Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pilot Review: Happy Together

Happy Together (CBS)
Premiered October 2 at 8:30pm

For fans of “New Girl,” checking into CBS this past Monday night was a chance to see Max Greenfield in “The Neighborhood” and Damon Wayans Jr., who started off on that show and then returned later on due to his commitment to “Happy Endings,” anchoring this one. Technically speaking, they’re both about two distinctly different sets of people trying to coexist, but there are plenty of things separating them. I suppose that Wayans’ Jake and Amber Stevens West’s Claire are a bit clueless about what’s hip today, though Felix Mallard’s Cooper also doesn’t understand how the real world works, so wowed by a pop tart that he wanted to get the recipe. We’ve seen shows in the past about people from extraordinarily unalike backgrounds being put together in the same place, and so far the most prominent running joke is that Cooper and his horrible ex-girlfriend Sierra believe that they’re so much older than them (in actuality, the more senior couple is in their thirties, while the younger two are twenty). That could get old quick, and the combined energy of Jake and Claire is what makes this show work best. Wayans is fun, but it’s West who really gives this show its stamp of excitement. I thought I had seen her somewhere before, and it turns out she was the one good thing about the pilot of “The Carmichael Show.” Stephnie Weir was an odd standout on “The Comedians” and I’ll always think of Chris Parnell as Dr. Spaceman on “30 Rock,” and, if used in the right doses, it’s possible that those two could contribute well in the supporting/recurring cast. This show isn’t horrible, but it’s not good either.

How will it work as a series? He’s moving back in with them, which shouldn’t present much of a problem if they reign in their excessive partying, though it appears that the paparazzi is very aware of where he’s staying, which sort of defeats the purpose. Predictable antics will ensue, and presumably any big blowout fights or major issues will be resolved temporarily at the end of every half-hour.
How long will it last? The reviews aren’t good, puzzlingly a bit worse even than those for “The Neighborhood,” but, more significantly, the ratings were lower. It’s rare that networks launch two comedies back-to-back that both work, and if that one is going to succeed, I think that this more tolerable effort is going to be the one to fail, likely being pulled before or by the time its initial episode order airs.

Pilot grade: C

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