Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of Happy Endings, the hilarious ABC sitcom that was canceled after only three seasons to make room over on ABC for, uh, Back in the Game, Mixology and Super Fun Night. It was called one of the worst TV decisions of that year, and rightfully so. ABC never understood what they had on their hands, nor I suspect did they realize the potential of Happy Endings in syndication. The show was unfortunately canceled soon before networks really began accounting for more than overnight ratings, and in today’s environment, I suspect Happy Endings could thrive for another few seasons.
Reruns of the entire series are currently available on Hulu, and since the series’ cancellation, the show’s cult following has only grown. For a lot of viewers, it’s become the same kind of re-watchable comfort television as Friends and Seinfeld, a show people watch before bed or while they’re doing the laundry or making dinner. It’s a smart, funny show with honestly some of the very best sitcom characters of this century.
Viewers were naturally crushed when Happy Endings was canceled, and it looked for a hot minute like USA Network or someone else would sweep in and keep the series alive. Unfortunately, that never happened. However, rumors of its resurrection have maintained a steady beat over the last three years. In fact, last year, there was a countdown clock that got our hopes up about a Happy Endings revival, but it turned out it was an April Fool’s hoax.
Still, all the series’ stars have gone on to star in other sitcoms, and almost all of those sitcoms have been since canceled (Adam Pally is still recurring on The Mindy Project, while Eliza Coupe recurs on Casual, and Damon Wayans, Jr. has come and gone on New Girl). The cast seems like they’d be available if someone wanted to bring the series back. So why haven’t they?
What would it honestly take? According to series creator David Caspe in an interview with Pajiba, not as much as one might think:
People will call, we’ve had a few offers, but it’s not “come back and do it your way.” It’s like, let’s just do a cold open. Or let’s do a few episodes using found footage or make it a TV movie and shoot it handheld, to save money … things like that. But no one has come to me and said let’s make real episodes: ten episodes that look like the show was and to actually be what the show was and get everyone back, with the right budget. If that happens? Then I would totally do it. It would be so fun. In general, no matter what we do, it’s tough for it to compare with how people remember it. Best case scenario, these things tend to disappoint because memory can outshine reality when you’re talking about a show that people have an emotional connection to. So, that’s tough, but I’d still do it because the cast is so great and I’m still close with most of the writers and it was just a great time.
That’s it? A modest budget and the freedom to let them make the show their own way? What’s the hold up here? This would be a perfect opportunity for Hulu, who is already doing well with reruns of Happy Endings. The streaming network could use a comedy staple to go along with Casual. Netflix, meanwhile, is spending gobs of money on original content, and I have to imagine that a Happy Endings season four would fare better and be cheaper than The Ranch, and I know it would do better than Will Arnett’s Flaked, which came and went with no one noticing.
This is easy. Someone make it happen.