Saturday, June 15, 2019

Happy! (Season 1)

There are some characters that may get to the right place, even if they’re willing to bend or break a few rules.  In 24, Jack Bauer is framing his actions as part of the greater good.  What’s a few broken fingers if millions of lives are saved?  He’s the guy you send in when conventional means aren’t an option.

To be clear, Nick Sax is no Jack Bauer.  Nick used to be a cop, but he made a series of bad choices, like sleeping with his partner.  He’s become about as apathetic as one can get.  He’s working as a hit man when he gets an unexpected visitor:  Happy.

Who is Happy?  Happy is a purple winged unicorn who happens to be the imaginary friend of Hailey Hansen, who has been kidnapped by Very Bad Santa.  She sends Happy out to find her father to help her and the other abducted children.  Nick is reluctant to help, mostly because it’s hard for an imaginary friend to be that persuasive.  (He’s also reluctant to believe that he has a daughter.)  Nick eventually comes around and starts tracking Hailey.  Also on the case are his former partner, Meredith McCarthy, and his ex-wife, Amanda.

You might wonder how a show about an imaginary friend would work.  There are some rules, like imaginary friends disappearing when the child dies.  (If the child stops believing, the imaginary friend still exists, unseen.)  It would also appear that imaginary friends are more real than one might expect.  Happy is able to relate information to Nick that Nick might not otherwise have access to.

Nick and Happy make for an extremely odd couple.  Nick is about as jaded as you can get.  Happy is about as optimistic as one could make a cartoonish character.   Nick can’t stand Happy and Happy is mostly doing this for Hailey’s sake.  In fact, may of the relationships can be defined as unwanted.  His ex-wife and ex-partner don’t want to work together, but do.  McCarthy is also being pressured by the show’s main antagonist, who is, in turn, being pressured by a client in a giant bug suit.  I’d say they only two characters that want to interact with each other are Hailey and Happy, who see the least of each other during the first season’s eight episodes.

It’s surprising that SyFy put out such a dark show.  It’s a lot closer to Breaking Bad than 24.  It’s almost like Breaking Bad and 24 were put into a blender with a heavy dose of sarcasm.  Even though it features a kids’ show, this is definitely for adults.  There’s plenty of graphic violence in each episode.  There’s also more subtle imagery, like two teletubby-like characters, shooting a rainbow between their respective places where the sun doesn’t shine.  (You may not even want to know where Smoothie got his nickname.)

The first season was ridiculous in a few areas, but generally worked pretty well.  The plot twists seemed to be in all the right places and none of them seemed unnecessary.  Part of this is probably because the season was so short.  You can only miss the bad guy so many times before it becomes a cliché. 


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