Friday, April 15, 2011

Pilot Review: Happy Endings

Happy Endings (ABC)
Premiered April 13 at 9:30pm

ABC is working hard to ensure that it has a steady lineup of sitcoms ready for Wednesday night, to the point that it can’t fit them all in its two-hour block and had to wait for one to finish its run for this one to premiere and then necessitate it being bumped to the 10pm slot starting next week. I say this mainly because it doesn’t seem that we need another show about friends who were supposed to be married trying to give their non-romantic relationship a shot again. Maybe it’s also because there isn’t a single laugh to be found in this entire pilot. That presumably sounds far more damning than it’s meant to, since this isn’t all bad or terribly off-putting; it just doesn’t have much in the way of appeal. Zachary Knighton and his hopeless quest for his mysterious love was easily the most boring part of “Flash Forward,” and therefore I don’t much care whether he wins back the girl of his dreams. Additionally, all of his antics were highly original and rather obnoxious in his post-wedding mourning period. When I read that Elisha Cuthbert was in this pilot, I was intrigued, but the moment she opened her mouth at the ceremony, I remembered that she is not actually a very talented actress. Hopefully this will be better than her work on “24,” but I don’t have high hopes. Eliza Coupe was much better in the final two seasons of “Scrubs,” and no one from the supporting cast, including Damon Wayans Jr., son of the eccentric comedian, stands out. This show feels like any number of series I’ve seen before, and about as unengaging as “Romantically Challenged” from last year. I’m willing to give it another shot in the name of a Wednesday night comedy block, especially since I only currently watch two of ABC’s programs on that evening, but I don’t have high hopes.

How will it work as a series? While some members of the group search for true love, the others will search for friendship with each other. It’s not exactly a novel premise, and there are too many preexisting couples within the group – one actual couple and another former couple – that there isn’t much freedom for them to go anywhere creative. It’s a sitcom, so it will likely not so boldly go where so many sitcoms have gone before.
How long will it last? The premiere numbers were good, but not as good as those of “Mr. Sunshine.” Still, it’s not overly significant since it’s more about whether ABC wants to hold on to this show as part of its block, and with five other series in the running for four slots, I don’t see this one as having the lasting power, both story-wise or ratings-wise, to make it to next season.

Pilot grade: C

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