The Joke-Heavy, Friends-First Comedy of ‘Happy Endings’

2016 was a very, very bad year no matter how you slice it. In tough times, comedy is often a form of escape that people turn to when they need comforting. With that in mind, we asked our contributors to pick the one piece of comedy in any form that they turn to when they really need cheering up. We’ll be sharing their choices throughout the week in a package we’re calling “The Best Medicine.”

Happy Endings may have been canceled a few years ago, but it hasn’t lost its place in my heart. It was the rare ensemble where every performer had great comic timing, and no character was dead weight (well, maybe Dave, but he had his moments). It was also laugh-out-loud hilarious, and when they committed to a bit, they really went for it. I still think “The Marry Prankster,” the episode where the gang tricks Max into thinking he won the lottery, is perfection. From Max continually mispronouncing his own name, to Alex trying and failing not to get pranked (“I’m not as dumb as I am,” she insists), to the exploding limo sequence at the end — this episode should go down as one of the best half-hours in sitcom history.

During the lowest points of this year, especially following the election, I found a wonderful escape in revisiting old episodes. The world of Happy Endings is heightened and crazy, but stepping back into it felt warm and familiar. For me, it was the perfect remedy for 2016.

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