When the perfect couple breaks up after a long-term relationship, which partner gets to keep the mutual best friends?
ABC's new sitcom, Happy Endings explores that very question, chronicling the split of Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), the couple that, for years, acted as a gravitational center to a tight-knit group of pals.
The first two episodes of the season, which aired on April 13, dove into the details of the split—Alex leaves Dave at the altar, signaling the beginning of big changes for the former couple and their inner circle. Roommates were shifted, bad dates were had, but in the end, everyone was ready to make the new changes work.
Those changes kick off in the first of wednesday's back-to-back episodes, by chronicling newly-single Alex's first foray into dating post break-up, thanks to a sneak-attack double date planned by Penny (Casey Wilson). At first Alex is hesitant, until her friends admit that Dave has been dating around, and is "on fire" like John Mayer (which, for the curious, is more intense than Leo Dicaprio on fire).
Almost immediately, Alex runs into Dave's upstairs neighbor (who happens to be living in his ceiling and stealing food at night) and plans a date. Later the truth about the mysterious neighbor—and how Dave is handling the breakup—unexpectedly shifts the outcome of the evening.
Meanwhile, Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), the only romantic pair left in the group, attempt to find a new, more sophisticated couple to hang with. In the process, they find this classy couple is looking for more than just friendship. The Suburban Swingers Club
Finally, Dave's gay roommate Max (Adam Pally) begs the girls to be his beard when his parents are in town, as he deems that easier than simply coming out to the. Perenially single Penny ditches a blind date only to stumble upon a handsome suitor whose last name happens to be Hitler.
While ABC's Happy Endings provides an interesting glimpse at the post-split dynamic, it barely lives up to its title as a sitcom, as the laughs are pretty nonexistent throughout each 30-minute episode. The double-whammy of back-to-back episodes also seems like a stretch, as the storyline currently leaves lots to be desired that cannot be fulfilled by stretching it to fill two time slots.
Despite a lack of laughs, the dialogue is honest and quirky, and the characters experience a believable mix between the absurd and the banal. That realistic spin alone makes Happy Endings worth a watch.
See for yourself by tuning into Happy Endings on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.