No time to mope and mop! Why ‘Happy!’ makes us happy
Based on the deranged comic book series by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, the Syfy series Happy! is a show that continues to make us happy. We loved the show during its first season and have recently rewatched it to boil down exactly what it is that makes Happy! so damn loveable. Here are five reasons the show is such a standout.
Brian Taylor’s batshit vision brings the show to life
You’re likely more familiar with Brian Taylor from his work with Mark Neveldine in the truly bananas action masterpiece Crank: Jason Statham (The Fate of the Furious) basically plays a human battery on a mission to recharge himself in increasingly dangerous and dumb ways. Crank proved the two are dynamite when they work together. However, Happy! proves Taylor is more than capable of carrying his own project without Neveline and with just as much dark humor and ridiculous pizazz.
In fact, what makes this show so unique is Taylor’s striking, fun, and interesting visuals that compliment the gritty and serious tone in the most bizarre way. Where else are you going to find a show that opens with the protagonist literally dancing his blown-out brains across a room after shooting himself in the head? Nowhere, that’s where.
Nick Sax is a unique antihero
Speaking of which, Christopher Meloni’s down-on-his-luck lead detective is one of the most exciting antiheroes seen on TV in recent years. The character’s portrayal in the show proves that in the right context and environment, even the most broken and miserable person can provide the funniest and most cynical moments.
Sax is comparible to an iconic antihero like Deadpool: both are likeable and relatable, yet harbor questionable morals. And we still cheer for them in spite of whatever fucked-up behavior they display.
It’s ostensibly a buddy-cop story – with a unique twist
As they work together to find and save Hailey, Sax and imaginary unicorn friend Happy (Patton Oswalt) are a strange reimagining of the classic buddy-cop trope. Sure, Happy isn’t rocking a badge or a uniform, but he’s still aiding in the investigation – and is satisfyingly the sunshine opposite of Sax’s downtrodden cynic.
The pair is essentially the Riggs and Murtaugh of dark comic book TV adaptations, if Danny Glover’s (The Royal Tenenbaums) character had been an animated creature instead of a human being. As with all great buddy-cop unions, Sax learns some lessons from Happy about how people can actually have some good in them.
Happy’s infallible optimism is something the world needs right now
When he’s first introduced in the show, Happy comes across like a more irritable version of Donkey (Eddie Murphy) from Shrek with Oswalt’s nasal, whiny voice empathizing how annoying Happy really is. However, that’s partly because we first meet the character through the perspective of a man hopped up on pain meds who just drove a bullet through his skull. We’d be pissed off and confused too.
As the show progresses, Happy’s open-eyed wonderment to the dark, cruel world offers a sweet dose of optimism that has its own unique strength. Though his innocence is slowly corrupted and his worldview challenged, Happy manages to remain fairly upbeat despite the horrors and struggles he encounters. There’s something incredibly powerful about seeing such a character on TV, even if he is an animated imaginary unicorn.
That contrast between the two worlds is exquisite
The adorable imaginary unicorn is more the annoying foil to Sax’s hardboiled detective in order to provide contrast. When his wide-eyed wonder turns to horror, this only makes the loss of Happy’s innocence all the sadder.
The collision between Sax’s grimy, gritty life and the all-singing, all-dancing mirth of Happy’s unites two radically different tones and perspectives in a way that makes it standout from some of the recent R-rated and subversive comic book adaptations we’ve seen on the big and small screens lately like Preacher, Deadpool, and Logan. In this way, Happy! offers a bombastic slice of pure anarchy, in which childhood innocence brings dazzle to darkness and heartbreak threatens to consume even the purest of souls.