It's a classic story: Boy meets girl. Boy proposes to girl. Girl leaves boy at altar for shirtless, roller skating stranger. Boy and girl's shared circle of friends must choose sides and pick up the pieces for the failed couple in a series of wacky, weekly scenarios.
OK, so it's not a classic story. But it's the premise of "Happy Endings," a new ABC sitcom that takes the tried-and-true "Friends" format (six friends, a left-at-the-altar set-up) and answers the question, "What if the characters on 'Friends' were less interesting, less good looking and less funny—and we really didn't want to hang out with them?"
The buzz: The "Happy Endings" pilot was directed by the Russo brothers, those hard-working, Emmy Award-winning siblings who earned a lot of their TV street cred for their work on "Arrested Development," and have found a new legion of fans with NBC's "Community." This is not their finest half-hour. The series' Ross and Rachel are Alex (Elisha Cuthbert, "24") and Dave (Zachary Knighton, "FlashFoward"), respectively, who offer milquetoast versions of the show's vital will-they-or-won't-they pairing. Ex-"SNL" cast member Casey Wilson rounds out the cast as best bud Penny.
The verdict: "Happy Endings" is a by-the-numbers, ho-hum rom-com sitcom. Many scenes feel like little more than a convoluted series of set-up/punchline opportunities, and the single-cam format means we don't even get canned laughter to fill in the void after a particularly odious clunker.
Did you know? Something about "Happy Endings" funnyman Brad look and sound oddly familiar? That's comedian Damon Wayans, Jr., son of—wait for it!—comedian Damon Wayans ("In Living Color"). Keep an eye out for a rumored guest spot by Wayans, Sr. on an upcoming episode.
"Happy Endings" premieres Wednesday, April 13, at 9:31 p.m. on ABC. Regularly airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.