Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Happy Hour aired from September until November 2006 on Fox.
At the urging of his ditzy girlfriend, Heather ( Brooke D'Orsay), mild-mannered Henry ( John Sloan) moved to Chicago to work for her uncle. Soon thereafter she dumped him and threw him out of their apartment, and he lost his job. Henry needed a place to live and Larry ( Lex Medlin), who lived in the same building, turned out to be his salvation. Larry's roommate, Brad ( Nat Faxon), had just moved in with his shrewdish emasculating fiancee, Tina ( Jamie Denbo), and Larry needed a replacement. The two guys were complete opposites. Henry was a sensitive romantic while Larry was a boorish womanizer who rarely dated the same woman for more than a month. Larry also helped Henry get a job through his beautiful but insecure, self-deprecating friend Amanda ( Beth Lacke), a human resources executive at Second Community Bank. Teddy's was the local bar where they hung out after work to enjoy " happy hour" and listen to Dean Martin songs.
Happy Hour was one of the first casualties of the 2006-2007 season. Three episodes aired before the baseball play-offs started and it was canceled after the first post play-off episode.
A Review from Variety
(Series -- Fox, Thurs. Sept. 7, 8:30 P.M.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Filmed in Los Angeles by Double Double Bonus Entertainment and Werner Gold Miller in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, Tom Werner, Eric Gold, Jimmy Miller; co-executive producer, Rob Deshotel; supervising producers, David Windsor, Casey Johnson; producer, Mark Solakian; director, Andy Ackerman; writers, Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo.
Larry - Lex Medlin
Henry - John Sloan
Amanda - Beth Lacke
Brad - Nat Faxon
Tina - Jamie Denbo
Heather - Brooke D'Orsay
Each pilot season delivers at least one real head-scratcher of the "How did that get on?" variety, and "Happy Hour" is certainly it -- a witless comedy throwback that can't be easily described in high- (or low-) concept terms. Painfully familiar and virtually laugh-free, the series has one character with potential, but beyond that, it's hard to imagine Fox won't be yelling "last call" relatively soon.
John Sloan plays Henry, an amiable twentysomething schlub who gets dumped by his beautiful g.f. and is determined to stay near her. So he takes up residence with big, fun-loving lug of a guy Larry (Lex Medlin), whose roommate Brad (Nat Faxon) has just gotten married.
Henry is thus dubbed "the new Brad," as Larry serves martinis every afternoon as he lip-syncs "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" -- explaining the title, which refers to the last free-wheeling times Henry will theoretically enjoy before settling down and making commitments.
The wacky cast of characters also includes Beth Lacke as Larry's femme pal, Amanda, who breathes a sexy gust of fresh air and steady supply of cleavage into the proceedings -- though hardly enough of either to wring the musty, been-there smell out of the overall execution.
Granted, there's been no shortage of mismatched odd couples in sitcom history, with a devil-may-care bachelor/divorcee/foreigner/alien/furry alien dragging a buttoned-up chum along on various adventures. Unfortunately, no one here beyond Lacke registers as good company for a night of bar-hopping, much less an ongoing weekly TV relationship. As for the writing, it simultaneously peaks and valleys when Amanda tells Henry, who is wearing shorts, "I can see your balls."
Word is the series tested well, which suggests the focus groups in question might have engaged in a little happy houring themselves. And while the show is broad on the order of the early live-action comedies (relatively few they might be) that gained a toehold on Fox, that simpleminded formula feels incongruous with the animation and dramas that have become the net's foundation.
Paired with another new sitcom, "'Til Death," "Happy Hour" could and should be the beneficiary of low rating expectations as Fox wades into a Thursday night dominated by others. Barring a shocking turnaround, however, consider this simply a placeholder until "American Idol" and other midseason reinforcements arrive, at which point it'll be "Goodbye, Larry."
A Review from The San Francisco Chronicle
How did Fox get so hokey? It's the CBS playbook, only worse.
September 07, 2006|By Tim Goodman
?Til Death: Comedy. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fox SNOOZING VIEWER
Happy Hour: Comedy. 8:30 p.m., Thursdays, Fox
Fox will roll out the season's first two sitcoms tonight, and if this were a war and these shows were lobbed into our airspace, game over. We'd all flee.
Well, we're speaking qualitatively here. The content is disastrous. But since there's no accounting for taste pretty much anywhere, who knows, maybe these two series will be enormous hits.
That's actually kind of funny. In a sad clown kind of funny way. It's the kind of funny where someone falls down and breaks their arm but along the way they pulled down half the aisle at Safeway. Funny, but then not.
Anyway, the first series at hand is " 'Til Death," starring Brad Garrett from "Everybody Loves Raymond." He's a funny guy. But in this series, all he does is remain tall. The premise in " 'Til Death" is that Garrett's character, Eddie, is married to Joy (Joely Fisher), and they've been in ankle bracelets and unhappy matrimony for a very, very long time. They are cranky and annoyed with each other but if you push just hard enough near the 18th minute of the 22-minute series, you'll see that underneath all that crabby married talk, they really do love each other.
Well, no. Awwwful is more like it. Because juxtaposed with Eddie and Joy are their new neighbors Jeff (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Steph (Kat Foster), two newlyweds who adore each other and believe that marriage is the best thing ever.
Oh, no. Oil and water! Two disparate viewpoints! Watch out hilarity, here we come!
This is probably the worst sitcom of the fall. One or two others are supremely bad but this may really wear the ring. Why? Because it looks like it was made for CBS -- perfect, since Fox is now CBS Lite -- only CBS in turn told the producers, "Sorry, it's not funny enough for our network."
It's hard to figure out why Fox picked up " 'Til Death." It has none of the sharp angles that past Fox series like "Married With Children" had. It has old-school tradition (meaning multiple cameras, laugh track, trite premise, jokes you can see coming before they were written) all over it. Who wants a retro vibe on TV right now without irony tossed in? This is just a bad situation comedy. In the spirit of the trite dialogue from the show, let's add a predictable conclusion to this analysis: You need to divorce " 'Til Death."
A half hour later -- or as you may come to see it, an eternity -- Fox gives us "Happy Hour," another preposterously unfunny comedy that breaks several bones trying to deliver the punch lines you're going to groan at.
Not exactly an endorsement.
This is a cast of relative unknowns and they really do try to make the most of the material. In an effort to protect them in future work -- which they will no doubt be seeking in the months ahead -- let's leave them nameless.
Here's the premise, of sorts. A guy follows his girlfriend to Chicago. She dumps him. He meets a swingin' Rat Pack kind of guy in the apartment building who likes martinis -- hence the title, one would assume -- and takes the dumped guy under his wing to teach him a little thing or two about the ladies, life and having fun.
If your reaction to that is "Oh please God no," then thank you for sharing the sentiment. Apparently, "Swingers" is still playing in the dollar houses of Hollywood. (That title is tossed out merely to make a flippant point, not to suggest any connection in style, humor, talent or ambition.)
So, what have we got here on a Thursday night? Two bad shows trying to jump ahead of better fall fare in the blindly optimistic notion that you'll watch because there's nothing else.
Yeah, you could do that. Or you could give away an hour of your life for nothing. Either or.
A Review from The Boston Globe
'Happy Hour' is sad excuse for sitcom
September 07, 2006|Globe Staff
HBO's ``The Comeback" was a satire about the making of a series called ``Room and Bored" that was the definitively dumb sitcom. ``Happy Hour" is ``Room and Bored." This new Fox sitcom represents what TV does all too easily, which is to waste airtime with pointless filler created solely to suck in youth-market viewers. Those pimple-cream and lipstick ads have to piggyback onto something.
Watching ``Happy Hour," which premieres tonight at 8:30 on Channel 25, is a bit like getting hung over without ever having been drunk. The show is about a passive guy who becomes the roommate and project of a narcissist who is religious about his 4 p.m. martinis. It's yet another ``Odd Couple" set up, as loud Larry (Lex Medlin) tries to remake nice-guy Henry (John Sloan) into a confident man and also a confident boozer. Larry will try to help Henry forget his bimbo ex-girlfriend, and he will help Henry find a new job. He is going to ``build a better Brad," Brad being Larry's ex-roommate who is now living with a controlling wench. The female sex does not rate very high in Larry's estimation.
And, you know, nuttiness ensues and nothing more. The characters just don't appear to have the potential to make this a character-driven sitcom like ``Friends" or ``How I Met Your Mother." Larry is forever irritating, Henry is forever cowed, and Brad (Nat Faxon) is forever picked on. They're all one-dimensional. Only Larry's friend Amanda has some funny in her, thanks to a promising performance by Beth Lacke that hints slightly at Karen Walker from ``Will & Grace."
``Happy Hour" is up against formidable competition on the other networks, including ``Survivor." That should be the fatal twist for this watery cocktail.