'HAPPYish - Season One'
(Steve Coogan, Bradley Whitford, Kathryn Hahn, Sawyer Shipman, et al / 2-Disc DVD / R / 2015 / Showtime - CBS DVD)
Overview: On his birthday, Thom Payne gets the gift of insignificance and also a new boss. He suspects his ED pills are interfering with his anti-depressants, leaving him with neither happiness nor... happiness. In a culture that reveres youth - a culture he helped create - Thom needs to figure out what his purpose is now that he's halfway to death and nobody cares what he thinks.
DVD Verdict: Going into this, sitting down to binge watch all ten (10) of the episodes one-after-another, the ONLY thing I knew about the show was this: That due to Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, Steve Coogan had replaced Hoffman for the lead role of Thom Payne.
Nothing else. Nada. So, as it started, and knowing all about the British comedian's films, comedy routines, and such beforehand only, I actually didn't like it. Didn't get on board with it. Felt it was all, well, too contrived and a shambles of unbelievable nonsense! Well, that QUICKLY changed - to a point, as I was actually midway through the second episode when I finally "got it" - and come the end of each episode I was launching the next one immediately. One complete evening's viewing of 'HAPPYish' and I am now hooked beyond belief! Season 2, where the f**k are you?
Labelled from within as a "midlife fairy tale,", 'Happyish reminds me of Woody Allen's movies: the protagonist is troubled with existential crisis and the show deals with different aspects of media culture, current corporate climate, parenthood and middle age. It gives us a strong social commentary and the critique of contemporary culture. It juxtaposes the new world of young and cocky executives with the world of middle aged people who are trying to find their place in this new and fast-changing world.
Indeed, when Lee talks about her "bubble", she mentions that she is not on Facebook or Twitter, in that way she protects her family from outside intruders. I like that message a lot. When I think about it, I see a lot of families who share photos of their children on social network sites, some even open Facebook profiles for their newborn babies. People document every mundane experience and post about it - we've became extremely narcissistic and dependent on approval of others through fishing for Facebook "likes" and such.
However, I digress. Pertinent questions are asked and answered in this show. We've all stopped to think about the meaning of things and of life itself from time to time. This show is so brilliantly written that it will, most certainly, bring up that one question you keep asking yourself and your friends. It will deconstruct it and turn it into something laughable.
'HAPPYish' is truthful, wry, honest, and cerebral. One of the best shows (sadly underrated and overlooked) in the so called "golden age of television", that tries to touch the vexed question of "happiness" in modern world and address the "tragic sense of life" in a roundabout way and blended with humor.
In short, 'HAPPYish' is a GREAT new series. Very inspiring - but watch it with the attitude that much of what is depicted is metaphorical. It leaves the viewer to ponder what it is that they gave up to be just another cog in the machine. Trust me, it will make you Happy-ish!! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and sadly, weirdly, doesn't come with any Special Features!