You may be one of the few people who actually watched Happy Endings when it was on ABC from 2011–2013. Originally dismissed as a new Friends (six people in their mid-twenties living in way-too-huge apartments in a city), the show quickly distinguished itself with its edgy, pop culture–heavy humor — the same kind of humor that, sadly, leaves well-written shows like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community begging for viewers.
Die-hard fans of Happy Endings knew the writing was on the wall when ABC dumped the show to Friday nights during the third season and played new episodes back to back, but it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking when the show was finally cancelled. Happy Endings had some amazing moments, but none more so than the scenes with Damon Wayans Jr., who played silly yet successful businessman Brad, and Eliza Coupe as his ambitious wife, Jane.
Let it be known: Brad and Jane are my favorite TV married couple ever. (Bold statement and I’m sticking to it.) The two of them actually…wait for it…liked each other. Shocking! A married couple on TV that had fun together, cracked each other up, tore each others’ clothes off? Marrieds on TV are usually of one variety: They “love” each other, but the wife is a nag, the husband a slob, and the jokes are always at the expense of one or the other. I’m bored just writing that. But Brad and Jane were a team. Thanks to writing that didn’t resort to lazy stereotypes and the comedic talents of Wayans and Coupe, they were the perfect aspirational married duo. How many TV couples (or, for that matter, regular couples) can you say that about?
Over the years, there have been just a few bright spots in the drudgery of TV marriage. The Huxtables on The Cosby Show were a refreshing example of two equally driven adults — Cliff a doctor, Claire a partner in a law firm — who supported each other while raising a family. A more recent favorite was stoic Coach Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler, and the go-getter Connie Britton (whose gorgeous locks inspired its own blog) as Tami Taylor on the always underrated Friday Night Lights. Despite critical praise, it took until the fifth — and final — season of FNL before anyone bothered to pay attention. But I continue to pitch this as the best show for a couple to watch together: It’s a compelling high school drama (check) that has great football action sequences (check) and is anchored by a marriage (!). Wow, it just got real dusty in here.
Alas, these are all examples of past bliss. Is there anything to keep a viewer happy these days? Yes, but not for long. The ninth and final season of How I Met Your Mother ends March 31, and along with it, our glimpses into Lily and Marshall’s kooky-yet-enduring relationship. No more Marshpillow (Lily’s body pillow substitute for Marshall), no more hitting “pause” on the fights, no more sexual innuendo at the bar. Sigh. Here’s hoping that it won’t be too long before another great couple takes their place. Otherwise, we may need to find our own Marshpillows.