the series gets canned, or, ABC swears off ratings - and therefore advertising money - to renew the show for one more season. The third, and most desperate, would be the recent talk of USA Network picking up the show for its new line-up. If Cougar Town could squeeze one last drop of half-wit suburbia tales by switching networks, we can only wait in hopes that Friday was not the sounding death rattle for Happy Endings.

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