'Happy Endings - The Complete Series'
(Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson, et al / 6-Disc Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2011-2013) 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Take six twentysomething Chicago friends, add cocktails and hormones, shake and you've got Happy Endings, the hilarious comedy that asks: "When a couple splits, who gets to keep the friends?"
Dave (Zachary Knighton, TV's Flashforward) finds fulfillment manning a food truck after losing his hot fiancé, Alex (Elisha Cuthbert, TV’s 24), at the altar. Alex's type-A sister, Jane (Eliza Coupe, TV's Future Man), is almost happily married to horn-dog Brad (Damon Wayans Jr., TV's New Girl).
Dave's roommate, Max (Adam Pally, TV's The Mindy Project), is a gay, sports-loving slob, and Penny (Casey Wilson, TV's SNL) is on the prowl for a good man ... or men!
Blu-ray Verdict: The idea and character outlines here within the three season run of 'Happy Endings' definitely had the potential of a long running masterpiece of satire, but the build of the episodes makes you wonder whether it's supposed to be a sitcom or a drama.
And therein lies the issue the network, and ultimately the viewers had with it as it hit it's third season. It has all the components for the love and loss drama, but lacks of any actual drama.
Never does a conflict span over more than one episode, it always end on good terms, making it feel like petty bickering, missing the real character development and depth that you'd want, and yet there are jokes scattered every which way but loose!
That said, and at the very same time, it's not nearly enough jokes or characters with lack of insight to mark it comedy either! At some point you start wondering if it was just a 'How I Met Your Mother' rip-off.
The plot from the off is Alex Kerkovich (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves Dave Rose (Zachary Knighton) at the altar. This leaves the group of six friends in chaos and they decide to ignore it to maintain their friendships.
Alex's sister Jane (Eliza Coupe) is married to Brad Williams (Damon Wayans Jr.). Max Blum (Adam Pally) is Dave's gay best friend. Penny Hartz (Casey Wilson) is the hopelessly single gal.
Six friends with interlocking lives, it sounds familiar. But unlike Friends, these six are sardonic and self-involved like Seinfeld while the jokes come come interspersed within some harder hitting moments.
Still I can't kill it completely, cause there are a few funny moments and there still is a story line that develops. Sadly, it still feels like creator David Caspe was a bit to green to pull a thing like this off completely for he doesn't have the nuts to pull hard enough in one direction to make it stick out from the crowd (and land safely in any described genre).
For what it's worth, 'Happy Endings' gave its viewers (and its characters) credit for having a brain and for being able to know when things are funny. Which they are, often (just not enough to be a sitcom, of course). Max is probably the standout, but pretty much all the characters are a good mix of clever and ridiculous. They're also - what a relief - genuinely self-deprecating!
In closing, and sadly, they never got high ratings and the show was canceled after 3 seasons, but did it deserve to be? In my humble opinion, no, as I think (having now watched all 57 episodes) that the show could have run like Friends, but it was living in that show's shadow. In summary, it was a good cast, with good chemistry ... including Wayans Jr. (who was a terrible fit on New Girl, but he works here). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of: