Easter Special / Netflix Mini-Review – Happy! (Season 2): Make Easter Great Again

One of the most unique dark comedies on television takes on a new holiday.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Nick Sax (Christopher “My talent is without bounds” Meloni) managed to kill the Very Bad Santa (Joseph D. Reitman) and rescue his daughter Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) with help from her imaginary friend Happy the horse (Patton Oswalt). Happy then disappears from Hailey’s life… only to reappear as Nick’s imaginary friend. Now, it’s 3 months later and Easter approaches. A series of Easter Bunny related terrorist attacks lead Sonny Shine (Christopher Fitzgerald), the entertainer who had Hailey kidnapped to use as a gift, to propose a mega-Easter special to try and “Make Easter Great Again.” Nick, meanwhile, has tried to clean up his act so his ex-wife Amanda (Medina Senghore) will let him spend time with Hailey. He gets slowly dragged into another round of holiday-themed metaphysical mayhem involving his ex-partner Merry (Lili Mirojnick), his ex-boss Blue (Ritchie Coster), and his former enemy Smoothie (Patrick Fischler). 

Happy2 - 1Cast
The best buddy comedy the ratings say you’ve never seen.


Happy! was one of the weirdest shows on television when it debuted. The premise of having a hard-drinking and self-destructive detective partner with his daughter’s imaginary friend was bizarre, but it somehow worked pretty well. Happy started out as a being of pure innocence, whereas Nick was a man living for his vices after having lost everything after he witnessed a horrible event as a police officer that led him to give up on humanity. As Happy starts to mature and lose his innocence in order to help Nick save Hailey, Nick regains a little bit of his faith, giving both a solid arc. 

Happy! - Season 2
He also sees Nick naked a lot.

It’s tough for me to figure out how best to praise this show. For one, I find it hilarious, with the show giving Christopher Meloni free rein to unleash his massive comedy potential while still allowing him to draw on his decade and a half of playing a hard-line detective. His character being a near-psychotic and depressed drunk for much of the series justifies his ability to go from quipster to deadpan snarker to crazy slapstick artist. At one point Meloni pulls a Tyler Perry and plays his own mother in drag, and it’s hilarious to watch. Few people could pull off all of those levels of comedy while still being a badass when the scene demands it, and Ryan Reynolds already had another franchise.  Similarly, Patton Oswalt brings a level of underlying sadness to his originally upbeat character, something that is perfectly suited to his comedic style.

Happy! - Season 2
Who else can look this satisfied while carrying a bunch of loose organs and a passed-out hooker?

The action sequences in the show were also among the best on television, often ridiculous and over-the-top, with Sax having a strange level of near-invincibility when it comes to killing people. Most of the sequences are accompanied by upbeat or contrasting songs, which is a trope I’m not yet tired of. It adds to the darkly comic nature of the series. The show also escalates the metaphysical aspects at a reasonable pace so as not to upset the audience’s suspension of disbelief. 

Happy2 - 2Wishees
Couldn’t have done the “evil Teletubby” right off of the bat.

Overall, the show’s not going to be for everyone, but I am extremely sad that they cancelled it after this season. I’m hoping that if more people celebrate the Easter holiday by watching this Easter-themed season, perhaps Netflix will revive it for the presumably Halloween-related Season 3.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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The 5 Greatest Easter Episodes

Happy Easter, everyone! Eat some candy in the shape of a bunny or a chick, eat some jelly beans, paint some eggs, go to church for the first time since Christmas, and blow up a cart in front of the Duomo. In honor of this most oddly-celebrated of holidays, I present to you the 5 best TV Easter episodes of all time:

Runner up: The Turtles and the Hare (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle)


It’s Easter, and Krang and Shredder are trying to use their “Docilizer” ray to turn everyone as docile as rabbits (because they haven’t seen Watership Down). A Bunny-Suited Bebop and Rocksteady even manage to get April O’Neil just as she’s calling the Turtles for help. To counteract the ray, the Turtles need a crystal from a “fairy tale dimension.” When they go there, they encounter Hokum Hare, the rabbit from “The Tortoise and the Hare,” who they befriend and eventually drag back to Earth. Hokum helps defeat the evil plan, then acts as the “Easter Bunny” for the Channel 6 Easter Egg Hunt.

The biggest mistake in this episode is that they couldn’t get Usagi Yojimbo back to play the Easter Bunny. If you know who that is, you agree with me.


5) It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown!


Okay, so, never let it be said the Linus Van Pelt (Stephen Shea) was a quitter. Despite the fact that he failed to find the Great Pumpkin, he believes that the Easter Beagle is going to take care of all of the Easter festivities. Meanwhile, the rest of the Peanuts gang tries to celebrate in all their usual ways. The highlight of the episode is Peppermint Patty (Linda Ercoll) trying to teach Marcie (Jimmy Ahrens) how to decorate eggs. Marcie’s complete lack of experience leads her to ruin so many of the eggs that eventually Patty is out of money, without a single egg done.

Meanwhile, Lucy (Melanie Kohn) tries to create a private egg hunt, but Snoopy (Bill Melendez) follows behind her and steals the eggs. On Easter, Snoopy runs through town as the “Easter Beagle,” distributing eggs to everyone. However, when he gets to Charlie Brown (Todd Barbee), he runs out. Embarrassed, Snoopy gives him the basket. Charlie Brown is the loser, after all.

It was a cute follow up to the Great Pumpkin, and Patty and Marcie are hilarious.

4) Little House: The Last Farewell


So, after 10 years of Little House on the Prairie, the show finally ended, but there were three TV Specials that came after. For reasons that will become obvious, this is the last one of those (though the Christmas one got delayed, so it aired after).

So, basically, it’s a few years after the end of the show, and Charles and Caroline Ingalls (Michael Landon and Karen Grassle) stay in the little house from the show while the Carters, who took over the house during the last season, are out of town.

However, a land tycoon has actually acquired the deed to the town of Walnut Grove where the show took place. The town tries to defeat the claim in court, but they lose. They try to force the tycoon to leave, but the tycoon is backed by the army (and, btw, he does actually own the land, the town was built illegally and adverse possession didn’t apply to the territories). So, Laura (Melissa Gilbert), encourages the town, on the last Sunday, Easter Sunday, to do the just thing.

So, the town celebrates Easter by dynamiting all of the buildings, ruining the property value before the tycoon gets there. And this was completely real, btw. Michael Landon was told that the studio had to return the property back to its original state, and this was his solution: Blow up the town they had built for the show. However, since the town is at Easter mass, the church was the only building left (aside from the Little House). I can only assume this was the best sermon ever.

3) The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town


This is the second Rankin/Bass Easter Special after Here Comes Peter Cottontail, but I’m going with this one because it starts in the town of Kidville, which is a weird socialist dystopia populated entirely by orphans… because the next town over, called Town, won’t allow children. This is such a bizarre set-up that I can’t help but love it. The kids adopt a bunny named Sunny, who grows up trying to sell eggs.

When a bear keeps stealing them, the kids paint the eggs and Sunny tells the bear he’s selling colored stones as paperweights. The bear lets him through and Sunny distributes the eggs on Easter. The child king of the town declares him the “Easter Bunny,” but his aunt Lily, who actually runs the town, kicks Sunny out and outlaws eggs, making beans the only food. To get around this, Sunny brings the king Jelly Beans the next Easter, along with the eggs. However, the bear, thinking they’re colored stones, chucks the basket full of eggs, resulting in the Egg hunt being invented. The next year, when the aunt puts guards to stop Sunny from coming to town, Sunny covers himself in chocolate and Trojan Horses his way in. The next year, he just builds a train into the city, which renders all prior plans useless by comparison.

It’s a cute special that tries to explain why we have such a strange amalgam of Easter traditions in an interesting story. I refuse to apologize.

2) Simpsons Bible Stories (The Simpsons)


On a hot Easter Sunday, Homer ticks off Reverend Lovejoy, leading him to just start reading the Bible. The Simpsons proceed to pass out during the sermon and dream of different bible tales.

First, Marge imagines herself as Eve to Homer’s Adam. Unlike the usual version, Adam eats the apple but frames Eve. Homer then tunnels her back into Eden using a Unicorn named Gary, who ends up dying. This Unicide leads God to kick them out.

Lisa imagines herself as the power behind Milhouse’s Moses. Lisa and Milhouse incite plagues against the Egyptians (which fail, because the Egyptians love eating frogs), until finally the pair lead the Hebrews to the Red Sea, which they drain by flushing a huge number of toilets. At the end, Milhouse asks Lisa what the future holds for the Jews. Rather than answering, Lisa tells them to find Manna.

Homer imagines himself as Solomon. Lenny and Carl bring a pie before him that both claim to own. Homer cuts it in half, then orders them killed so that he can eat the pie.

Bart envisions himself as David (who came before Solomon, for the record), who is dethroned by Goliath II, son of Goliath. David trains and kills Goliath II in combat, only to discover that Goliath II was a great ruler, much better than David. David is then arrested.

The Simpsons awaken to find that, due to them sleeping through church, they were not raptured and the apocalypse has come. Lisa begins to rise to heaven, but Homer pulls her back. The family then descends to hell, where Homer smells BBQ, as “Highway to Hell” plays.

1) Fantastic Easter Special (South Park)


Stan Marsh is questioning all the goofy Easter traditions, but is told just to go with it. Unsatisfied, Stan starts investigating, and is followed by men in bunny suits. Eventually, he finds his dad, Randy, wearing bunny ears. Randy explains that he’s part of the “Hare Club for Men” who has been guarding the great secret of Easter since Jesus. However, the group is attacked by Catholic ninjas before they can explain, and Stan escapes with Snowball, a bunny.

Stan goes to Kyle for help, but, being Jewish, Kyle knows nothing of Easter. They then track down a professor of history who explains the secret: Peter, the Apostle and the First Pope, was a rabbit. That’s why the Pope has a mitre (to hide bunny ears). Snowball is the last descendent of Peter. The clues are contained within eggs (Easter Eggs) found in Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

Stan and Kyle go to the Vatican with Snowball, but Bill Donohue of the American Catholic League proceeds to double cross the Pope, who is merciful and reasonable, and orders all the Hare Club killed, because he’s Bill Donohue, and this is exactly what he would do. Jesus himself descends to tell Donohue that he is wrong, but Donohue says that the church knows better than Jesus, because he’s Bill Donohue, and this is exactly what he would do (and has, btw). Kyle and Jesus are locked away together, and Jesus begs Kyle to kill him so that he can go to heaven, resurrect outside of the cell, and deal with Donohue. Kyle agrees (after telling Jesus that Cartman can never know of this), and Jesus returns, killing Donohue with the Glaive from Krull (because why not?). Snowball is made Pope and, because he’s a rabbit, says nothing, which is the point. People should figure out what’s right on their own.

Honestly, I love this episode. I think it’s a great parody of the Da Vinci Code, of Easter Specials, and of Bill Donohue (who loved the episode because he gave the Church “some guts” by ordering mass murder). And the final message is actually pretty good.

Happy Easter and Happy Watching!

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