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TV Series Review

See Dave. See Dave at the altar. See Dave about to marry longtime girlfriend Alex. Congratulations, Dave and Alex!

See Alex. See Alex run. See Alex run out the church door with some nearly shirtless guy on rollerblades. Uh-oh, Dave. Are you sad, Dave? Do you want rollerblades too?

See Penny. And Max. And Jane. And Brad. They are Dave's friends. They are Alex's friends. They are conflicted. Now that Dave and Alex have split up, who will they hang out with? Who will they drink with? Who will they talk about sex with? Who will they talk about sex while drinking with? Poor friends. Poor, poor, morally bankrupt friends.

This is, in essence, the primary-reader setup for ABC's infantile sitcom Happy Endings: A tight-knit group of friends must start a new chapter when the clique's alpha couple suffers an ignominious split. Can anything ever be the same again?

In the real world, no. But in the kingdom of Sitcomlandia, of course it can. There, Dave and Alex can test the comical dating waters again. There, the romantic tension can be stabilized at just the right level to keep misguided viewers tuning in to see if Alex and Dave get back together. There, life can just keeping going on, much like it probably did before.

Max prattles on about his homosexual love affairs. Married couple Jane and Brad natter and nitpick. Jenny obsesses about her ever-rotating boyfriends. Zingers fly. Double entendres drop. In truth, it's hard to believe that any of these pals would be capable of changing, so immersed are they in antics they should've outgrown so very long ago.

Happy Endings takes its comic cues from  Modern Family and its pedigree from Friends. Then it leapfrogs both of those sitcoms in its quest to be randier, dirtier, duller and dumber. While the show can be funny in a "ha-ha" sort of way, it's more often funny in a "raw-chicken-smells-weird" sort of way.

In the pilot episode, Brad tells his friends that he and Jane are on a pre-pregnancy cleansing routine to help keep Jane's uterus "tidy." "No meat, no sugar, no booze," he says. But Happy Endings reverses that idea everywhere else: It cannot tolerate ethical behavior and compulsively squelches any trace of maturity, so it banishes such "contaminants" by pouring on the bad decisions and juvenile jukes. Casual sex is not just accepted, it's encouraged. Heavy drinking is not just allowed, it's expected. To say this sitcom's cadres of young adults behave like children is an insult to children everywhere.

Which gives us a thought for our own happy ending: See ABC viewers. See ABC viewers turn off the TV and toss around a Frisbee. Congratulations, viewers! Good job!

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Episode Reviews

HappyEndings: 4132011
HappyEndings: 4132011



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Zachary Knighton as Dave; Elisha Cuthbert as Alex; Eliza Coupe as Jane; Adam Pally as Max; Casey Wilson as Penny; Damon Wayans Jr. as Brad






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On Video

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Paul Asay

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