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. S1 ended at the start of this year and S2 is rumored to hopefully be premiering later this year. We loved the show during its original run 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. The truly bananas action masterpiece Crank in which Jason Statham (The Fate of the Furious) basically plays a human battery on a mission to recharge himself in increasingly dangerous and dumb ways proves 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 anti-hero
Speaking of which, Christopher Meloni’s “down on his luck” lead detective is one of the most exciting anti-heros seen on TV in recent years. The character’s portrayal in the show proves that in the right context and the right environment, even the most broken and miserable character can provide some of the funniest and cynical moments of any TV show to date. Sax is comparible to an iconic anti-hero like Deadpool, as both are likeable and relatable yet harbor questionable morals that we all still cheer for in spite of whatever fucked up activity they’re making us cringe with.
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 a classic buddy cop set up. 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. They’re 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 legit human. As with all great buddy cop unions, Sax learns some lessons from Happy about how not everyone is as selfish as he thinks and everyone actually has 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. However, 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 and joyful despite the horrors and struggles he encounters. In this overflowing shithole of a world, 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 made to be more the annoying foil to Sax’s hardboiled detective to highlight a bold contrast to the entire story and characters. When his wide-eyed wonder turns to horror, this only makes the loss of Happy’s innocence all the sweeter and 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, the show offers a bombastic slice of pure anarchy where childhood innocence brings dazzle to darkness and where violence and heartbreak threatens to consume even the purest of souls.