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