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Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Happy Endings for "Blax, Snake, Home"

    The second season premiere of ABC's Happy Endings, "Blax, Snake, Home," finds Penny (Casey Wilson) buying herself a new home to kick off "Year of the Penny." Unfortunately, the place might be cursed. Max (Adam Pally) feels left out when Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) blows him off to hang out with his "black friends." Jane (Eliza Coupe) unwisely suggests that Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) could use some honesty in their friendship, now that they've been split a year.

     To get viewers up to speed on who the characters are, "Blax, Snake, Home" is a worthy episode. Penny over thinks things and has trouble with confidence, while staying overall upbeat. Dave and Alex work better as friends, instead of in an open, communicating relationship. Jane likes to get into everyone else's business. Max is very insecure. Brad loves his friends, but sometimes also loves some time apart from them. He also has a great marriage to Jane, as they forgive each other their eccentricities. Each of these core character elements are focused on in the season premiere, a wise move for a still-new series.

     Happy Endings is some pretty funny stuff. These distinct personalities all love each other, but still clash from time to time. The six actors who portray this update, new version of Friends have perfected the roles in the short time they've played them, so the timing and delivery of punch lines, as well as the chemistry in the group, are already locked in. It's a rare feat for a sitcom to be so finely honed in such a short amount of time, as Happy Endings premiered last spring. But once done, the writers and producers can relax a little bit. Happy Endings has reached that point.

     Of course, I'm not saying to get lazy. It's just that the show has already begun to look effortless, a vital element in a comedy that may run for at least a few years. It's business as usual, with no need for stunt or unnecessary drama. The characters do what they do, and everyone sits back and enjoys it.

     It's hard to name a standout in the group because they are all so good. Wilson is proving why Saturday Night Live cast her, though they never used her effectively. Coupe matures into a much more dynamic actress than allowed on Scrubs. Wayans is so good, one wishes he had time to do both this series and The New Girl, a pilot he made that was picked up. Pally stays just north of the annoying line, managing to stay likeable enough, which playing a very selfish character. Cuthbert and Knighton have the harder, straight man roles, but both also the the opportunity to play around, and reveal unexpected weirdness.

    If you're not watching Happy Endings, you should be. It airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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     To buy Happy Endings streaming episodes, please click here.

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