Happy Endings TV Poster Image

Happy Endings



Talky romcom runs on booze, puns, and innuendo.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's not really a "message" show, but the series does promote friendship, often over romantic relationships. If a character has lied or behaved irresponsibly, they usually recognize the error of their ways by the end of an episode.

Positive role models

Characters regularly make mistakes -- from acting selfishly to telling lies to shirking responsibility -- and they don't always learn from their experiences. Most appear to have jobs of some kind, but you rarely see them working.


Characters fall and trip for comedic purposes but don't get seriously injured.


Sexual innuendo drives a lot of jokes, but there's rarely any visible hanky-panky. Some light kissing, discussion of porn, comic references to vaginas and threesomes, etc.


Words like "damn" and "hell," plus "ass," "bitch," and "bastard." Sexually charged terms include "slut" and "gay" (used as a pseudo-slur/pun by a gay character, as in "Coming out is so gay").


Name-droppage is rare, but one episode mentions Skinnygirl Margaritas.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking in every episode, and drunkenness is played for comedy. A character drinks straight vodka but tells others it's water, another makes a "gin smoothie" for breakfast, etc. Some comedic references to drug use, including a pun about a nickel bag of heroin.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this relationship sitcom is targeting single and married adults in their late 20s and 30s with its social drinking and sexually charged jokes that, while age appropriate for its characters, may not be the best choice for teens. There isn't much in terms of visible hanky panky, but characters do kiss on camera. They also have one-night stands with strangers and occasionally make cheeky references to porn and threesomes. Audible language includes "bitch" and "bastard" in addition to sexually charged terms like "slut" and "gay" (which is used more than once as a comic-slur/pun by a gay character).

What's the story?

It's not necessarily about HAPPY ENDINGS for longtime friends Dave (Zachary Knighton), Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), Jane (Eliza Coupe), Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), Penny (Casey Wilson), and Max (Adam Pally) when Alex leaves Dave at the altar and takes off alone on their honeymoon, throwing their relationship -- and the group dynamic -- into a tailspin. But when Alex gets back to Chicago, the onetime lovers air their grievances and ultimately make peace as platonic friends.The only committed couple now is Alex's sister Jane and her husband, Brad, who support their single friends through the hilarity of dating.

Is it any good?


Early on, you get the feeling that Happy Endings is desperately trying to secure one for itself so that it won't join the sad line of similarly themed sitcoms that got canceled because they couldn’t find an audience. And, apparently, the show’s producers are betting it all on breakneck banter with awkwardly forced "slanguage" like "bro," "dude," "deets," and -- in a particularly cringe-worthy instance -- "Lake Mich." (We dare you to find a Chicagoan who actually calls it that.)

The intent of a chatty script, of course, is to keep things moving comedically. But the effect here is a hyper-realized world that, while undeniably witty, at times feels a bit frantic and forced. Thankfully, that doesn't keep the laughs from coming ... it just distracts you when they do.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's writing style, particularly in terms of how the characters communicate. How realistic are these characters and their problems, and how does that relate to the way they speak? Is the show trying too hard to be clever?

  • Does the drinking on the show seem realistic? What would be the real consequences of drinking like they do on the show?

  • Do you think this show has a message when it comes to love, relationships, and marriage? Who has the healthiest outlook when it comes to love?

  • Is this the type of show that would appeal to lots of people or a very specific group? Who's the target audience here? How can you tell?

TV details

Premiere date:April 13, 2011
Cast:Damon Wayans Jr., Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Happy Endings was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byprotective mommy '55 October 9, 2011

Best Show, with hidden messages

The characters in the show, show strong guidence for their friends. It is actually one of the funniest shows I have ever watched. Although sex is discussed, it is mostly between a married couple, and the sexuality of a gay character. The show is very realistic and I believe it shows things I want my kids to be influenced by like trust, friendship,kindness, fun and togetherness. I deffinately think this is apropriate for young teens and up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bydr dew October 3, 2011


well i love this show i think it is very funny and sweet but it is just too mature for my 3 younger siblings
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 14 and 14 year old Written by1 dad May 11, 2011


just another abc sitcom that me and my 3 favorite girls all can laugh at as a family and we love it
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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