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‘Happy!’ is Hard to Describe, But Easy to Watch
December 6, 2017  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

Television doesn’t get much weirder than Syfy’s new Christopher Meloni (top) show Happy!.

Premiering Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, Happy! is the TV equivalent of Amazon: No matter what you’re looking for, it’s there.  

Meloni plays Nick Sax, a former ace New York detective who, in a mid-life career change, became a sardonic hitman. In conjunction with his new gig, he also became an alcoholic and a misanthrope. He doesn’t have much use for anyone, whether he’s been hired to kill them or not.

We should mention at this point that Happy! is a comedy.

We meet Nick at the start of the Christmas season, gunning down four dumb young millennials who made the mistake of thinking they could get away with some shady business that affected a connected psychopath.

The last surviving victim, in his last surviving minute, may or may not whisper to Nick a password that the connected guy doesn’t want in general circulation.

That makes Nick the next target. Unhappily for those who target him, alcohol has not eroded Nick’s skills in hand-to-hand combat. He’s also adept at weaponizing anything within reach, so he tends to escape a lot of seemingly hopeless situations.

Multiple action scenes in Happy! come across as pretty cartoonish, which is no surprise once you remember Happy! originated in a popular comic book series by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson.

Translating graphic novels to television can be fiendishly tricky business, as a show like AMC’s Preacher proves, and even fans of the Happy! comic books may need a few episodes to get into the rhythm of the video version.

In any case, Nick’s melancholy situation doesn’t spark the lighter part of Happy!, or the sci-fi part, or the comic part, until something else happens.

While we’re watching Nick, a girl named Hailey Hanson (Bryce Lorenzo, left) is attending a holiday show with her mother Amanda (Medina Senghore). Hailey is too short to see the stage, so she wanders away to get a better view and falls into the clutches of a menacing character who clearly means no good to anyone despite his holiday costume.

Hailey’s best hope, we soon learn, is her imaginary friend Happy, an animated blue horse voiced by Patton Oswalt. When Hailey disappears, Happy escapes and finds Nick. Exactly why isn’t clear at first, since Nick is hardly your go-to guy for heroic action these days, but it does eventually make sense.

Happy’s arrival also kicks Meloni’s acting into another, even more over-the-top, gear as conversations with imaginary animated figures tend to do.

But in its weird way, all this does coalesce into a story even before we add the detective who’s sort of following Nick’s work, Meredith McCarthy (Lili Mirojnick).

Detective McCarthy is not the classic straight arrow who doggedly pursues the rogue. She’s the type of gal who walks into a hospital room and lights up a cigarette.

She fits quite nicely into Happy!, a show that may befuddle your brain and in its own bizarre way also warm your heart.

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Sorry you had to preview this!
So we've moved on from the repeated violent crimes against women to crimes against children, for the purpose of shock?
BTW. She's out of the age range for imaginary friends...I'd be checking her psych profile, too!
Dec 7, 2017   |  Reply
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