Despite having already posted the weekly rec for this week, I must bring to your attention a hidden gem, and I can only do it now. It has everything you could ever want: nice holiday jams, colorful visuals, equally colorful language, a heartwarming story, and most importantly, it has Christopher Meloni.
Happy! premiered on SyFy in December 2017, and sadly only lived for two seasons due to lack of ratings (or so I’ve found). This by no means has anything to do with its quality, as to me it’s one of the few shows which still managed to be original, entertaining, and binge-worthy in the last few years. It might have been weird, and on more than one occasion quite distressing, but the execution of said weird and said distressing was so… funny? that you tended to overlook anything bad and just have a good time watching it.
In short, Happy! is about an ex-cop (Nick Sax, played by Mister Meloni) turned hitman who, after having a heart attack, begins seeing his estranged daughter’s imaginary friend, a unicorn named Happy (Patton Oswalt, a joy to watch/hear). Together with Happy, Nick must find his daughter, who’s been kidnapped by a creepy Santa. Honestly? Iconic.
As usual, I’ll only make a few points when talking about this, because reading my novel-length thoughts about how cool Happy! is will probably ruin the experience for you. Spoilers ahead:
- I’ll start with the music because it’s one of those things that just hits you randomly and you go “Ah, remember that creepy Christmas song they played during Happy!? Good times. What a nice show.” Because all of season 1 is Christmas-themed, and because Happy! is weird and colorful, the iconic song they used throughout was the one and only Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky. It’s creepy, it’s Christmas-y, and it’s classical. A brilliant choice, and invoking a great mood as you watch. You feel like a child living in a fairy tale, but you also feel like an adult watching some really weird shit. You have to experience it for yourself to understand what I mean.
- Meloni is awesome. I’d say this about all of his roles really, because I love Christopher Meloni, but he really nails it in this show. Look, I’m not the type of person to like or enjoy drunkard characters/people who also happen to be absent dads, but in his defense, his line of work makes it understandable that he’d drink, and he didn’t really know Hailey existed before her imaginary friend showed up, so I guess he gets a pass? After he meets Hailey he does try his best to be a good dad, so that gets a plus too. He’s also incredibly witty, super inventive during fights, and a total badass. The amount of times he was supposed to die but just didn’t kind of reminds me of Rasputin. No really. Also he’s very handsome, even if he looks like a hobo, and that says a lot. The power of Meloni.
- Happy is not only adorable, but also clever, kind, full of hope, and wonderful. Season 1 has him be the moral voice more often than not, which might tire a few people out (it didn’t with me, but I can’t vouch for anyone else), but in Season 2 you could say he finally lets loose. A lot. Our baby unicorn is all grown up. He loves Hailey so purely, it makes you wish you too had a super real imaginary friend who’d support you and be with you always. He also becomes an incredible friend to Nick, and honestly made me cry several times because their friendship is just the best. Patton Oswalt really nailed him, and made him so fun to watch and so easy to love.
- Since we’re on the topic of characters, Meredith (Lili Mirojnick) is a female character for the ages. Did she make bad choices? Of course, she’s only human. Does she continue to make bad choices during most of Season 1? Yes, but that’s the only way to learn, and you could always count on her to help out when needed. She gets her own storyline that eventually lines up with the main events, she’s a great investigator, she can kick ass on equal ground to Nick, and she’s not afraid to say it like it is. If Happy wasn’t the cutest, she would’ve been my favorite hands down. Also, I bow to the costume and make-up department for her looks, she was always wonderful to watch thanks to them.
- There’s mob shenaningans, sassy demons, and awesome fight scenes. Enough said.
- The villains are on par with the good guys. I’ve found myself looking forward to every scene involving my three main guys because they were just so good. Mr. Blue/Francisco Scaramucci (Ritchie Coster) didn’t make a huge impression on me in Season 1, I admit, because I was more focused on being creeped out by Santa to be scared of him, but Season 2 really brought out the best in him. That demon possession was honestly one of the most fun parts of Season 2 for me, and really brought the storylines together nicely. Smoothie (Patrick Fischler) has been iconic since Day 1, but I don’t want to spoil anything about him because he’s just so good.
- The man of the series, the one and only Sonny Shine (Christopher Fitzgerald), gets a bullet point of his own. Although, like Mr. Blue, I was just slightly put off by him at first, Season 2 really made me get the heebie jeebies whenever he was around. In a bad way but also in a good way. Fitzgerald’s performance impressed the hell out of me (heh), and after getting over my aforementioned heebie jeebies, I was fascinated and eager to watch his acting every chance I got. Again, I feel like whatever I’m writing here would be better understood by watching the show. Sonny Shine’s too… dazzling to be described in writing. You have to see it for yourself.
- Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo) is a wonderful kid. She’s clever as hell, quick-witted, and really lovely. Although in a situation where most kids would be helpless (kidnapped and forced into real shady situations), and would take a back seat to the adult characters, Hailey shines (no pun intended) on her own. And in Season 2, she takes that up a notch. I loved her.
- I loved that the seasons were set around holidays. First with Christmas, second with Easter. I’m not one to tell you what to do, but watching each on their respective holiday months would make the experience better. If you can help yourself from binging it that is.
- Some of the ideas and events are so outrageous they become hilarious. For such a gritty show, it sure does paint everything under a humorous brush, which probably shouldn’t work as well as it does. No one does it like Happy!.
- Christopher Meloni also plays his mother in Season 2. If that doesn’t make you want to give it a try…
- The relationships presented here are twisted, complicated, but nonetheless endearing. As I mentioned before, the friendship between Nick and Happy and the unlikely team they form is a delight (grumpy man and cute, tiny unicorn working together? Amazing), but we also get to see familial relationships, reconciliations, support, revenge, manipulations, and some stabbings. It has everything you could possibly need.
- If you’re more of a reader-type, it’s actually based on a comic book, so there’s that.
I’m aware I’ve been incredibly vague this week, but like I keep saying, it’s just so hard to talk about and do it justice. Again, you HAVE to see it for yourself. And no, this isn’t a marketing ploy and no one paid me to write this, it’s already cancelled so this affects it in no way, I just love it so much.
With all this said (or not said), if you plan on watching anything this week to recharge your batteries for New Years, make it Happy!. You won’t regret it. And if you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did, give me a shout and maybe I could express myself better once you know what I mean.
Thank you for giving me some of your time during this busy time! It’s always appreciated.
Happy (heh) holidays!