One Big Happy premiered last night and it was a disaster. It wasn’t even the sort of fascinatingly bad trainwreck that can become a hatewatch show, it was just a boring sitcom that borrowed all of its gags from ten years ago.
The concept of the show is that Lizzy (Elisha Cuthbert) and Luke (Nick Zano) are best friends who’ve decided to have a baby together because neither of them has met the right woman to have a serious relationship with. But just when Lizzy actually gets pregnant after many attempts, Luke meets Prudence (Kelly Brook) and they have such an instant connection that they decide to get married. The show spends a lot of time reiterating this concept, like we might forget what’s happening in the plot at any moment. But, they never really get anything out of the situation’s comedic potential or do the character work necessary to make us invested in any of this.
The humor is absolutely painful and outdated. At one point, Prudence tells Luke that she has to tell him something and says, “Were you born a man?” (They have to pause because the audience was cued to laugh at the very concept of anyone being a trans woman) and then says “I’m oddly okay with that.” Why did they have to go out of their way to have him say that it would be odd for him to be okay with this? For the sake of making a tired, tired joke that every bad sitcom has done, I guess. This line hung over the rest of the episode and when Lizzy and Prudence gushed over how great it is that Luke was okay with it when Lizzy came out, this show felt like one giant unnecessary reminder of how much straight allies outrank trans people on the list of identities we’re supposed to care about. Most of the jokes weren’t so offensive but they were just as cliche and unfunny.
Hopefully part of what made the pilot of One Big Happy so devoid of laughs was that they felt they had to really explain the cumbersome set up. Maybe now that the relationships have been established, moving forward they can focus on actually making this thing funny and interesting. Fingers crossed.