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Happy Endings is more than “Friends 2.0”

I can usually predict the level my obsession will become when first watching a new comedy show. Sometimes the passion never exists (Two and A Half Men) and sometimes it turns into what could only be called a one-sided marriage (30 Rock).

But my obsession for the ABC show “Happy Endings” has reached levels I never expected after watching the pilot.

The show was originally based on the premise of  following a group of six friends after two of the friends’ engagement with each other breaks off at the altar.

So now there is the ex-couple Alex and Dave (Elisha Cuthbert & Zachary Knighton), a married couple Brad & Jane (Damon Wayans, Jr. & Eliza Coupe), and the extremely single straight girl with the extremely “bro” gay guy (Casey Wilson & Adam Pally).

While it would be tempting to believe that Alex and Dave remain as a focal point of the show’s plot line, the show takes on an inevitable “Friends” format where mix-and-matched pairings of the cast creates equally driven story arcs.

The show has been referenced to as “Friends” 2.0 with a black guy and a gay guy. This is a completely fair definition but it still corrals the comedy of the show too tightly into a classic sitcom aspect.

The “Happy Endings” ensemble is an extremely talented cast that is willing to push their character’s normal range into a wacky and surreal realm of comedy.

I wouldn’t exactly recommend the show for viewers that prefer a story line that propels forward week after week. However, this is definitely a show that works perfectly for Netflix laughter binge marathons.

Last Tuesday, the third season premiere aired and did not disappoint.

Unfortunately, the season premiere episode does depend on the audience having an established relationship with each character but is still bound to pull in laughs with newcomers.

While the Dave/Alex and Penny/Max pairing was adequate (which is still funnier than almost any other  sitcom equivalent), the marital journey of Brad and Jane seems to top itself with every new episode.

They are a couple  fueled by unique turn-ons and a mutual love of improv comedy. Their constant inclusion of the weird into their lives helped introduce Brad’s puppet counterpart, Sinbrad.

At the risk of seeming like a pretentious comedy critic, Sinbrad is what the character Gob from Arrested Development wished his puppet Franklin could achieve. This inclusion of a puppet is such a breath of fresh air because it is used in a way that does not infer that the sitcom character has gone off the deep end.

Although there wasn’t much in this episode that stood out as a “Happy Endings” classic, it definitely gave hints that promised a blossoming season of goofiness.

Watch Happy Endings on ABC, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.