The Emmys are upon us, this Sunday to be exact, and as an annual viewer, today I revisited the list of nominees to pick out my favorites and who and what I thought were obvious winners. Lead Actor in a Drama; Bryan Cranston, no questions asked. Who gets the bizarrely ruled Mini Series; Steven Moffat’s Sherlock seems like a good choice. Christina Hendricks seems like an obvious choice for Best Actress in a Drama and Mad Men seems due an acting win. Down the list I went and every genre, every category, I had an opinion, except for when it came to Best Comedy Series, there I was stumped. The fact is, the list isn’t strong, overridden with shows that are picked on account of previous successes rather than current entertainment value. None of the nominated shows jumped out as deserving to me- no, not even Girls, I could never get past the obvious race issues and the fact that I will never be able to relate to such entitled characters.
There are plenty of shows on air currently that deserve accolades. Community, Parks and Recreation, Louis C.K., It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Wilfred and the unsung hero Happy Endings. There; I just created a whole new line up of deserving shows that are funny without being generic and make great use of all of their actors rather than piggy backing on one actors abilities (yes Jim Parsons is funny and convincing as Sheldon and I hope he has a great career but his performance shouldn’t garner all of these nominations for The Big Bang Theory).
Community and Parks and Rec. have their army of cult followers who will stomp their feet and complain about their favorite shows being routinely overlooked each season. However, out of all of the overlooked shows it’s ABC’s show Happy Endings that seems to be the forgotten comedic gem and out of all the ones mentioned it deserves a fair chance.
Of every show out there right now, Happy Endings deserved a nomination. Quick witted, packed with an amazing ensemble cast, and meta without being polarizing- Community I’m looking at you- Happy Endings is truly original in its pacing and storytelling.
It’s an ensemble show that uses each and every actor and zeros in on their strengths and then monopolizes on them. They play on tropes without becoming them, their jokes seem as if they’re directed at the characters rather than directed at the audience, as if waiting for a laugh track, and while romance is an occurring plot point, it’s not a distracting one.
The problem with other ensemble casts is their tendency to become lazy with the writing. Characters after a season of great development end up one note, and playing the same version of the character over and over. Modern Family’s star players used to be Gloria and Cam and yet after a season both of them became caricatures, bringing nothing special or new to eithers performance. That’s what Happy Ending’s is so good about. They know their characters, their flaws their strengths and exploit them to their fullest and most dimensional.
I believe it’s also worth noting how Max, played by the wonderful Adam Pally, is playing a gay character that is neither the butt of a joke nor forced to be the victim. Max is crude, obnoxious and gross and is lovable all the same. He is no stereotype and is one of a kind on television right now.
If anything, Eliza Coupe and Damon Wayans Jr. deserve to be recognized for their hilarious take on married couple Brad and Jane (arguable the best couple on TV, there, I said it). Coupe is perfectly neurotic, competitive and a type A personality without becoming a caricature and Wayans plays flamboyant and ridiculously charming, creating a wonderfully electric rapport.
This show very likely didn’t get a nom due to it not making the big bucks, along with the shows I mentioned above. So I’ll sit and watch with some irrational bitterness on Sunday as Modern Family gets another undeserved win-or worse Girls- and sulk on the fact that there is a highly enjoyable, smart, comedy about a group of diverse friends who’s main goal is to entertain themselves rather than hit every line, hit every mark to play into the general idea of “funny”, that is largely being ignored.
Happy Endings is back October 23rd, watch it and give it a fighting chance.