When I read the logline descriptions of CBS’ “Happy Together”, I knew it starred Damon Wayans and it was something about a troubled star going to live with a family. The details were a bit murky, and I thought it was a star bound for rehab who ended up living with his agent. It wasn’t much of a stretch to see Damon Wayans playing the star. And sight unseen, I predicted cancellation.
But, like with the other new shows, I wanted to watch the first episode to see what it was like. Imagine my surprise to see Damon wasn’t the wild out of control star. And he’s not the manager either. But here’s the thing…he wasn’t even there anywhere. I was looking for Damon, but it is Damon Wayans, Jr., not his dad. Oops. It was more like watching Carleton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air with half the nerd factor, and he plays the down-home husband who can be a stabilizing influence. He was quite good to watch. Awkwardly geeky, but not in The Big Bang Theory awkward way when they go hard-core geek.
Amber Stevens West plays the wife, Claire, and she is sparkling sweet. I liked her on Ghosted even though I wasn’t a regular watcher. And I liked her in the episode. My only real concern is around the plot…if both Claire and her husband Jake are so put together and have all the answers, how will their two characters grow in future episodes? They’re bright, functional, and relatively healthy in their approach to life. They might be a bit boring, but I would have loved to see more of them perhaps “dating” (like Penny and Leonard on Big Bang Theory) so they would have somewhere to go with their storylines too.
But the real surprise was Felix Mallard as superstar Cooper James. He is doing his best Leonardo DiCaprio impression but he is basically a nice guy experiencing a messed up life with starlets, papparazzi and parties. He crashes at his accountant’s house to escape the papparazii, and spoiler alert, ends up staying with them for a week before they kick him out and he goes back to his drama queen ex. The old boring married couple go and get him to come back when they see how unhappy he is, and he’s going to stay with them.
I was expecting a show with wild premises, and I got something almost sweet. Somewhere between the Prince of Bel Air and Two and a Half Men in premise, but it is very much an old style family sitcom. I don’t know if it has enough legs to make it, but I hope so. It would be nice to see something innocently wholesome make it. Unfortunately, the cynic in me is the one doing the predictions and I’m going to still go with CANCELLATION.