Sophomoric Humor

We're definitely in a busy time of the year, television-wise. Not only are there all those new shows to consider, but Netflix chose now to get off its ass and add more seasons of my backlog shows to their instant streaming catalog. I just wrapped up the second seasons of two of those backlog shows, and came to the conclusion that I can free up some time by not moving on with one of them.

One of the shows was Season 2 of Happy Endings (which is actually not on instant streaming - I got the discs). I remembered Season 1 as being very good, and was looking forward to another batch of episodes. It did not disappoint. The season started off being a bit too zany for my tastes, but once the characters settled down, it went back to being one of the fastest, sharpest comedies I've seen in a while. All six friends got a chance to stretch the characteristics that make them funny, with Most Improved definitely going to Alex, whose food-obsession and general dimness could have easily come off as a lazy, female Joey Tribbiani knockoff. Instead, Eliza Coupe makes it feel very fresh and impossibly charming. Happy Endings should also get credit for Brad and Jane's marriage, not only because it totally normalizes interracial relationships, but because they're one of the few couples on TV who don't stop at loving each other, but actually like each other. Brad and Jane interplay scenes are some of the best of the season.

Though it had a slow start, the second season really built on the first, and I'm already giddy to watch the third (and final) one. On the flip side, the other sophomore season I delved into kind of devolved. That would be New Girl, which I was lukewarm about, even in its first season. It was often amusing, but never what I'd consider good, and in the second season, all of my problems with it got amplified. Its sitcom strings are very visible. Rather than feeling like natural characters, it comes off as very stagey. Though I have no issues with Lamorne Morris, Winston is a totally useless character, and never seems to fit into any of the storylines - even the episode about his roommates forgetting his birthday barely found time to include him. And hey, quick side-note. Is it this show's intention to make Los Angeles look like a terrible place to live? I don't think they mean to do it, but they somehow manage to make the City of Angels seem like a soul-sucking, depressing place to wait out the clock. Listen, I don't want to give the impression that the show or its second season is terrible; I can see why people enjoy it. I laughed a few times. The actors are perfectly adept. But with vast amounts of television available, to the point that I could never keep up with all the shows that interest me, I think it's time to give in and admit that this is the end of the line for Jess and the gang.

Happy Endings - Season 2: B+
New Girl - Season 2: C+


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