The Future Of ‘Happy Endings’ & The Scary State Of Network Comedy
By Maureen Ryan
What’s odd about “Happy Endings’” current situation is that it’s never been a cult-ish, niche object of adoration. It’s a bright, cheery show aimed squarely at the mainstream, and at first glance, it would seem to fit ABC’s brand, which is all about inclusive, upbeat worlds and the middle-class people who inhabit them. Sure, “Happy Endings” can be a dense, pop-culture-heavy experience, but that’s the speed at which many people live their social media-saturated lives these days.
Had it debuted only a few years ago, and had it enjoyed consistent network support over time, it might well have blossomed into the next “How I Met Your Mother,” which has grown into one of CBS’ most successful sitcoms. But is that kind of trajectory even possible any more? “HIMYM” debuted in 2005, well before online viewing and time-shifting became so prevalent.
But the deck may now be stacked against shows that cater to the very audiences that consume television in alternative ways. Also disturbing: The people most likely to give interesting comedies a chance appear to be the viewers who are least likely to be counted. If that’s the case, what hope is there for smart, non-family-oriented half-hour comedies on the broadcast networks?
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