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Review: Happy Hour

Posted on September 8, 2006 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Happy Hour

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, Fox
In the UK: Living TV from early 2007

Ah, yes, a searing drama, looking at the dark side of relationships and the human condition as men and women plunge into depressions, misery and self-destruction caused by the terrible emptiness of existence.

What? This was supposed to be funny?

The so-thin-it's-anorexic plot
Henry moves with his girlfriend Heather to Chicago (what's with all the Chicago shows all of a sudden?) to start a new life. However, she decides to start the new life without him. So in the space of a day, he's suddenly single, jobless and homeless.

Fortunately, Larry, who lives in the same building, needs a new roommate because Brad is moving out to be with Amanda. Larry first introduces Henry to 'Happy Hour', a hallowed time of the day when men drink Martinis. He also introduces him to Amanda who gives him a job at her firm. And then sleeps with him. So suddenly everything's looking right again for Henry.

The verdict
Not to be flippant, but the way to enjoy this show is to block out the sound of the studio audience, forget the fact it's supposed to be a comedy and imagine you're watching something bleak by Ibsen. This is really a drama about people - well, men really, since the women are little more than cardboard cut-out plot-advancement devices, with characterisation that consists mainly about bemoaning how fattening pizza is, how awful it is to be single and how they want what they can't have - who have bleak, empty lives, who have their dreams crushed and their soul corrupted by the big city. If you watch it like that, it's great.

On the other hand, if you watch it looking for some laughs, oh boy will you be disappointed. I think I did actually laugh a bit in the last five minutes, but other than that? Pants. All the standard problems with standard US sitcoms are at the fore: everyone acts according to standard rules of sitcoms, people try to get the biggest laughs with the bitchiest lines, women and men hate each other – men don't understand women, women just want to exploit men – blah, blah, blah.

Oh well.

Henry (John Sloan)
Larry (Lex Medlin)
Heather (Brooke D'Orsay)
Amanda (Beth Lacke)
Tina (Jamie Denbo)
Brad (Nat Faxon)

Related entries

  • September 22, 2006: Third episode verdict: Happy Hour
    My third-episode verdict on Fox's Happy Hour.
  • November 9, 2006: While I was gone…
    Happy Hour has been cancelled.
  • September 30, 2009: Review: Brothers 1x1-1x2
    A review of the first two episodes of the Fox show Brothers
  • September 22, 2010: Review: Raising Hope 1x1
    A review of the first episode of Fox's Raising Hope: sweet but not especially funny - typical Greg Garcia
  • January 12, 2012: Review: Are You There, Chelsea? (NBC) 1x1
    A review of the first episode of NBC's Are You There, Chelsea?
  • March 30, 2017: Preview: Nobodies 1x1 (US: TV Land)
    A preview of the first episode of TV Land's Nobodies

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