Happy Town is a new series on ABC by creators Josh Appelbaum, Scott Rosenberg, and
Andre Nemec (October Road & Life On Mars) set in the small town of Haplin, Minnesota
(or Canada but we arent supposed to know that) where the townspeople have more secrets
than the CIA. I have to hand it to ABC they are not shying away from Serial Dramas,
even though they tend to be a bit of a gamble. Because let’s face it the general public
tends to like their shows wrapped up in a neat little package in 48 minutes. For some
reason shows that require dedication don’t make for blockbusters or if they are they run
the problem of fizzling out fast, Twin Peaks anyone? Luckily it seems as though ABC has
taken a lesson from CBS’s Harper’s Island and scheduled Happy Town with a limited run.
Which hopefully means we won’t have to sit through 4 years of stand alone episodes
waiting for the big reveal. I for one, am a fan of this new way of programming.
Creators and writers can write out the beginning, middle, and end to their story without
having to deal with filler. The viewers on the other hand can sit back with the
realization that for the next couple of months they can lose themselves in a mystery
without getting bored.
Unfortunately unless the first 14 minutes of the pilot were intended to be a nod to
every badly acted, written, and directed horror movie ever, I find it very difficult to
believe that Happy Town will be anything but a blip on the television screen. When the
show first opens up we see a car pull over on a dark backwoods road where a couple
lovingly embraces their last chance at carnal lust. Right away I can’t help but to
think “Really? Really?” And then to top it off you see the chick break rule number one
in horror movies and that is she goes to investigate the strange noises she hears. This
is of course after she makes a trek through the woods. I can only hope that this scene
was put in as a snarky nod to the cheese of the past. I mean if you have seen one
stupid girl walking through the woods to her probable death you have seen them all.
Except in this girl’s case she got lucky because a crow made a noise (yeah you read that
right a frakking crow) and then suddenly it started to rain. I know, I know I too shook
my head in disgust. But wait it gets better or worse, depending on how you look at it.
Oh yeah that’s right in the first 3 minutes we get the priviledge of not only watching a
man get a swirley, I believe the intention was drowning by toliet, but truthfully it
looked like a swirley. We also had the pleasure of him begging for his life from a guy
who appeared to be wearing a slicker (I Know What You Did Last Summer anyone?) by
saying he would tell him what he wanted only to get a spike through his head. Don’t
worry all you squeamish types they don’t show that part. Although it might have made
the scene a little more bearable.
Oh but trust me the cheese does not end there. Oh no it most assuredly does not because
now we are introduced to Haplin or as the insanely chipper realtor claims the
townspeople call it “Happy Town.” How on Earth she managed to say that line without
even a hint of irony is beyond me. If you haven’t seen the first 14 minutes yet well
let me just tell you that Haplin is the picture perfect nauseating town that most of us
would run screaming from if we ever had the misfortune of breaking down in. Yeah it’s
that freak town where everything is perfect and clean and nice and boring as hell. The
air even smells like fresh bread at all times because of the local bread making factory.
Doesn’t it just make you want to throw up? I know I did. Actually I didn’t know if I
wanted to throw up or laugh hysterically. I still don’t know. Of course as with all
perfect places this town too has a hidden secret. Well not so secret seeing as how one
of the townspeople, who had a child who mysteriously disappeared along with 6 other
people sometime ago, decided to erect a banner in the middle of the town’s square
reminding everyone of their disapperance.
But of course this is Happy Town and no one wants to remember the bad in Happy Town. So
much so that a fight breaks out that Mr. Friendly has to break up. Well it is his job
considering that he is the town’s sheriff; who of course has a secret. I am guessing
most of the people in Perfect Town have a secret they don’t want anyone to know. Well
except maybe the realtor. Nah, no one is that frakking chipper. In fact even though I
have only seen a small part of the pilot my money’s on her as the killer. She has got
to be The Magic Man. If not then she is dealing drugs out of the basement of her
house. Now since this was just a small taste to the new show I am barely hopeful that
it gets better. But in order to find out I guess I will have to watch the premiere.
Please, oh please let it get better.