Oh, what will become of my beloved Happy Endings? Capable of eliciting weekly belly laughs from me in a way that few sitcoms ever have, this fast-paced pop-culture-heavy show occupies a special place in my heart. Easily the best ensemble comedy since Friends, it features flawless chemistry between the five charmingly hilarious actors and Elisha Cuthbert and has amassed a rabid fan base of sitcom geeks like myself. Now, with ABC’s decision to move it to Friday Nights, airing back-to-back episodes, in essence burning them off, I fear that my favorite show‘s days are numbered.

Yet I ponder what went down (and or is still unfolding) with Happy Endings, but I already know the answer. Despite ABC’s constant assurance that they love the show and its small but loyal fan base, they don’t really give a shit. Never a ratings hit a la Modern Family or even The Middle, the network has jerked it from time slot to time slot, preventing it from ever amassing even close to a Friends-size audience. I know it was a different time, but still, the Must-See comedy classic kept its Thursday night residency for the entirety of its 10-year run. I’m sure that helped.

Come to think of it, unlike Friends’s illustrious tenure at the Peacock Network, ABC never seemed to invest much in Happy Endings, even from the very beginning.  A late mid-season replacement (we’re talking April) in the spring of 2011, it aired only two or three episodes before summer hiatus kicked in and was hardly able to make an impact.  I myself, upon hearing that the cast included Cuthbert, a polarizing figure for any 24 fan (I know, not exactly her fault, but whatever), along with the girl who got kicked off SNL for never being funny and a member of the annoying Wayans family, decided to stay away.

Then something happened. ABC brought the show back in late September of that same year and actually decided to promote it. Members of the photogenic cast began showing up on the talk-show circuit, bringing clips that made the single-camera comedy seem fresh and funny. I decided to give Happy Endings a chance, and after only two episodes, albeit one starring the always hilarious Megan Mullally as Penny’s mom, I was hooked.  I fell in love with the charisma of its six leads and the brilliance with which creator David Caspe and his writers updated the Friends motif for a fast-paced and diverse 21st century audience.


And boy was I wrong to write off those actors. First of all, Casey Wilson, who plays the hapless, unlucky-in-love (until recently) Penny, is more than just the girl who was always stuck playing straight-woman to Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig, never getting the chance to shine on SNL. She is a talented comedic actress capable of physical humor on par with the Saturday Night Institution’s best performers, as well as the ability to play touching scenes in ways many of them never could.

It’s clear that the girl also knows her way around a one-liner, but not nearly as well as Eliza Coupe, who plays uptight Jane. Coupe is the real find of the show, a hysterical beauty possessing a Julia Louis Dreyfus/Aniston-level sitcom charm and timing. And as her husband, the slightly effeminate Brad, Damon Wayans Jr. is hysterical, sexy, and so much funnier, I think, than anyone in his family.

Rounding out the cast are Adam Palley as Max, a slovenly Peter Pan-type who’s revolutionary in that he’s a gay character on TV whose sexuality isn’t the most telling thing about him, and adorable Dave, played by Zachary Knighton, as the goofy everyman of your dreams. Last but not least is the beautiful Cuthbert as sweet but dim Alex.  I tease the actress, but every cast needs a Ross, and although her character might bug at times, Cuthbert is actually growing into it, getting funnier and looser with each episode.

Of course, it probably won’t matter now.  This most recent move by the network to Friday nights isn’t exactly going to set the show ablaze.  We’re talking about a night that attracts the kind of fans that keep Tim Allen’s and Reba’s shows on the air. I have nothing against either performer, but c’mon, their sitcoms attract the type of people looking to kill some time before Sean Hannity’s show airs on Fox News.  You think this demographic is gonna get a show like Happy Endings?

So go ahead, ABC, burn off episodes like you tried to do with this show on Sundays, under the guise of “opening it up to more viewers”. Look how great that worked out!  We’ve already seen a similar fate suffered by the clever and original Don’t Trust The B in Apt. 23, back in January. Do more creative and funny shows have to suffer before you just let them be in a timeslot where people besides Anne Coulter will watch? Please do right by this special show!

Ironically, Sarah Chalke’s new comedy, How To Live With Your Parents (for the rest of your life), appears to be a witty, uncategorizable show in the same vein as Happy Endings and B. Will ABC treat that show the same way? Perhaps it’s best that David Caspe and his team follow the example set by the creators of Cougar Town and move to TBS where even if the ratings aren’t gangbusters, they’ll still be appreciated.