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An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Not the 'Happy Ending' I Was Expecting


Like many of you, I had the luxury of having some time off from work at the end of last year. While I spend most of my vacations traveling, I reveled in my ability to pretty much sit at home and do nothing. With that said, I took the advice of our Top TV Shows of 2013 column and decided it was time I jumped on the Happy Endings bandwagon.

I don't know why I didn't watch the show earlier, but it's clear that I wasn't the only one. For all those that STILL haven't watched the show, I'm OK if you stop reading my column now and watch the show instead. While I had to sit through hours of Single Ladies promos on VH1, it was well worth it. I still have the third season to watch, but WHY did this get canceled? Seriously, what's wrong with everyone? I could only think of the following:

1. The wrong network 
Comedy doesn't seem to be the ABC's strong suit. In terms of original programming, Lost was really the only show I watched on the network. Although Modern Family has been able to overcome this, there doesn't appear to be any compelling shows that are around on the network to support Modern Family's existence.

Here are the current comedy shows on ABC:

The Goldbergs
• The Middle
• Modern Family
• The Neighbors
• Suburgatory 

I was quite surprised to see that The Middle has been on as long as Modern Family. I started to watch an episode of The Middle on a plane once, thought I was watching Malcolm in the Middle, and fell asleep. I hear some positive rumblings about Suburgatory every now and then, but in general there doesn't seem to be a very vocal audience that stands behind most of these comedies (Modern Family being the exception).

Comedic credibility is something that ABC continues to work on. I'm unaware of any comedy on the network that has lasted as long as Modern Family and The Middle.

2. People didn't know about it 
I barely knew Happy Endings was on TV. This may tie in to point No. 1, but after Lost was gone, there really wasn't any reason to watch anything on ABC. I therefore missed all of the network promotion for the show.

3. Wrong demographic 
The coveted 18-49 demographic is not something ABC has been good at. It has been argued that this demographic is more important than the total number of viewers. Happy Endings is a show that fits well in this group and ABC's inability to gain the attention of this key demo could be a huge reason why the show met its untimely demise. For all those interested, NBC tends to find themselves at the top of this list (which could be the reason many of their low-rated comedies have stuck around for so long). ABC usually finds themselves near or at the bottom of the list.

4. Lack of star power 
Along with an inability to attract any attention through network promotion, there wasn't any major star on Happy Endings who attracted people who didn't already watch a show on the network. Perhaps we would have seen more castmembers on the talk-show circuit or a little more cross-promotion with a movie they were starring in. I don't necessarily need to only watch TV shows with someone I'm familiar with, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

5. I don't know... 
I could seem to come up with a fifth reason that was worth mentioning. I've never hated watching a show as much as I hated watching Happy Endings only because I knew I'd never see the ending of the series the show deserved. More importantly, when we look back at shows that have withstood the test of time, it's common that a show's first and second seasons sucked and they didn't find a groove until 30-some-odd episodes in. Happy Endings was good from the beginning — no slump the show had to overcome, no recasts to find better chemistry between the other actors, no shift in showrunners to find better creative direction.

Well, that ends the complaining for this week. Read our article on our Top TV Picks for 2013 and catch up on what you've been missing. Make sure Happy Endings is on your list.
An Anton Ali Pop-Ed: Not the 'Happy Ending' I Was Expecting Reviewed by Anton Ali on 1/08/2014 Rating: 5

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