There are just some shows that are ahead of their time and end up getting cancelled before they can really make a splash. Starz’s Party Down comes to mind as an example, and I bet Sarah could come up with so many more. Another show like that was Happy Endings. If you’re not familiar, Happy Endings aired on ABC from 2011 to 2013 and had three seasons. At first, the show was about a couple who breaks up and how their four mutual friends have to navigate the awkwardness of that, but the show eventually just ditches that premise to explore the crazy life of six friends living in Chicago. The pilot (and several other episodes) was directed by Joe and Anthony Russo who were also executive producers along with Jonathan Groff, David Caspe (the show’s creator), writer/producer Josh Bycel (Scrubs, Psych, & American Dad!) and Jamie Tarses (the first female President of ABC).
I know what you’re thinking. That premise sounds awfully similar to Friends or How I Met Your Mother. On the surface, it is. But the biggest difference is that there’s a chaotic energy to Happy Endings that’s lacking in both Friends and How I Met Your Mother. The writing is fast paced, quick witted, and uproariously funny in a way that isn’t particularly degrading to anyone. It’s why Friends and HIMYM have NOT aged well, but 8 years later Happy Endings is still just as funny. I watched an episode yesterday just to make sure.
The characters are also well crafted and fresh. They’re all a little bit bonkers, but it’s the combination of their quirks that makes the stories interesting and endearing. Each character can carry a storyline, and there isn’t one character that’s more enjoyable than the rest. Plus, for a show that started in 2011, it’s quite progressive in its character portrayals and story points. One character, Max (Adam Pally) is a gay man who fits none of the stereotypes often seen in gay characters.
Even though Happy Endings had a strong cult following, it didn’t have the broader appeal needed to keep it on air. In 2013, Happy Endings was abruptly cancelled, after being flung around airing slots by ABC. Sony TV, the show’s producer, almost struck a deal with USA to revive it, but it ultimately fell through as did talks with NBC-Universal.
Now, THR reports that ABC Entertainment’s new president, Karey Burke, said in an interview that a revival might be possible. “That is a dream of a lot of people at ABC. I’m hearing that there’s a remote possibility of something. It’s at the very beginning [stages].” What’s even more exciting is that ABC seems optimistic that David Caspe, the show’s creator, would be attached to the project once again, as would most of the cast, based on a statement they made three years ago. THR also notes that Jonathan Groff, one of the show’s executive producers and showrunners, stepped down from working on black-ish to focus on development for ABC studios. Maybe this is one of his projects?
In general, I hate reboots, remakes, and even revivals. They usually suck, ruin the original, or add nothing of value to the work. Plus, ABC screwed up the schedule last time, and I don’t know if I have the emotional fortitude to see Happy Endings cancelled again. However, I do believe that Happy Endings is a show that’s made for today’s zeitgeist and comedic appetite. The fact that having the original cast seems possible completely also adds weight to this rumour. We as an audience are finally primed for a show like Happy Endings, and even though it’s just whispers at this point, I’m glad ABC seems interested in making it happen.