When the first trailer for Showtime’s upcoming Steve Coogan-led comedy series, HAPPYish, was released, audiences were given a tiny first look into what could end up being one of the most interesting or bland comedies coming to television.
The show has been described as a “scathing examination of the pursuit of happiness,” and it features Coogan and Kathryn Hahn as a middle-aged married couple experiencing their own comedic relationship troubles, while Coogan’s Thom Payne tries to figure out if he is suffering through depression, or was never capable of being a terribly happy person to begin with.
The show was created by Shalom Auslander with the pilot episode directed by Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You), and while the premise of a middle-aged man befuddled by the ever-changing world around him is a tired one at this point, the trailer has moments that tease the kind of charm capable of elevating it above some of the other rinse-and-repeat comedies airing currently.
Here’s a more in-depth synopsis for HAPPYish:
“On his birthday, Thom Payne gets the gift of insignificance and also a new boss. He suspects his ED pills are interfering with his anti-depressants, leaving him with neither happiness nor… happiness. In a culture that reveres youth – a culture he helped create – Thom needs to figure out what his purpose is now that he’s halfway to death and nobody cares what he thinks. Because in a world where any Kardashian is trending up, perhaps the wise among us would heartily embrace trending down.”
While it has become clear that the premise for the series won’t end up being its selling point, it does feature some solid acting with Coogan and Hahn joined by Ellen Barkin, Bradley Whitford, Carrie Preston, Molly Price, and Andre Royo.
Based on the teasers alone, HAPPYish looks like something audiences have already seen a million times, just with a different (stellar) cast. However, the series has the potential to become a comedic examination at how people experience and feel happiness in different ways, which could make it one of the more introspective and intriguing shows on TV.
Hopefully, it actually is that, instead of being a surface-level story about a guy who doesn’t understand the youth-culture of today with some added Steve Coogan self-deprecation. Right now, it looks more like the latter, but there’s enough chance that it could surprise audiences, which should be enough to warrant giving at least the pilot episode a shot.
HAPPYish premieres April 26th, 2015 on Showtime.