Episodes: 10 (half-hour)
TV show dates: April 26, 2015 — June 28, 2015
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Sawyer Shipman, Bradley Whitford, and Ellen Barkin.
TV show description:
A dark comedy, this series follows a man who’s faced with obsolescence in a youth-obsessed culture. His world is thrown into disarray when his 25 year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital,” “social” and “viral.” Is he in need of a “rebranding,” or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?” Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Is “happyish” is the best one can expect after 44 years on the planet?
Thom Payne (Steve Coogan) is a middle-age advertising creative director with all the trappings of success. he has a roster of big-name clients and a shelf of trophies for his work, a beautiful house in the woods within an easy commute of New York City, a loving wife he’s still attracted to, and a six-year-old son he adores. The problem is that he’s aging out of an industry that is obsessed with youth, or the mood stabilizers he’s on are destroying his sex drive, or he’s terrified that his generalized dissatisfaction is messing up his kid. And yet he bravely soldiers on, trying his best to at least maintain a state of happyish.
Thom is married to Lee (Kathryn Hahn), an artist and mother who makes a great home for her husband and son. She’s appealing and sexy in a real way. She loves her happiness-challenged husband, and they have a good marriage but she has some demons of her own — including a tense relationship with her meddling mother, who induces Jewish guilt at every turn. Lee is not above having an epic freak out every now and then to take the edge off.
Their adorable son is Julius (Sawyer Shipman). a boy who’s easily frightened, intimidated by his peers, and has trouble finding his own bliss. This exacerbates his parents’ fear that they are somehow screwing him up.
Thom’s immediate boss and close friend is Jonathan (Bradley Whitford). He’s trying to adapt to the new corporate paradigm rather than fight it. In his fifties, he has taken to wearing skinny jeans in an effort to fit in with the perpetually younger-skewing advertising industry. But he’s in a difficult position as management, and his advice that Thom change with the times or face the consequences does not go over well.
A smart and straight-talking headhunter, Dani Kirschenbloom (Ellen Barkin) is convinced that her friend Thom shouldn’t let the pursuit of happiness interfere with his life.
Thom writes a story involving meaning, underpants, a church and a cop. Then he quits. Also: ‘Radical Capitalism,’ The New Yorker, hopes, dreams and a big red slide.
First aired: June 28, 2015.
What do you think? Do you like the Happyish TV show? Do you think it should have been cancelled or renewed for a second season?