It has been seven long years since Happy Endings drew to a close after three excellent seasons of superb comedy. Last night, Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., and Casey Wilson reunited on Youtube for a very special, reunion ep. Aside from raising funds for Color of Change and José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, “Happy Endings Special Charity Event” also proved it’s about damn time this canceled-before-its time got renewed. It happened for Arrested Development, Futurama, and Full House. Last night’s ah-mazing ep proved none of this awesome ensemble has lost a step, and the writing is just as sharp as we remembered from the fifth time we binged every ep on Hulu. So, Hulu, where you at?
The new ep begins with Penny (Wilson) organizing a group Zoom call, which showed how each of her friends is handling quarantine. Max (Pally) is “outhouse sitting” with only edibles—like “weed steak”—as sustenance. Jane has gone into full-lockdown mode, focusing on “quacks” (quarantine hacks) that include making Brad self-isolate in Florida, where he was when the “pandemmy” hit. He’s handling the separation pretty well, except he misses his creams and lotions! HE’S USING JERGENS YOU GUYS!
As for Alex, she’s fallen down the treacherous rabbit hole of pandemic conspiracy theories, rants about “do-nothing Democrats,” hoaxes, and her new identity as Instagram live talent, DJ Be Nice. (She always was an Ellen stan.) Penny’s elated to share the news of her latest boyfriend, who is—as she will mention repeatedly—a doctor! Then there’s Dave, who missed ALL the news of the pandemic because he was “social media distancing retreat” with Jared Leto.
As ever, Happy Endings delivered jokes with rapid-fire dialogue that playfully piled on its plucky Chicagoans while dropping a slew of pop culture references. Dave name-dropped not only Jared Leto, but also Myspace, Suicide Squad, the celebrity embarrassment that was the “Imagine” video, Kony 2012, and fraudster Billy McFarland, because of course Dave lost all his money by buying tickets to Fyre Fest! All scoring nods were Soul Cycle, Cougar Town, Busy Philipps, Tomi Lahren (“Did I say that white? I mean, did I say that right?”), Poltergeist, “See You Again” - the Furious 7 jam from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth that paid tribute to Paul Walker, I Know This Much is True (A.K.A. “That Mark Ruffalo Show that nobody’s watching”), Argo, PEN15, Boondock Saints, Parasite and Tiger King, because of course Jane is a Carole Baskin fan.
Happy Endings’ writers did more than show they could lay down fresh pop culture jokes. They also gave fans callbacks with disses about Alex’s story, Penny diving into wedding obsession, Jane and Brad getting comically horny, Dave poorly explaining complex concepts, Max speed-talking and yelling, “HERE WE GO!” Plus, there were references to Rom-Com Con, them “thangs,” and catchphrase like Ah-mazing, so cyute, and DRAAAAAAAMMMMMAAAA! Yes, bitches. Stephen Guarino popped in to reprise the ever-ready-to-slay Derrick.
It didn’t matter that the show had to ditch its standard structure, which would follow the friends on a couple of intersecting adventures from dive-bars, brunch spots, weddings, and many, many, many awkward encounters. Within the structure of a 28-minute Zoom call, creator David Caspe recaptured the magic of the original series, bringing new laughs and a warm comfort that some things never change. Even when major changes hit the group!
I’m dancing around spoilers because I highly recommend you dive into this ep now and over and over. It’s a balm for an aching soul and a mind overrun by all the pressures of the pandemic and living in the darkest timeline. The Happy Endings reunion paints a world where Penny, Max, Alex, Jane, Brad, and Dave are still yukking it up, still piling on, still melting down, and still being an absolute and essential burst of comedy and joy.
With Hulu and Netflix seeking to renew shows that have long been shuttered, here’s hoping Caspe and company’s reunion will show there’s still an audience hungry for another Year of Penny and all the madcap comedy that entails.
Watch the Happy Endings reunion here:
Watch seasons 1-3 on Hulu.
Header Image Source: Youtube