It took a while — 1,275 days, for those who enjoy marking long stretches of time with days instead of months and years. But fans of Happy Endings finally got what they wanted (or the closest thing to it) when the cast of the beloved, gone-too-soon cult comedy reunited at EW PopFest in October to perform a read-through of a spanking-new script.
Jokingly positioned as a “lost episode” of the 2011-2013 ABC series, “Happy to Be Here” resumes the action a few years after the final scene of the series finale, in which the six characters — Penny (Casey Wilson), Max (Adam Pally), Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.), Jane (Eliza Coupe), Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), and Dave (Zachary Knighton) — were happily dancing the night away at a wedding while the credits rolled. In a turn of events no one saw coming, the sextet wound up getting in a huge fight mere seconds after that dancing moment and none of the characters has spoken to each other since. Until now, in 2016, when Max comes to bail Penny out of a mall jail and inform her that ONE OF THEIR FRIENDS IS DEAD.
Don’t worry, it’s not Alex, Dave, Brad or Jane.
Or… is it?
Take a minute — or 30 — and watch the video of the go-for-broke, laugh-jammed read-through, which includes such one-liners as Alex’s ”I told you guys a long time ago… I’m not as dumb as I am,” and Max’s “You know what I was thinking? What if George Wendt’s wife Bernadette left him for a throuple with Lucy Lu and Jamie King, then divorced them to marry NHL hall of famer Grant Fuhr, only to leave him for Everlast from House of Pain, then Sting, then Kevin Love, then Yoko Ono, then former ABC president Paul Lee, then Tuco fromBreaking Bad, then Glenn Beck, then Harrison Ford, then Curious George, only to finally go back and rekindle things with George Wendt… would she go by Bernadette Wendt Lu-King Fuhr Everlast-Sting Love, Ono-Lee Tuco Beck Ford George Wendt?” (For those wanting to read a summary of the action, which included a draaaamaaaa-tic surprise guest, head here.)
Okay, now that you’ve seen or read about it, Happy Endings creator David Caspe can fill you in on that trippy ending. “It just seemed like a really funny idea but because we’re not shooting this — it’s not going on TV — we just wanted to be able to be weird and have crazy jokes and have Brad basically attacked by multiple bears, and possibly raped by a lot of bears,” he tells EW. “Then we started to realize, ‘Well, if we’re going that far, it would be nice if it was a dream, so we don’t f— up the canon or whatever everyone loves about the show.”
And there was a sincere significance to that final line from Alex. “Not to get too heartfelt, but it’s a sweet idea to just say the whole thing was a sweet, sweet dream, because it really feels like that,” says Caspe, who’s now penning a comedy for Showtime called Manhunt. “Everyone’s like, ‘We did it, and had no idea what we were doing,’ and then it was over and we were all kind of gone, and then we realized, ‘Oh, that was so much fun. That sucks that we don’t get to do it anymore. And it truly was a sweet, sweet dream.”
Getting to work again with his Happy Endings staff was also an amahzing treat for Caspe, who was impressed with the number of the writers who set aside time to collaborate on a script in the name of charity — and in memory of the show’s late script supervisor Tracy Scott (see below). “We had 20-plus writers, maybe 30 writers, over the course of three days come up with the story, and it actually happened really quickly,” he says. “A couple of different writers took a scene and wrote it, and then we put it all together and brought everyone in to punch it up. It was truly a group effort between everyone who worked on the show for the three years.”
What was it like to see the show spring back to life for one day in front of a live audience? “The real takeaway for me was how amazing the fans are — that they still give a sh– blows my mind — and how amazing the group was that made the show,” he says. “It was truly a collaborative effort between al the writers, the actors and the amazing crew. Tracy is the reason we were there and she represents how much we love our crew. It really was this lightning-in-a-bottle thing of just a lot of love from a lot of people working together. And that really is the takeaway — just how much everybody loved doing it. I think that’s the reason so many fans still love watching it and seeing it. The fact that we had so much fun and loved each other and loved doing it came through.”
Which leads us, of course, to a big question that’s probably hanging out of your mouth: When do fans get the real reunion — in the form of a reboot? “The state is the same as it’s always been,” Caspe recently told EW. “All of us love it and would totally do it. But unfortunately, nobody has stepped up to do it. Now there are more problems obviously because Elisha’s on a show (Netflix’s The Ranch) and Pally is on a show (Fox’s Making History). You never know. Arrested Development was off the air for longer than this and all those people had shows. The key is the people involved wanting to do it, and that we have. But then sadly the lock that our key does not fit into is the lock on the money and someone wanting to air it.” You heard the man: Simply inherit several billion dollars, start up a network, and fund a revival of the show.
The new Happy Endings script, which was written for EW PopFest, is dedicated to the memory of Tracy Scott. A donation in her name has been made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. To learn more and donate, click here.