The return of ‘Happy Endings’ and ABC’s 2012 Tuesday nights
Matt McMahon | Wednesday, February 11, 2015
If we don’t study history, it is doomed to repeat itself. Such may be the case with ABC’s short-lived, little-watched 2012-2013 Tuesday night programming.
During the fall television season of 2012, ABC originally aired the critical darlings, cult sitcoms “Happy Endings” and “Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23” back-to-back, starting at 9 p.m. each week. Eventually, the shows were relegated to being burned off by ABC in a nonsensical strategy from March through May of 2013. Lackluster marketing and poor ratings, dipping under 3.0 million U.S. viewers per episode, ultimately forced ABC to cancel both programs: “Happy Endings” in its self-assured third season, “Don’t Trust The B— In Apt. 23” in its promising second. Now, possibly paradoxically, low viewership and a perceived lack of attention to — or remembrance of — ABC’s 2012 Tuesday night hour block of scheduling may prove to be its constituents’ salvation.
Recently, hints towards a “Happy Endings” television return and wild allegations based on these small clues have begun to crop up. Last Thursday, the show’s writers’ official Twitter account (@happywrites), which had been inactive since Oct. 28, 2014, began publishing a series of cryptic tweets linking to a countdown website and coyly playing on themes of anticipation. The website, sporting only the phrase “It’s almost a new day” and a simple timer, is currently counting down to Mar. 31, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. PST. Obviously, the quick thinker will notice that the date being counted down to is a second before April Fools’ Day, and will also note the “Happy Endings” writers particularly fancy pranks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qhZ3ENyavc
However, based on recent developments, there is reason to think — reasonably or conspiratorially — that this countdown could be more than a mere April Fools’ Day joke. After all, how easy is it to uncover the date to which is being counted down? No, this date must signal a major event in the world of “Happy Endings” news. Consider this: Of the six principal stars in the show’s original run, Damon Wayans Jr. has announced he’s leaving his series regular role on “New Girl” at the end of its current fourth season, and Adam Pally left “The Mindy Project” on Jan. 13, reportedly due to signing a new, nondescript contract with ABC. Additionally, Eliza Coupe’s series “Benched” was cancelled by USA a day later, despite a promising first season, leaving her free of commitment. As of now, the other three stars, Casey Wilson of “Marry Me,” Zachary Knighton of the upcoming FOX midseason sitcom “Weird Loners” and Elisha Cuthbert of the upcoming NBC midseason sitcom “One Big Happy,” are still tied to shows through 2015. However, “Marry Me” lies in the balance with ratings dropping to the low two millions since its January return. Equally, “Weird Loners” and “One Big Happy” currently have only six episodes ordered.
Could the creatives behind “Happy Endings” be prepping their fans for a resurrection of their beloved show? The stars literally are aligning in an order that could suggest so. It would be foolish to expect that the show would return as soon as April 1, even more so with the 12 a.m. timing. It could be counting towards a release of the old seasons of the show on a streaming service, though, based on it being the turning of a month. However, “Happy Endings” has previously streamed on Netflix, and the streaming service confirmed it would not be reviving it now. Instead, I’d like to hold out hope that ABC could be preparing a return to the 2012 Tuesday night sitcom block, right under our under-studious noses.
Meanwhile, ABC currently airs freshman sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., and the promising show could use another comedy companion. Who better to accompany the Nahnatchka Khan-created “Fresh Off the Boat” than the return of David Caspe’s “Happy Endings?” Khan previously created and ran the very sharp and specific “Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23,” so Khan and Caspe have a history of complementing each other in schedule. ABC, “Happy Endings” and Khan — possibly — have the rare opportunity at a history-repeating second chance. Presumably, a lot more people will be taking notes this time around.