The second episode of One Big Happy was a vast improvement on the pilot, not that this is saying much. There were actually a few laughs and everyone in the ensemble is now clearly defined and showing their potential. But, the whole thing is still weighed down by a lot of unbelievably embarrassing humor. For instance, at one point during the episode, Prudence declared, “Look, it’s my grandma’s cock!” and it panned to her holding a ceramic rooster.
This episode had Lizzy dealing with an ex named Erica who she’s not over despite how terrible Erica was to her. Some of the jokes in this plot aren’t bad. When Luke reminds her that Erica dumped her on her birthday, Lizzy says, “In Erica’s defense, she said that she forgot it was my birthday.” When Luke tells her to get over her, Lizzy says, “Oh my God. Thank you. ‘Get over her.’ That is the best advice I’ve heard since my dad told me ‘just be straight.'”
Other attempts at jokes in the episode were cringe-inducing. When Lizzy tells Prudence not to go in her closet, Prudence asks, “Why is that closet special? Is it the one you came out of?” Then when Luke says that it’s where she’s saving all of Erica’s stuff even though they broke up three years ago, he says, “Lesbians move in quick but they get over each other real slow.” Ugh.
A major problem with the show is that it’s so over-the-top with its multi-camera, laugh track sitcom style. Even when the jokes are well-written, they don’t play as well as they would with a less cheesy execution. It doesn’t have to get rid of the laughtrack or multi-camera format entirely. Mom, for example, is a show that has done a great job of using this format without feeling totally outdated.
The material has gotten just bareable enough that Elisha Cuthbert is able to shine. I am glad that, if nothing else, this show provided me with an episode that begins and ends with Elisha Cuthberg cringing and saying, “Ugh, straight people.”
The best moments of One Big Happy‘s second episode made me think that it might get better, but they still have a lot of work to do improving it.