It’s usually easier to review something I dislike. I can point out its perceived shortcomings, explain why it didn’t appeal to me, & make suggestions of how to fix it, all while incorporating snarky quips. Meanwhile I struggle to write thorough reviews of media that just click with me. (Perhaps one day I can be as insightful as The Institute of Gremlins 2 Studies.) This installment comes later than expected because I wanted to write a meaningful recommendation of Happy! beyond “I liked this! It’s good; trust me.”
Syfy has won me over with its adaptation of Happy! Much like FILLER! & mother! (I learned only too late that it has no capitals), its loopiness bleeds into my sentence structure thanks to its mandatory exclamation mark. Sometimes it feels like it was made just for me! The Grant Morrison & Darick Robertson comic is only four issues, so it’s perfect length for a feature film. Unlike Inhumans, it translated surprisingly well into an eight episode TV season. The expanded stuff is legitimutantly engaging instead of empty padding.
While most comic book adaptations feel the need to tone things down, this one goes even further. It’s made by Brian Taylor, the co-creator of the Crank movies, & it shows. There’s a reason it includes an incredibly specific content advisory! Morrison even got to write the bookend episodes! The character names in addition to the setting & themes make it abundantly clear that this is a Christmas story for those that still doubt Die Hard & Gremlins. (Yet these people just accept the film about a suicidal man being convinced he’s literally the most important man in the universe?) What could’ve been a conventional crimester subplot becomes the confluence of reality TV (The Secrets of My Sussex is the best) & the supernatural. There are highfalutin’ references to The Shining & Chinatown amidst the assorted musical numbers. Its slapstick ultraviolence even has a nunchuck fight!
Christopher Meloni’s seemingly immortal Nick Sax is a delightfully ornery Wolverine expy if you squint. Patton Oswalt is so prolific now that his voice occasionally took me out of his performance as the eponymous character. Ubiquitous character actor
David Dastmalchian Patrick Fischler is fun as Smoothie the professional sadist. (Maybe he’ll return with a fashionable eye-patch?) It even wrings pathos out of the Very Bad Santa. The women get to be active participants too!
A nifty aspect is that the series isn’t ambiguous about whether Happy, kidnapped Hailey’s imaginary friend that enlists Nick’s aid, is a merely a hallucination. Although only unhinged adults can interact with him, Happy is real … or at least as real an imaginary friend can be. He’s introduced as able to do surveillance that Nick couldn’t, so Happy’s not a schizophrenia metaphor in terms of the narrative. By fully embracing the central fantasy early on, Happy! gets even wilder. Nick & Happy are the best ex-cop/toon duo since Eddie Valentine & Roger Rabbit.
The prawn from the comics made it in too! He’s there because of the No Reason principle, although they could’ve tied him into The Bug’s zoomorphic orgy. (While I’ve been told Furry can refer to any animal regardless of whether they’re furred, the term still feels to exclusionary to use here. Have them replace it with something more expansive. Or provide more specific subset terminology so nobody has to bother zookeeping anyone who insists their Fursona is a human.) Did I mention this show could be problematic? (This applies to the majority of all art, so this term has become virtually meaningless.) Abducted kids are transported in giant doll boxes complete with twist tie restraints. On a more surrealist note, there’s a bubblegum colored Cerberus.
Although the middle is zanier than the drugged out shamebaby of Preacher & Legion, it’s not hard to predict how the season ends. The announcement of a second season doubles your odds of clairvoyance. That doesn’t make it any less satisfying though. If only more Peak TV could be this joyous kooky! Hopefully Happy! will just say no to sophomore slump!
Thanks to a Superb Owl trailer, my less than glowing review of Westworld season one is relevant again. More importantly, James Frain noticed my Azrael custom!
Happy! was already too gonzo to caption any stills, so here’s as close as I can get to recreating Azrael’s exit with action figures instead. The bazooka comes courtesy of the Marvel NOW! Deadpool I told myself I didn’t need. (His pistol holster placement looks problematic for cross-drawing. I wish he came with alternate hands to grip his katana better. I will also tell myself I don’t need the classic Deadpool because his logo belt buckle is anachronistic & it lacks firearms.) Technically the Penguin is also a custom, as I found a cheap SDCC “roughed up” edition & repainted Oswald to look like the ironically pricier regular version. I took something rare & made it look common because the blood was really tacky!
Gotham returns March 1, which is not quite spring yet. So its claim that the mid-season finale of season four was technically a season finale are false! Although since season four started in the fall, maybe starting the back half in winter makes it true?
There’s a lots of Star Wars news as far as trailers, movie series, & TV shows goes. (In Disney’s Sword In The Stone remake, Madam Mim will be replaced with Porgan Le Fay for adorable synergy.) I don’t feel like talking about any of them! Ditto the thoroughly underwhelming Venom trailer. (Tom Hardy became Venom to compensate for his Bane not being on it.) Now here’s what you should get excited about instead:
There’s a Usagi Yojimbo cartoon on the way! Furthermore the Disney Channel is finally developing a live action Kim Possible reboot! If they can get Rachel Talay to elevate this telefilm, it could be better than the overdue Black Widow movie! Which too old for high school ginger should play Kim: Karen Gillan, Rose Leslie, Madelaine Petsch, Bella Thorne, Holland Roden, or Becky Lynch?
Next week brings Black Panther, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season finale, & Toy Fair! That seems like too much for one weekend. If all goes according to plan, the next installment will be sometime late next week. Or I’ll screw up my weekly quota & it’ll be early the next one. So far that monkey’s paw I found is working out gangbusters!