By Christina MurphyCOLUMNIST
If you think fireworks are overrated, barbeques are nothing more than an excuse to get eaten alive by mosquitoes and weekends in the Hamptons are a bit passe, then you probably wrapped up your summer the same way I did: on the couch watching Logo’s “Happy Endings” binge-athon.
In case some of you have forgotten, the premature cancellation of “Happy Endings” after just three seasons was one of the most unjust cancellations of a television show since “Freaks and Geeks.” With critical acclaim and a cult-like following, “Happy Endings” started as a mid-season replacement in 2011 and ran on ABC until it was axed in May of 2013.
To some viewers “Happy Endings” was just another sitcom about attractive twenty-somethings figuring out life in a coffee shop, which is understandable considering the series begins with a group of friends and a runaway bride. But to a conscientious viewer, the show is so much more. It manages to capture hilarious subtleties of tiptoeing around adulthood in the modern age with fast-paced dialogue laden with pop-culture references and over-the-top camp.
The foundation of the “Happy Endings” is the cast of players who all have strong improv backgrounds and vaguely familiar faces.
Jane (Eliza Coupe) is a type-A lunatic who might be a witch and wears a pair of dress shorts better than anyone else in Chicago. She is married to Brad (Damon Wayons Jr.), whom she met while filming “The Real World” during College. He has an affinity for 90s culture, which he expresses by dressing as Arsenio Hall for Halloween every year, and has a secret effeminate side.
Penny (Casey Wilson) is a perpetually single girl who typically finds herself in horrible dating mishaps. Always hell-bent on self-improvement, she adamantly believes in “The Secret” and celebrates a “year of Penny” but usually winds up getting physically or emotionally injured. Her counterpart is Max (Adam Pally), a character who has been praised by the media for being one of the few atypical gay characters on television. Max is sarcastic, sloppy, chubby, unmotivated, a compulsive schemer and loves the Bears.
Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) is a free-spirited ditz and is one half of the couple that the series initially revolves around. She leaves Dave at the alter for a guy on rollerblades in the series premiere because their relationship had become stale.
Dave (Zachary Knighton) is an "everyman’s man" who often refers to himself as being “the cool one” in the group while to the others he is noted for possessing qualities of someone who is “the worst.” He comes up with ridiculous business plans, quotes the Dave Matthews Band on the regular, gets his goatee frosted and takes advantage of being one-sixteenth Navajo Indian at every open opportunity.
While the cast of characters seems to have a familiar set up, it’s not anything that wasn’t done on purpose. The show frequently mocks the obvious parallels between “Happy Endings” and “Friends,” with one episode including Brad, in an anesthesia induced stupor, referring to each character by the name of their apparent Friends counterpart.
If you’re in the business of second chances, all three seasons are on DVD and can be found in a $5 bin at Target, and you can find most full episodes on Youtube. The show is also now syndicated on VH1 and Logo.
Happy Endings creator, David Caspe is giving it another go with “Marry Me” premiering on NBC this fall. He claims that the show is not a spin-off or continuation of “Happy Endings,” but promises it will pose a similar flare. “Marry Me” premieres Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. EST.