I love to spread the good news of shows that have been cancelled for a while but live on forever on streaming services. And one of these shows that I can’t resist shouting about from the rooftops is ABC’s critically-beloved comedy show Happy Endings.
It would be easy to compare this show to Friends, since it’s about a tight-knit group of three men and three women who do pretty much everything together. But unlike the original group on Friends, the gang on Happy Endings begins with a married couple named Brad and Jane, a gay guy who lives a slobby lifestyle named Max, a perpetually single gal named Penny and the recently-ended-their-relationship-at-the-altar duo named Dave and Alex. Instead of the seemingly infinite coupling options that helped keep Friends going, Happy Endings is all about the wacky antics and personalities of its dominant friend group without too much romantic tension.
So, what makes this show one of the handful of pop culture pieces that I will forever discuss in hopes of getting more people to watch it?
It Is One Of The Most Joke-Dense Pieces of Television I’ve Ever Seen
Sure, Happy Endings is worth watching as much as any good comedy show. But its real strength is in its RE-watchability.
My husband and I have re-watched this show at the same rate that many other folks might re-visit classics like The Office, Parks and Recreation or, of course, Friends. This means that it feels like I’ve re-watched Happy Endings approximately eleventy billion times (give or take a few).
The thing is, there are so many jokes packed into each episode of this show that it feels like something new makes me laugh every time. There are double-entendres flying coolly under the radar that would make you blush if you thought too hard about them. There are visual gags that make me want to do a spit-take. And there’s dialogue so rapid that it might even make the Gilmore Girls’ heads spin.
Each episode of Happy Endings feels like a precious comedy present, wrapped up in a traditional sitcom package.
The Characters Are Fantastic
Confession: one of my best friends and I got so attached to this zany group of friends that we used to joke and say, “Oh, well, I’m going to get home from work and watch a couple episodes of our friends later.” You know, totally normal stuff.
Obviously, we’d grown quite attached to the characters that make the world of Happy Endings go round. Though each of the characters have some cartoonish archetypal qualities (Jane is a meticulous perfectionist, Alex is a lovable doofus, Max is incapable of living like a normal adult, etc.), their interpersonal dynamics still seem grounded and relatable.
Interestingly, the main group is also made up of…shall we say…less-than-perfect individuals. They aren’t straight-up antiheroes, but the gang can absolutely exhibit moments of selfishness, cattiness, exclusivity, or ribbing jokes that they describe as “pile-ons.” Maybe it’s actually all of their flaws that make them so endearing in the long run.
It helps that the cast is packed with character actors like Casey Wilson, Elisha Cuthbert, Adam Pally and Damon Wayans, Jr. Each member of the core group is perfectly fit for their role, bringing the silliness to life with crackling comedic energy.
It’s Shockingly Quotable
I was once in a group of my actual friends, listening to a buddy talking about how their job had been annoying lately. My response, “Man, that is roof.” All of my friends looked at me, puzzled. That’s when I forgot: the world is not as fluent in Happy Endings bits as I am.
The above anecdote involves me quoting the line “That is roof stoof,” that the folks on Happy Endings often say when referring to rough stuff.
Much like any real friend group, the besties on Happy Endings speak with their own patter, inside jokes, and oft-repeated phrases. Soon, silly verbiage like “A-MAH-zing” and “roof stoof” will make a bunch of sense to you!
There are many more elaborate jokes worth quoting like any other good comedy bit (one of my favorites is about how if Mary Tyler Moore married and divorced a handful of other famous figures she could change her name to Mary Tyler Moore Tyler Moore Moore Moore). Just trust me—the verbal world of the characters on Happy Endings is a fun place to live for a while.
If you’re looking for a joke-dense hangout comedy to fill your time, I obviously can’t recommend Happy Endings highly enough. If you can’t wait to get in on the friend fun, you can stream all three seasons on Hulu. Trust me: It’s A-MAH-zing!