Ever since Friends became a hit for NBC, several networks have attempted to capitalize on the “friendship comedy” but have been unsuccessful. This year alone, three different shows of the same formula (three guys + three girls + relationships + friendships + bromances) have popped up, like Fox’s Traffic Light and NBC’s Perfect Couples (the latter has already been canceled).
So when Happy Endings showed up with a similar premise, I was skeptical. (And Elisha Cuthbert doing comedy? The Quiet wasn’t so hilarious.) But I do like SNL alum Casey Wilson, it has a gay character (male), and it’s based in Chicago (as am I), so I decided to give it a go. And I am so happy I did.
On last week’s premiere, we’re introduced to the characters and their lives after Alex (Cuthbert) leaves her fiancee, Dave (Zachary Knighton) at the altar. This affects everyone in their friendship circle: Alex’s sister Jane (Eliza Coupe), Jane’s beau Max (Damon Wayans, Jr.), single gal Penny (Wilson) and Max, the straightest gay guy ever (Adam Pally). The debut episode had Alex searching for a new roommate, but being too trusting. She finally agrees to let her overbearing sister help her out. Meanwhile, Penny wants a “real” gay best friend and, deciding Max isn’t “gay” enough (he likes sports, not shopping), she finds a queeny Boystown-dweller who will brunch with her (played by Big Gay Sketch Show‘s Stephen Guarino).
The single-cam comedy is directed and produced by Anthony and Joe Russo (Arrested Development/Community), and I can officially confirm Cuthbert holds her own among her co-stars who have more comic experience. Scrubs veteran Eliza Coupe is great as the super high-strung but well-meaning Jane, and her resemblance to on-screen sis Cuthbert helps their conversations feel familial already.
You can watch the first episode of Happy Endings on ABC.com and tune in tonight for two new episodes, starting at 10 p.m. EST. Check out a preview in which Penny is too busy to be Max’s beard when his parents are in town and Alex gets offended when he’d rather have her sister fill in than her.
You should be watching. It’s the name of this column and everything! And if you’re interested in finding out more about the gay character Max, AfterElton.com has an interview with Adam Pally you’ll enjoy.