With Mad Men about to end its seven-year run, a new dark comedy from This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander is debuting at April 26 to try to skewer the advertising industry and almost everything else. However, unlike AMC’s Matthew Weiner-created drama, there isn’t a lot to recommend about Showtime’s Happyish.
Despite a cast led by Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn and Bradley Whitford, the flabby show about middle aging, economic insecurity and social media bald spots isn’t newish or goodish at all. In fact, from its repeated rants and middle fingers to almost everything, the supposedly satirical Happyish seems more an exercise in pursuing pretension than anything else.
Happyish originally was set with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead, and the Oscar winner even filmed a pilot. But after Hoffman died in early 2014, the show eventually was rebooted and continued. In October, Coogan was cast in the role of Thom Payne, a 44-year-old ad exec and expat Brit. Having been in the pilot with Hoffman, Hahn returned as Payne’s artist wife. Whitford plays his 50-ish skinny-jeans-wearing boss.
Along with Auslander, A Walk In The Woods director Ken Kwapis serves as EP on Happyish. Kwapis’ producing partner Alexandra Beattie co-EPs under their In Cahoots banner. Kwapis helmed the pilot and three other episodes of the series’ 10-episode season.
Are you feeling Happyish? Check out my review and tell us what you think
And yes, there was a reason I mentioned Mad Men besides the obvious advertising industry link and Sunday airdate links: Happyish slams the AMC show in its very first episode.