Best TV Shows Ever #16: Happy Endings

by thethreepennyguignol

It’s been a very, very long time since I found a show I warmed to as quickly as Happy Endings. It’s got a bad rap for reasons I totally understand-I imagine most people tuned in expecting a reasonably generic sitcom with your run-of-the-mill romantic intrigue and quotable jokes. Happy Endings, though, is a six-person joke machine that has little to no interest in what you make of it. And it’s fucking brilliant.
Now, I’m not claiming other shows haven’t done this- the full-on dedication to jokes over character development and long plot arcs- but Happy Endings is the only one that made my cat come and check if I was okay because I was laughing so hard.

Aside from the laughs (and there are more than I could count on one hand- notice the two clips here because I couldn’t choose which was better), there’s also an interesting take on sexuality which crops up a few times in the series. One of the main characters, Max, is gay, but is pretty much the only non-stereotypical gay character I’ve seen on TV in, well, ever (at least as far as sitcoms go). A scrounger, a slob, and an utter prick at times, the laughs around him are generated from things that don’t revolve around him liking the dick. Similarly, in a later episode, it’s revealed that Jane, who is now married to a man, used to date and was once in love with a woman. The revelation isn’t treated with the nudge-wink pant I’ve seen in many other shows, but instead takes a very funny, pretty nuanced look at female sexuality.

Frankly, I know I’m reading far too much into this, and all I want you guys to know is that this show is one of the funniest I have ever seen. As very funny, very quick, and very clever shows go, you’re not going to beat Happy Endings. So don’t even try.

Watch If: You’re done with overused sitcom plots.

Stick Around Till: You see The Usual Suspects parody to end all Usual Suspects parodies.