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Happyish centers on Thom Payne (Steve Coogan, The Trip), a 44 year-old struggling to find happiness. Tom seemingly has everything a man could hope for; a good job at an advertising company, a beautiful house, a loving wife (Kathryn Hahn, Crossing Jordan) who he actually still loves, and a six-year-old son he adores. Yet, Thom isn’t happy. Thom’s friend Dani Kirschenbloom (Ellen Barkin, The New Normal) tells him he already reached his joy ceiling, and that he will never get happier than this.

When Thom gets a new boss, who is much younger than he is, it creates friction. All the new guy can talk about is how important social media is, while Thom has been doing just fine without it,  personally and professionally. Fearing the safety of his job, Thom starts to wonder if he needs to start rebranding himself, as advised by his friend and immediate superior Jonathan (Bradley Whitford, Trophy Wife), and pursue happiness. Or should he just settle for happyish because he supposedly has a ‘low joy ceiling’?

 

 

Happyish is a comedy with a great cast, which makes you falsely believe the show will be great. Although the trailer was enjoyable and I had a few minor giggles during the pilot (honestly can’t remember when that happened though), the episode as a whole just wasn’t doing it for me. The episode was kind of all over the place, which made it a little hard to follow. At one point I could’ve sworn Thom was hallucinating. However, other than him walking into a store and some young people discussing whether or not Thom should just kill himself, there were no other clues that he was, indeed, hallucinating. Why else would they know his name as soon as he walked into the store and talk about why he should kill himself? A few scenes later, Thom is actually hallucination, adding to the confusion if the scene is the store was real or a hallucination. By the way, this scene was clearly added for the sole purpose to add comedic effect (even though it wasn’t funny at all).

Initially, Happyish was envisioned with Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) playing the part of Thom Payne. A pilot was shot with him as the lead and after his death the project appeared to have been discontinued. However, Hoffman’s role was recast and Steve Coogan took the leading part. Now, I can only wonder if the series would’ve been better off still on the shelf.

Happyish has concluded its run after 1 season.

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