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An Open Letter from ABC to the People They Respect Least in the World: "Happy Endings" Viewers

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | March 22, 2013 | Comments ()


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Dear Television Viewers --

This is the ABC Television Network. You may know us best as the network that airs "Modern Family," "Suburgatory," "Once Upon a Time," and "Scandal." We're not having a great year in the ratings, but thankfully, NBC is such a sh*tshow that hardly anyone notices little old us, even though our reality flagship, "Dancing with the Stars" is wavering, and we've been reduced to airing a sitcom about suburban aliens all year long.

But listen. Recently, we had to cancel a show called "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23" even though, to be honest, it's one of the best shows we had on our schedule. But that's the way it goes, you know? A 1.1 rating just doesn't cut it, unless, again, you're NBC (suckers!). But now we have this other show. It's called "Happy Endings." We LOVE it. It's the best show on our slate. Critics love it, too. And those who watch it, swear by it. We have a ton of faith in this show, although you probably wouldn't know it the way we've been tinkering with it. It used to occupy the cozy post-"Modern Family" time slot, then we had to move it to Tuesdays, where it has suffered up against "New Girl" and "Go On" (whose dumb idea was it to schedule it then? Oh, right. Yeah, sorry about that).

Anyway, we moved it to Sundays at 10 p.m. for a few weeks, which is basically the worst time slot in of the week for a sitcom, but you know, if you really loved "Happy Endings" you'd follow it, right? THIS IS ON YOU.

But seriously, we really do love it! We know that some of you have continued to follow the show, even though we've been jerking your asses around basically since the beginning, threatening you with cancelation, shifting the time slot, and most recently, replacing your beloved "Happy Endings" with "Celebrity Wife Swap" (did you see that episode where Coolio and Mark McGrath swapped families? Awesome!) and our new reality show, "Splash," which features overweight D-list celebrities like Louie Anderson plunging off a diving board!

louie-anderson-dive.gif

Good stuff!

Now we know those shows are not as good as "Happy Endings," but hey! America loves dumb things, and we have to value and respect dumb people because, you know, they pay the bills. So we took "Happy Endings" off the air for a month or so, long enough for you to forget about it, and we've decided to move the show to Friday, where we're going to air two episodes a night for a few weeks. JUST FOR YOU.

Look: We know it's super inconvenient for viewers, and honestly, we're surprised a the few of you who do watch have stuck with the show this long (suckers!). But here's what we want to you to do: We want you to stay home next Friday night and watch "Happy Endings." Because only you, the viewer, can save our best sitcom from cancelation. Oh, sure, sure: We could do it. I mean, we have that power. In fact, it'd be pretty easy to do. And sure, we could put it in a better time slot, and maybe stop moving it around the schedule, and make it easier for you to keep up with it, and actually demonstrate a little good faith effort toward the funniest show on our slate. But we want you to work for it, because we're sadistic assholes. And listen: If enough of you stick around and watch both episodes and tell all your friends (i.e., promote the show for us), we might keep it around another year. Sure, we'll probably cut the budget and episode order in half, and air it intermittently throughout the year on different nights, but we might keep it. THAT'S HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU.

In fact, to demonstrate our faith in this show, we're going to support it with this 15-second commercial that we'll probably air twice during local newscast. YOU'RE WELCOME.

"Save Happy Endings." Or don't. Whatever.


Eloquent Eloquence: Sartorially Corrected Edition | 6 Things You Must Know Today to Be an Informed Citizen of the World Wide Web


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Hey there, Internet! I'm the fan behind the somewhat global "Save Happy Endings" campaign, and my little petition has 900 signatures in a tad over 3 weeks. Go here https:goo.gl/XREX6 to help, and thanks again!

  • draeton

    At this point, the networks are serving a valuable social purpose: they teach each new generation that everything we love will eventually die.

  • Pat

    Your move, TBS.

  • I love Happy Endings and I'm totally with you. HOWEVER, that suburban aliens show you're dissing is not bad. Seriously. Those of us who have hung in there have been very pleasantly surprised at how it has developed.

  • Three_nineteen

    The Neighbors is indeed good. Not great, not "oh my god you have to watch this show!", but good and sometimes very good. I laughed out loud at this week's episode more times (2) than I did at this week's episode of Subugatory (1).

  • Devin McMusters

    "The Neighbors" is the best!

  • Slash

    Television makes so much at its worst that it can't afford to do its best.

    Fred Friendly

  • Sara_Tonin00

    That Anderson gif looks about how I did my bungee jump (just much, much higher, over a beautiful blue New Zealand river)

  • Drake

    Hopefully also with far less splash.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yes, though it was a water touch jump. (sidebar: anyone else get broken capillaries from a bungee jump?)

  • dizzylucy

    In a weird way, I almost don't blame them for initially moving it. I just looked up season 2's ratings - it was consistently on right after Modern Family that whole season, and had a steady decline that basically halved the season premiere's numbers by the finale. Modern Family declined over the season as well, but not by as much.

    I do blame them for moving it all over the place, taking it off the air for weeks or months at a time, and airing episodes not just out of order, but showing previously unaired season 2 stuff in the middle of season 3. If you're trying to hang onto a quality show, that is not the way to do it.

  • Sigh...I love this show so much and I'm going to be so bummed when they cancel it.

  • For me, the big takeaway the past couple of years is that I tend to like TV shows that aren't built to generate massive ratings (Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead aside). That works just fine for cable and shows like It's Always Sunny and Archer on FX (though less so for something like Terriers - still gotta pull in SOME numbers, especially as an hour long procedural), but the networks haven't adapted yet, and frankly can't alter their business model to the degree it would take them as much as they would need to in order for something like Community or Happy Endings to make a lot of sense for them to continue throwing money at. Frankly it's to NBC's credit that they are taking such a shit kicking because they have had the guts to stick by low rated but critically successful comedies like 30 Rock and Parks and Rec far longer than most networks would have. Which doesn't excuse them from their general boneheadedness altogether, but it is something to consider. It just doesn't make sense for broadcast networks to cater to a niche market, and in the end of the day (and we can argue about the tastes of the masses another time) I think we're learning that with few exceptions, the single camera comedy is not built for broad audiences.

  • Captain D

    It's odd reading about what great television shows like Happy Endings are from the same people that decry the lack of redeeming qualities for shows like TBBT. Is it possible if the Neilsen ratings were reversed these same people would do a 180? Ask yourself, though, do you really enjoy HE and find the jokes to be side splittingly funny, or are you more enthused by the timing of the delivery?

  • Steph

    It's nowhere near as bad as TBBT but, from the maybe five episodes I've seen, it's distinctly mid tier and nowhere near great stuff like Parks and Community. It's biggest problem is it relies too much on that thing where characters yell weird stuff at each other with no comic timing and it's almost funny but not quite. New Girl is the same.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Well you know what they say, its not a good gang hang until someone takes a shot to the face.
    So the answer is NO.Your comment is so whack its first name should be Knick Nack Paddy.

  • Ruthie O

    TBBT relies on antiquated notions of gender, race, and sexuality to make its jokes. Leonard will do anything (including see bad rom coms!) for sex, because, HAHAHAHA, all men are wired to care about sex above all things. Raj is a professor of astrophysics who got to his prestigious position without ever talking to women! [Because, you know, there are absolutely no women involved in the sciences, no women in his labs, no women professors, no women on the interview panels. (Yes, I know there are women scientists on the show now, but that still doesn't explain how far Raj got in his career without ever talking to a woman sober)] HAHA. Raj likes to do traditionally feminine things, but he isn't GAY and he's offended by the assumption HAHAHA because being a gay male is FUNNY and kinda weird, you know? HA. Before Howard got married, his whole schtick was sexually harassing and objectifying women because THAT IS HILARIOUS.

    The thing is that while TBBT can be mildly enjoyable, its humor relies on stereotypes rather than challenges them. Happy Endings continually finds ways to put its lovable characters into ridiculous situations, and at the same time, resists so many of the common stereotypes about gender, race, and sexuality in a way that is frankly somewhat radical on a network sitcom.

  • Captain D

    So the virtue of Happy Endings is that it has at least one character that plays against stereotypes (Brad)? How is the portrayal of Penny in Happy Endings any better than those of the char in TBBT if you take issue with those antiquated notions of gender, race, and sexuality?

  • L.O.V.E.

    Are you crazy? Are you a crazy person? Have you lost your mind?

    Stop it. Just stop it. You are making me angry. And you don’t want to make me angry, dude, cause when I get angry, I get naked, and when I get naked, I fight.

    http://janeyoucrazy.tumblr.com...

  • Milly

    I continue to watch TBBT but I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's out of habit or that it occupies that first 20 minute window on a Friday evening where I can eat my tea before the playlist kicks into Cougar Town, Don't Trust the B, 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, Happy Endings, It's Always Sunny, Archer and Community (in that order but not all of them are there at the same time). I pay no attention to it, and am often too focussed on my eating.

    But while I may have had enthusiasm for the show, before it became this MASSIVE hit that resulted in a lot of the actual intelligent discussion being removed (and yes, the first season had interesting scripts and well written and thoughtful jokes), an episode from the last series really pissed me off to the point where I became one of those people who write angry emails to the producers (bear in mind I'm torrenting the programme in the first place!).

    The episode where Leonard meets his bully from high school, and it goes through the boxes of blame, acceptance, moving on, closure and all that stuff until right at the end the joke is that - ho ho ho - the bully didn't learn any lesson and so Leonard became the target again for bullying and cue the audience laughter.

    Fuck. That.

    As an addendum, I'll ignore for a moment that the principal cast, save for Jim Parsons, appears to distance themselves immediately from any form of intellectual interests or passions about games, comics, collectables/toys etc and seem to think that it is a negative thing to be associated with that. But it's ok to collect your paycheque taking the piss out of it, right? Wankers.

    Actually, the above might be convincing enough for me to no longer watch it.

  • PaddyDog

    I'll accept that all that is true but then why do shows like The Mindy Project get a free pass, even a big recommendation from many on this site, when it relies even more heavily on outdated stereotypes? She's a gynecologist who has no interest in medicine, but is obsessed with pop culture. Her only goal in life is to find a man, while the male members of the practice actually seem to enjoy their jobs (coz for them a job isn't a placeholder until marriage).

  • Jezzer

    Were you reading the same site I was, Paddy? The Mindy Project was getting panned on here left and right. It only recently started being described as "better," which isn't a rousing endorsement. "Girls" is the only show that gets a free pass around here, dammit.

  • Ruthie O

    For the first few episodes, I totally agree with you. Like New Girl, The Mindy Project struggled with the lead character for quite a few episodes. I stopped watching after the third episode. But then friends and blogs encouraged me to give it a go again, and I see that the show is trying to figure Mindy out.

    What I've noticed happening in the last six or so episodes is Mindy slowly realizing that the myth she subscribes to is bunk. She goes to the Empire State Building with a guy, only for him to announce his love for another woman. She has a chance to be a personality on a popular news show, but she gives it up to stay with a patient. She takes a day off from the office because the guys are belittling her; by the end of the day, they have to beg her to come back to fix things. The show has started to show her as a capable doctor and career woman, and each episode, her expectations of life are evolving.

  • Luke Anthony Matthews

    To be honest, I don't think the blame here lies with ABC. Yes, they have given it shit scheduling once it moved to Sunday. But the truth is, as much as I love the show, it wasn't even doing too well when it airing behind Modern Family. I wasn't even sure we were going to get a season three after the ratings for the last season. My only hope now is that they want a fourth season just for syndication purposes. I think that's the only hope left.

  • Jezzer

    "Happy Endings" is a show I torrent, not because I'm a horrible pirate who's trying to buck the system and doesn't care if the show fails, but because I NEVER KNOW WHEN THE FUCK IT'S GOING TO BE ON.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Torrents are out, like, totally. If you wanna be cool, you stream.

  • Jezzer

    Hipsters and trendsters aren't cool. Ever.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I should have used the irony font.

  • TheReinaG

    I wish I had more than one upvote to give this.

  • Deep Dish

    Also, it's one of the few major networks shows (excluding CBS) that isn't on Hulu. Seriously. Fuck ABC.

  • TheReinaG

    ... I watch it on Hulu. Because it's on Hulu.. Maybe your Hulu is different than mine, but I definitely watch this show on Hulu...

  • Wembley

    Remember folks-the first 5 rows are a 'Splash Zone', so dress appropriately!

  • Jezzer

    That was awful. And it totally made me rethink my joke about him jumping back out of the water to snatch a herring off the high dive in his teeth.

  • nachosanchez

    Why not sell the rights to NBC, it'd be their highest rated show, and it would FINALLY be a decision NBC didn't horribly fuck up.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Never underestimate NBC. They'd fuck up the decision by not buying it.

  • Kballs

    Seriously, what the fuck is Louis Anderson doing? Whoever didn't stop him from falling off that high dive should be axe-kicked in the ballsgina.

  • bleujayone

    Louie Anderson's Nestea Death Plunge seemed less like learning to dive into a pool and more like the pilot for a new show called "Suicide For Pussies". Tune in again next time where we'll see more aborted attempts by D-Listers in the form of crashing into walls at full speed in bumper-cars, failed exsanguinations via plastic cutlery, hangings with bungee cords and bouts of full frontal public nudity with waxing also known as death by shame. Just kidding....they have no shame.

  • BAM

    If I had a nickel for every time someone said "we did this for you..."

  • ViciousTrollop

    I'm surprised ABC hasn't asked us to pay for a new season by starting a Kickstarter campaign.

    I'm going to be so bummed if (when) they cancel my favorite show.

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