Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happyish — isn't that what it's all about? OK, maybe that last thing isn't exactly how our Founding Fathers phrased it. But Happyish on Showtime does explore one of our most basic needs, wondering if we should all strive for total happiness, or just be content with being happyish. It's a noble undertaking, to be sure, but how does it work as a series? Now that the season has come to an end — Showtime will air the first season finale on June 28 — we can all look back and asses whether it's worthy enough to return. The big question: Will Showtime renew Happyish for Season 2?
So far, Showtime has kept mum about whether or not it'll bring Steve Coogan and company back for another round of darkly comedic navel-gazing. It really could go either way. If you're an optimistic fan of the series, there are some bright spots you can look to as you cross your fingers and hope for a renewal. But, you'd really have to want to see the glass as half full, because there are some pretty big indicators of cancellation. Here's why you can be happy-ish about the show's chances:
Happy: The Cast Is Amazing
Ish: Except For The One Actor Who's Missing
Showtime would do well to keep the show around, if only because of the amazing cast it's assembled: Steve Coogan (love him!), Kathryn Hahn (love her!), and Bradley Whitford (who's an alum of my college — go Wes!). There is a dark cloud hanging over the ensemble, though. The series was originally supposed to star Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died a few months after shooting the pilot. It makes a dark comedy even darker.
Happy: Ratings Don't Matter As Much To Showtime
Ish: The Ratings Are Pretty Poor
Viewership for Happyish is really, really low: According to TV By the Numbers, the series has averaged just 240,000 viewers. Ouch. That makes it one of the least-watched Showtime series. That seems dire, but, since Showtime is a paid network that doesn't need to sell commercials, it's less beholden to ratings. The subscribers are there, whether Happyish is on the schedule or not. Showtime could swap it out for something better, but they might not because...
Happy: Showtime Doesn't Have A Ton Of Hits To Replace It With
Ish: That Doesn't Mean It Won't Try
It's not like every new show that Showtime debuted this year was a ratings blockbuster except for Happyish. The Affair, for example, only wound up somewhere in the middle of the pack. And, with Nurse Jackie ending, the network might not have anything else to put in the Happyish slot. That doesn't mean it won't whip something up by this time next year, but Happyish has the benefit of the status quo.
Happy: Upper Middle Class Malaise Is So Hot Right Now
Ish: But Is That A Good Thing?
Looking into the emotional dissatisfaction of financially comfortable white people is kind of a mini-trend at the moment; I'm also thinking of HBO's Togetherness here. But is it safe that Happyish is part of that zeitgeist, or does that make it yet another show about the upper-middle-class blues, when what TV really needs is something different?
Happy: It's Not Canceled Yet
Ish: It's Basically The Last Show Left
Hey, as long as the word hasn't come down that it's officially canceled, there's still hope, right? Especially because Episodes, which only has slightly higher ratings, was renewed for another season. If Episodes can do it, Happyish can do it! But... why hasn't Showtime done it yet? I'm sure it wants to see what happens with the finale, but Happyish is basically the last show for the network to renew or cancel, which suggests it doesn't have much faith. Oh well — there's always Twin Peaks to look forward to, right?
Images: Mark Schafer/Showtime; Giphy (5)