Where were you when Happy Endings premiered? Do you remember? The ABC sitcom ran from April 13, 2011 to May 3, 2013, an all-too-short run for a show that had a deep bench of comedy talent. Created by David Caspe (now one of the executive producers on Showtime's Black Monday and NBC's Kenan) Happy Endings was like an alt-universe Friends, only funnier and willing to go to weirder places. In a beautiful showbiz happy ending of its own, the show was also where Caspe and his future wife, Casey Wilson, met and started dating. They were married in 2014 and now have two adorable sons. You have to love that the guy who created a show called Happy Endings actually got a happy ending of his own.
The cast contained multitudes with an incredibly strong lineup of players: Wilson was the romantically challenged Penny Hartz, Adam Pally was wiseguy Max, Eliza Coupe was the high-strung Jane, Damon Wayans Jr. played Jane's hubby Brad, Elisha Cuthbert starred as Alex - Jane's sister and the woman at the center of the show as it kicked off with Alex deserting her fiance, Zachary Knighton's Dave, at the altar.
Even though the show was canceled too soon, it's not possible or even necessary to pick a favorite episode because it's one of those comedies where you can drop in and lose yourself in the jokes at any point. When the show originally aired, ABC aired many episodes in a different order than the writers intended. Luckily, that never made the show any less funny or less watchable. If we have to pick a few favorites though, there are some that stick out.
Start at the beginning with "The Pilot Episode." - Like any good pilot, the episode set up the friend group and the "inciting incident" in which Alex and Dave do not get married as expected, but the friend group survives and continues to thrive together. The show truly reflected real life in how messy, awkward and weird these situations can be, and it found a lot of humor in that as well. Meanwhile, we still don't consider it spring until we've watched "The Butterfly Effect Effect" (Season 2, Episode 15) in which Brad and Jane are about to have their annual fight and Max is in bear mode, literally hibernating at Dave's house until the fight happens. The image of an overly hairy Adam Pally as Max the Bear remains in our TV brain to this day. Also in Season 2 is "Big White Lies" which features Penny, Alex, and Jane try to shake an old acquaintance who wants to reconnect with the gang. Enjoy all the Three's Company references and the fact that Ben Falcone (Melissa McCarthy's real-life husband) plays the pesky landlord. The episode is also a non-stop festival of sitcom cliches played to great comic effect.
Happy Endings also had some of the greatest holiday episodes. "Spooky Endings" is a Halloween episode that provides the forever-delightful treat Brad and Jane housesitting in the suburbs and Brad trying to deal with trick-or-treaters and perhaps the best TV Halloween costume ever created -- if you know, then you know. If you're more of a Christmas fan, "No-Ho-Ho" forces Jane to reveal that she's been lying about her birthday because it's really December 25 and she hates that it's always been overshadowed by Christmas. The gang tries to give her a Christmas-less birthday, but it doesn't quite work.
But honestly, all of the episodes of Happy Endings are worth rewatching. That's why the actual best way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary is to just binge-watch the show, whether you're a die-hard fan or someone looking for a new comedy to enjoy. And you have multiple ways to watch! All three seasons of Happy Endings are available to stream on Hulu and HBOMax.