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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Happy Endings’ filled with outrageously good writing

Published: February 7, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

Americans have poor taste in television. There I said it. We rarely know when to let a show die. Take “The Office” for example. In Britain, the show survived two seasons (referred to there as a series) and a Christmas special. Ricky Gervais, never one to let his shows continue past their expiration date, ended his show gracefully, with the audience still craving more but satisfied with where he left it. In America, on the other hand, we are taking a very dead horse and beating it to a pulp.

Conversely, Americans sometimes don’t know when to let a show live. As an obvious example, “Arrested Development” was canned far too early. I know we are all beyond thrilled that the show is coming back, but if you’re like me, you’re angry you didn’t realize the brilliance of that show before it was taken off the air.

Now is our chance, my fellow Brandeisians, to save a show so wonderful, so hilarious that we simply cannot let it die. I am not talking about “Community,” though please save that show too; I am talking about ABC’s “Happy Endings.”

The show is about six friends (three male, three female) who live in Chicago. Two are married (Jane and Brad), two were almost married (one, Alex, left the other, Dave, at the altar), and the other two are, well, relationship-challenged (Max and Penny). This is not “Friends,” though. “Happy Endings” holds no punches with its well-crafted dialogue about gender roles, racial issues, sexual orientation and religion.

The show is funny. Like laugh out loud funny. Like “Modern Family,” the early seasons, funny. This season, the character Max, takes on a job hyping Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Max is later joined by Brad and together they create the hype duo, Boys II Menorah. It was perfection.

There are countless pop culture references, from the gang dressing up as the Jackson 5 (complete with Joe Jackson) to an outrageously well-done allusion to “Usual Suspects.” Occasionally, genres are mixed resulting in a ZZ Top Gun situation.

It’s likely impossible to convey just how worthwhile this show is, but trust me on this. Each week, a friend of mine and I exchange our favorite quotations from that week’s episode, and half of the time, I can’t pick only one and we end up having a back and forth. This means that every single week there are quotable moments. If that’s not a testament to outrageously good writing on a show, I don’t know what is.

There is even a website dedicated to posting gifs from the show. If you were to Google “F Yeah Happy Endings,” you would find it.

So yes, my dear Brandeisians, there is a perfect show on ABC and you are not watching it. You probably haven’t even heard of it and it is in its third season. This is why “Happy Endings” is in danger of being canceled. ABC hasn’t outright said it, but after “Don’t Trust the B” was canceled, I am pretty sure “Happy Endings” is next on the chopping block.

Do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s on Tuesday nights at 9:30 and occasionally also at 9 EST on ABC. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotations from the Boys II Menorah episode:

“You saw him cramp up during the Horah and he was nowhere to be found when ‘Shout’ came on. No one could get even the slightest bit louder and at no point could anyone get even at all softer.” Enjoy.