Review: Showtime’s new comedy “HAPPYish” has a low-joy ceiling

Showtime HAPPYish Ryan Berenz

What is happiness? Does it even exist? And why are we pursuing it?

In Showtime’s HAPPYish, 44-year-old ad man Thom Payne (Steve Coogan, Philomena) faces a mid-career crisis when the agency he works for brings in two social-media savvy Swedish 20-somethings to overhaul its creative direction. Thom is confronted with adapting to skinny jeans, books on tablet devices and the fact that there are desperately lonely souls who follow Pepto-Bismol on Twitter. He’s realizing that the consumer and media monster he helped create has turned against him.

At home, Thom’s antidepressants are depressing intimacy with his wife (Kathryn Hahn), and his over-the-counter solution gives him erotic dreams about Keebler Elves.

It’s unfortunate that HAPPYish arrives with baggage. Philip Seymour Hoffman originally signed on to star, and Showtime ordered it to series shortly before his death in February 2014. Coogan does an admirable job in an unenviable position replacing Hoffman. But the intellectually provocative material is undone by vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake, making HAPPYish merely OKish.

HAPPYish premieres on Showtime Sunday, April 26, at 9:30pm ET/PT. The series premiere is available to watch now for free on Sho.com.

Showtime HAPPYish

Photo: Credit: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

About Ryan Berenz 2107 Articles
Some things I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife