Happy Together: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Pilot” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for CBS' Happy Together.
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Happy Together is cute and silly, and as long as that is all you need in a show, you’ll enjoy it just fine.


Network
CBS
Creator Tim McAuliffe, Austen Earl
Director(s) Phill Lewis
Writer(s) Tim McAuliffe, Austen Earl
Air Date 10/1/2018
Genre(s) Comedy
Good If You Like Simple Comedies Which Hold Very Few Controversial Jokes or Statements
Noted Actors
Jake Damon Wayans Jr.
Claire Amber Stevens West
Cooper Felix Mallard
Sierra Peyton List
Rylie Pia Mia

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The Introduction

Jake and Claire live a normal, middle to upper middle-class life. Jake is an accountant to celebrities, like world famous Cooper, and Claire is a designer for bars and restaurants. They met in college, are married, and own a home together. Also, they are 30 something and have developed a boring routine.

Enter Cooper. A young 20 something year old, just broke up with equally famous girlfriend Sierra and is trying to hide out for a bit. Now, as for why he picked his accountant? Well, because he is ordinary and Cooper misses what it means to be ordinary. However, while having a celebrity live in your house has some perks, it is a bit taxing on a marriage which required scheduling a reminder to have sex.

Yet, between having Cooper suffer with Sierra or finding a way to fit him into what once was a boring household, Claire and Jake decide to adopt Cooper into their lives.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Was Rylie’s part cut or something? She seems to come over, perhaps as a rebound, maybe friend, but then isn’t seen again for the rest of the episode.

On The Fence

It’s Comical, But Corny

Jake excited to hear Cooper needs him.
Jake (Damon Wayans Jr.): I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.

Being that CBS isn’t the kind of network which pushes boundaries, in any shape or form really, it’s only natural that the comedy is very safe. Perhaps even bland. Yet, being that Damon Wayans Jr. is from a legendary comedic family, he can’t soil the family name. So, similar to his uncle in Marlon, he adapts. Which, if this show was just about him and dealing with celebrity clients as their accountant, maybe this might be funnier than it is.

However, problems arise when Wayans is playing off West or Mallard since they aren’t on his comedic level. Mallard is, at best, a straight man to Wayans’ silliness and West? Well, while she tries to be funny, I don’t think she found her shtick just yet. Like in The Carmichael Show, she makes a good partner to the male lead, but with her not speaking about politics or anything like that, she seems eclipsed by Wayans’ talent.

Making it seem she may have tested well with Wayans in terms of being a believable wife but comedic wise? She kind of falls flat. Even for what limitations CBS might have put on this show.

The Premise Is Kind of Interesting

Sierra trying to emotionally manipulate Cooper.
Sierra (Peyton List): You saying that makes me want to kill myself.

With this show being based off what Harry Styles did, it does bring some interest to the show. However, with Cooper being made to seem so out of touch, a parody of the modern rock star, it makes the show lose some of its heart. Especially since the idea behind letting Cooper stay is that he has no one looking out for him. All he has is his fans, his bodyguard, and Sierra. Someone who talks about killing herself when they get into arguments.

All of which the show just uses for jokes. Not to say Happy Together should have been crafted as a dramedy, but between the emotional abusive girlfriend and how out of touch Cooper seemed, the show could have used more heart. That is, rather than Claire and Jake pitying Cooper and that being one of the main driving forces behind letting him stay with them.

First Impression: Mixed (Stick Around)

Happy Together is cute. It doesn’t wish to push the envelope, be one of the funniest programs out there, be a catalyst for commentary on celebrity culture, or any of that. It just wants to make you chuckle a little bit thanks to the antics of its actors. Which, if you can’t appreciate the simplicity of its goals, it may make the show seem boring or seem like it belongs on a network aimed at tweens.

Leading to why the mixed label. I know there is an audience for this show, but I know for a fact it isn’t me. For setting aside how corny this is, not taking Sierra’s suicide comment seriously was a red flag to me. Not giving some oomph into the mindset Cooper would have to be in to hide out at his accountant’s house was an issue. Then, add in Wayans, who is reigned in, has no one to really play-off of to make this show funny? And you are left with something which could get better but seems rather comfortable just the way it is.



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