ABC's Wednesday Comedies: Can Modern Family, Suburgatory, and The Middle Stand Up to Happy Endings?

With three reruns in last night's ABC comedy block and one very excellent new episode of Happy Endings, it's time to address the elephant in the room.

All four shows are great, but Happy Endings has been headlining for a reason: It's not fair to make any of the other shows follow it, it's just too good. It's consistently the edgiest and almost always the funniest. Which is not to say that one of the other shows couldn't make the most of its specific advantages and unseat Happy Endings, but right now, as of March 2012, Happy Endings is clearly the one to beat. At a high school prom, the principal would call Happy Endings up to the stage for the Prom Queen crown without even counting the votes.

So, let's do a little FTW Rerun Playback and go through ABC's four Wednesday comedies in reverse order, assessing their advantages and giving them some key plays that they'll need to overtake the unstoppable comedic force that is Happy Endings.

First rule of being a champion: Know your competition.


Happy Endings S02E17: "The Kerkovich Way"

Last night's brand new episode had a lot of the elements we love about Happy Ending. The small, dense, edgy jokes, both visual and verbal, like tiny Alex eating fatty foods by the fistful and making reference to buying homemade cough drops. It also had the big physical comedy we've grown to expect, like Penny eating a donut off the ground and walking into a street sign. The characters are consistent and distinct, there's not the voice of one writer talking through many characters, but characters who we recognize, even when they're absurdly heightened. Jane's ghost protocol tactics in planting popcorn in Brad's mouth and wrangling false receipts would be too silly on another show. But it's JANE. She crazy like that! We buy it. And the show itself touches deftly on topics its target audience relates to—from timely fads like the food trucks to nostalgia-driven homages to John Hughes movies. It’s a killer combination of sexy and goofy, comfortable and edgy, visual and verbal, all laid over strong structure.


Modern Family

...was last year's comedy darling, so the show is a victim of our high expectations. Even so, fans have been left this season with the sense that the series is coasting on the same old dynamics and repeating patterns. Part of the reason Modern Family seems flat lately is its complete lack of stakes: The Dunphy and Pritchett clans are insulated by their wealth from real problems or consequences. Example: In last night's rerun, “Punkin Chunkin',” Hayley dented the car and the girls struggled to keep it a secret from Claire. And then a chunked punkin' came along and made the dent EVEN bigger! And everyone had a big laugh because they're millionaires and their insurance covers it anyway.

Suggested Comedy Play: One way into good comedy is to give the story the same stakes as good drama. One lost job, one downgraded mansion could rejuvenate a series that is treading water. Especially if it unites the families: the show is always at its best when everybody's under one roof.


Suburgatory

...has a lot going for it. The show is beautifully shot, has a wealth of comic talent, and takes chances. It veers toward the absurd every once in a while, and that’s what makes it special. (In last night's rerun, that would be the weird laser drawings in the crystal paperweights.) Where the show runs into trouble is in getting lost in Tessa's wearisome storylines. Suburgatory's completionist nature of following every weary high school moral Tessa must learn is weirdly at odds with its fun, freewheeling, absurdist tone. While Jane Levy is a joy, her character is joyless, arrogant, and simply not fun to spend time with. She's almost always the condescending straight man to a host of more delightful characters.

Suggested Comedy Play: Loosen Tessa up or give her more time offscreen. Suburgatory is at its best when Tessa nd Cheryl Hines's Dallas Royce connect, or when Tessa and Dahlia confront. Dahlia is criminally underused, as though the writers are afraid our delight in seeing her will overpower the affection we're supposed to feel for Tessa. Suburgatory should enjoy its weirdness a little more—and if could skip wrapping up everything in a neat little bow, that'd kind of be a gift.


The Middle

I am not going to talk about Patricia Heaton. Why would I? Exactly. Why fire cannonballs at a ship if you disagree with one sailor? Separately, though, that wig needs to go. The Middle essentially excised the words "Malcolm in" and swapped a brother for a sister. And the formula works: working class family, no laugh track, lovable characters, and plenty of “shave-and-haircut-two-bits” setup-and-punchline jokes. And yet there's a reason it airs first in the block: It consistently ranks low not only on my point system, but with you guys. What would it take to make The Middle critically catch up with Happy Endings?

Suggested Comedy Play: The one edge The Middle has is relatability. How many of us live with all our childhood friends in three apartments in Chicago? How many of us are trapped in a mansion in Suburgatory or enjoy being as rich as the Pritchetts? The Middle is maybe the poorest family on TV, and that's awesome. That's the best thing about it. The more hilariously pathetic their circumstances, the better the family's bond comes across. And, more importantly, the funnier their plotlines become. Sue is a great illustration of this—simultaneously the most pathetic and cheerful family member. Sue it up, Hecks! Like, if they all ended up in a trailer for next season and Frankie and Hank rekindled their stagnant marriage, that would be ideal.


The Viewer's Choice Blue Ribbon win for 2/27 will return next week along with the new episodes.


Questions:

– Do you agree with my assessment of the shows?

– Is Happy Endings clearly in the lead, or can you make an argument for a different show in the block?

– And if it is, how do the other shows bring up their game to Happy Endings' level?

Comments (61)
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You are wrong about The Middle . One person can bring down the whole ship. How can I watch Heaton's portrayal of wholesome Frankie after having seen her tweets?
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And if it is, how do the other shows bring up their game to Happy Endings' level?



By giving the writers of the other shows as much cocaine and/or meth as HE's writers seemingly do? I really do like the show (although Eliza Coupe's tendency to be annoying in this particular role occasionally reaches epic levels), but they could slow down the dialogue juuuuust enough to be understandable without sacrificing the rapid-fire pace. I like fast-paced comedy but this show often takes it to an intolerable -- and unintelligible -- level.

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so I've watched the first 6 episodes of Happy Endings and while I think it can be funny at times, I think that it in no way compares to the whit and subtle humour of Modern Family. To even compare them is what I would consider comedy.



One is D**K and Fart jokes and the other is high brow humour that makes you think.



The Middle just makes me laugh every week with the crazy dynamics of the family and the all out no holds barred brashness of each kid versus the parents.



Happy Endings is just a time filler when I have nothing else to watch
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I love The Middle (even despite Heaton's unfortunate politics)
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On the basis of this article I started watching Happy Endings, as I love Modern Family and assumed it would be as good. I got half way through the 3rd episode and am perfectly happy not watching another minute. BAD show ergo BAD article.
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You've completely missed the boat on The Middle. It is the only decent show out of the four, because... it's the only one that's decent, in that it doesn't wallow in filth, which makes it stand out from most other current sitcoms. Also, you chose a very clumsy -- not clever -- way to "not talk about" Patricia Heaton.
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there is no way Happy Endings is getting better rates than Modern Family...are they serious?? or just faking the rates?
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It's possible that Happy Endings have the best ratings, but I have often thought of stop watching the show, cause sometimes i think the only good thing about the show is that Max isn't that typical stereotype of a gay (thumbs up). But sometimes this show just seems more disturbing than funny, the baby and momma costume, urgh, but okay it is unexpected and new, perhaps another reason why i am still watching this show. But I think The Middle is one of the best series in ABC's wednesday linie-up, because it is so cosy. You can snuggle down in your coach, and just let your cares fly away. We already know what is going to happen because of the title, so nothing is going to surprise us. And we can laugh because it's just to typical for the character, what they are doing, and they are so lovable. I think there have to be shows like that. But the best is Modern Family, there is some of the same reasons for my opinion as with The Middle, but i also love the part of the modern day family-structure, it's a nice twist.
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Pure brilliance from Happy Endings. It has settled in nicely at #3 comedy series. Behind only #2 Parks & Rec and numero 1 = Community of course.



This weeks episode was so fun, and the season overal has been awesome. Only thing that was so bad was the serbian accent, sounded like something off Google translate, oh well.
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I personally haven't been able to finish watching a single episode of Happy Endings, and have never laughed at any of them. Modern family on the other hand I have been able to watch to completion almost every episode, and have also laughed (mostly only at Phil). This is obviously just one person's experience, but to my perspective Happy Endings just doesn't work. That said, I also haven't been able to enjoy the Middle either. Suburgatory on the other hand has managed to make me laugh on several occasions, but it's usually just Alan Tudyk that's responsible for that, and not the show as a whole.
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I can't stand Happy Endings. Every single character is just too far over the top. I truly dislike it as much as any non reality TV show out there.
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Happy Endings will always come out on top simply because it will be the only show that can make me believe that a character is a bear. Sorry, but that was literally the cutest thing I saw in a comedy. And what's more, it fit with the character, which on another show would just seem stupid. I like Suburgatory, but aside from Noah and Daliah I don't love the charcters. Never watched the Middle, and I hated Modern Family. Couldn't watch more than a few episodes.
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The Middle is one of the very best shows on TV, and Patricia H, and the rest of the outstanding cast really make the show great. Quit being so snarky, back off and enjoy the writing, acting and down to earth aspects of this show. Modern Family is still quite funny, but Suburgatory is a pretty negative show, with Tessa grumping around all the time. The ONLY salvation to this show is Cheryl Hines, who is an absolute hoot, and the only real reason to tune in. Happy Endings has its moments, but they are few and far between, and is barely still on the air. If it didn't have strong lead-in shows, it would have gone away long before now.
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"Happy Endings has its moments, but they are few and far between"



Quit being so snarky, back off and enjoy the writing.
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In addition to being damn good, I feel like Happy Endings has really earned a spot. It premiered in a season that was saturated with shows attempting to be the next Friends. Not only was it pretty much the only one to make it through that, but did so with a style of humor that put Friends itself to shame. You simply can't go anywhere on broadcast, and only one place on cable, to find such rapid fire jokes.



Modern Family's problem lies less with how wealthy the characters are, and more in the fact that the writers forgot they were making a sitcom, not a cartoon. By the way, if I wanted to watch poor people struggling to make bills, I have my own life; not to mention a show infinitely better than The Middle called Raising Hope.
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Happy Endings is definately my favourite of the three and Alex is one of my favourite characters on TV (until the 15th of March anyway, when she'll drop about 7 places). I should say that I don't watch Modern Family so I'm not including it.



I agree with what you said about The Middle and Suburgatory. The middle definately needs to keep pitting the kids against the adults, the three siblings are brilliant in scenes together, whether they are teaming up or battling it out.

I'm not sure that more Dahlia would be such a good thing. The fact that she is used sparingly usually means that her contributions are brilliant, if there was more of her character then her shine might be diminished. Tessa does need to lighten up a light though and more Lisa would be a good thing.
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Ironically enough the only one of these shows I don't watch is Happy Endings...



Also, I see how you can compare Malcom in the Middle to The Middle, but please don't. Malcom in the Middle has always (and will always) be on a much higher level than any other sitcom.
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happy endings still has the lowest ratings out of the four comedies, and its played latest not because it is best but because it needs the ratings lead in of modern family
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1) No, since you're basically recapping previous assessments, didn't agree then and don't agree now.



2) For me, Suburgatory is clearly in the lead, no contest. MF and the Middle are mediocre and Happy Endings is good, but Suburgatory is great. I like every moment with Tessa. I like Tessa's attitude. And if we say Suburgatory is in fact ABC's Community, then Dhalia is Suburgatory's Chang. Less is more. Dallas, too. They're over the top 1-dimensional characters. Somehow, we're not watching the same show. Lily, were you the mean girl in school?
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Personally I find Suburgatory funnier than Happy Endings, but everyone has their own comedy sensibilities. When they are all funny shows do we really need to rate them against each other? No... no we do not.
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I'm inclined to think that happy endings is potentially the best with modern family or suburgatory coming in second and the middle bringing up the rear. I do enjoy the middle though the seemingly always depressing tone tends to not make it high on my to watch list. i think "sue it up" would improve it to some degree. anyway i unfortunately am not caring for happy endings as much this season. i feel that the shows strength is in it's stories and not necessarily it's actors / characters ...hear me out ...there's a lot more half-words by penny and obnoxious overly-excited manner-of-speaking this season than last and wish they'd tone it down a bit.
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Happy Endings all the way! Its wit is rapid-fired, its characters are adorable, and it actually has some sense of progression, unlike Modern Family. I could be watching an episode of MF season 1 or season 3 and it wouldn't make a difference because it begins the same way and ends in the same talking-head-filled way. The only lasting things that ever really happens on MF are graduations that don't change relationships/personalities even the slightest, and talks of adopting another baby that is still just an idea this far out in the season. Whereas in HE, when someone introduces something new to the table, there's great continuity and character dynamics actually change. This also goes for Suburgatory. MF's format is just waaaay too stale, glorified, and tied with an inconsequential bow. HE does what a comedy is supposed to do: be comical.
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You took the words right out of my mouth. For all of them.
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That picture of Penny and Max says it all
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Last night episode of Happy Endings was great. Gotta love Jane! I also love Modern Family, but Happy Endings is my favorite this season.
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Did someone just compare Happy Endings to the great Modern Family ? Yes, Happy Endings had some funny moments but saying it was better than Modern Family ? No freaking way. I'm gonna take a shot here and say "Modern Family is ABC's Community"
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Modern Family and Community aren't similar shows.



Also, all the shows are funny. Funnier is very subjective.
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I watched the entire first season of Happy Endings because of critic and user reviews claiming this show is funnier than Modern Family (which I love). Yes, I watched and then sat around scratching my head wondering what all the hype was about. Where I might laugh out loud once or twice during Modern Family (and my new favorite, Suburgatory) I never laughed out loud while watching Happy Endings. Ever. It's akin to watching a smaller screen version of The Hangover or Bridesmaids, and therefore comes off as being absolutely absurd with characters that can be difficult to identify with because they're Hollywood caricatures. (The people most Americans want to be but never will.) At least in Modern Family and Surburgatory the absurdity is acknowledged and dealt with in a way which provides reflective and insightful commentary on the state of family life in America (The people most Americans actually are.). I've seen some pretty vocal camps here on TV.com in support of either Modern Family or Happy Endings in the past and I think a lot of that has to do with a dramatic difference in comedic styling. 1. Surburgatory 2. Modern Family 3. The Middle 4. Happy Endings
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Dissing Modern Family? Sounds like a smear campaign just because they're wealthy - might as well call it "1% TV".



And I would rank them: Modern Family, Happy Endings, The Middle, Subgore-atory.
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The middle, is always the same, always stuck on the same things and the family and characters never progress.. For me, the middle is a poor imitation of Malcolm in the middle,, which was a legendary comedy! Modern Family is still enjoyable for me and I still find it funny, but I don't think it deserves all those awards it gets every year,, maybe season one. Happy Endings, season 1, was o.k. nothing special,,, but this season,, its simply brilliant. It's funny, loveable characters, fresh and at the same time, has all the great qualities of Friends, which for me is the best comedy ever!!! p.s. the middle doesn't deserve its spot on Wednesday comedy and Cougar town should take its place!
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The Middle doesn't challenge but it doesn't discriminate. It does exactly what it says. Middle of the road. Somebody has to be bland in these times.
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WTH!!!!!!!!!!!! happy ending was new last night? see this is why networks should only show new 1's if their whole schedule is new or else ima assume its all repeats
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I rank these shows in reverse order to you. 1. Middle 2. Suburgatory 3.Modern 4.Happy

I start the block at LMAO and work my way down to WTF.
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no sorry to tell you this, but the middle sucks. your wrong
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If you are sorry, then why tell me. lol How can what I like be wrong? People obviously like different shows or there wouldn't be so many different ones airing. *I may be out of context as I just read your comment and it's been over a year.
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Happy Endings is the best for me, though I think that Suburgatory could close the gap if it continues to be good through this season and on to the next. I have to agree with Modern Family playing out the same things over and over again, I stopped watching it a while ago because it just wasn't any fun to watch any more.
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And I don't understand why everyone is so in love with MF it does not even seem remotely funny to me!
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Well considering I cannot stand any of the shows but HE yes I agree, and I couldn't care less if they all disappeared tomorrow
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Sorry meant to write that not as a reply
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I agree with you on all except suvurgatory, I agree with some of it but I do love Tessa and though maybe she should be a little happier or something she is still awesome
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I think Happy Endings is clearly in the lead in more recent times.



Modern Family, during it's first season, was one of my favorite shows on TV... probably favorite sitcom behind Community. Over the past two seasons, however, it has just gotten way too predictable, too cliche, too boring, and I just assume that the writers have gotten a tad lazy from all their success and are also running out of unique, clever, or creative jokes. The chemistry in the cast is still there, which is probably the biggest reason I still watch, but they're getting a lot more boring.



Suburgatory, right now, is a lot more fun than Modern Family. Part of it certainly has to do with being newer -- Suburgatory, in it's third season, can certainly be as predictable as MF has become -- but for now anyways, it's starting to find a groove and there isn't one character or actor on the show that I dislike. I didn't think it possible, but Suburgatory has managed to make a sitcom where my three favorite characters are young teenage girls (Tessa, Lisa, Dalia). It's just my personal tastes though that I think Happy Endings is still quite a bit ahead.
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I definitely disagree with your assessment of Modern Family. It is clearly the best of the Wednesday night comedies because of its commitment to small-time, everyday happenings. This is the only show I know that can take small issues like some story about chuckin pumpkins and make it into a 22-minute hilarious episode! Also, they're not rich or living "Lifestyles of the rich and famous"! They're simple people just like us, and have the same issues that modern families across the country have. Somehow, this show takes those same problems and other new issues and puts them into great comedy! I have never gotten bored with one of their episodes. NOT ONE! From the adults to the siblings, everybody has their niches, and they're freaking hilarious!



Don't get me wrong, I love Happy Endings. I skipped the first season because the concept sounded beyond corny to me. However, thanks to word of mout, I heard good things about the show and rented the first season. Hilarious!! This season is no different. Brad and Jane are one of my favorite on-screen couples right now. I loved last night's episode too. However, their comedy can be over-the-top too much at times, which is why I give Modern Family the better grade. But like I said before, I love this show.



I can't comment on The Middle or Suburgatory since I don't watch them. Truthfully, I'd rather have Cougartown on Wednesdays instead of Suburgatory, but that's just me. Put Happy Endings before MF at 8:30 and Courgartown at 9:30.



Suggestion: Throw high expectations out of the window. ANY SHOW that is subjected to high expectations 9/10 is doomed for failure because everybody EXPECTS perfection, which is total bullcrap to me! In fact, the whole concept of high expectations is about as stupid as perfection. Both are completely overblown concepts. Keep it simple! Just enjoy these Wednesday night comedies for the funny shows they are. Every episode doesn't have to be a home run or a grand slam to be good episode.
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I think I completely disagree with you on the two shows I watch in this list.. so you think Modern Family families are too wealthy to have real problems, and exemplify this with the pumpkin incident?? they weren't trying to target the car, it happened by accident, and though the Father Pritchett is portrayed as a wealthy man, the two other families are pretty much similar to those portrayed in many other shows.. and if people want to see families with dramatic problems -which does not make them real- they can watch countless variety of an-hour-drama shows.. MF is about acceptance, gathering, brother/sisterhood, embracing and that serves as enough for a drama point for a comedy show.. there is nothing wrong with MF.. coming to Suburgatory, I have even more protests.. Tessa is, for God's sake, the best teen example portrayed on TV.. she is a teen in the end, she will of course be bossy, arrogant, joyless.. she is great time to spend with -I would have wanted to have her as a friend if I were 16- and comparing her to Dahlia, is a sin.. Dahlia's are found in almost any teen based comedy shows, reality shows, drama shows, and if any other.. haven't you had enough with your mean girl phenomena already?? the show is great that for once, we are introduced to a character, who is neither a perfectionist-valedictorian candid-straight A-school president or an over-dressed-spoiled-rich-stupid-selfish bastard.. Tessa seems so close no normal, I feel like it is refreshing..



and btw, you have presented all of these arguments before, some more than once in your previous wednesday comedy block articles.. we get it: you like happy endings..
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But her point isn't that wealthy families can't have problems. The point is that there are hardly any emotional stakes on MF anymore because the characters are so comfortable. Even good comedies need to have some amount of emotional impact and import, or else what is the value of the storytelling?



And, okay, yes, Tessa is a typical teen but she is NO FUN to watch on screen. She's not very likeable, which Dalia is, even though she's an awful person--I WANT to watch her on screen being horrifying and hilarious. I don't want to watch Tessa be judgmental and a party pooper all the time. There's a difference between creating a particular personality and making that personality interesting and enjoyable to watch. Even the bad guys should be likeable, even if it's in an I-love-to-hate-you way.
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sorry but you are wrong.. MF characters are not that comfortable and I don't know where to start counting with.. all of the characters suffer from various personality and past issues, and they surfaced many times during the show.. and those moments brought great emotional impact and just the necessary drama to spice the comedy up.. (manny being grown up fatherless, father pritchett raising the kid and keeping up with a very young woman, gloria coming from a poor family, being a single mother and being alienated by claire, claire and mitchell's mom and dad issues, cameron-gloria and phil's constant struggle to gain acceptance from the family, the gay couple phenomena, the masculine father of the gay son, I can count longer).. if you and lily is unable to see and feel these, than maybe you should stop pretending you are watching the show and spare time for stuff you are more interested in..



and for Tessa, fun is a very subjective term.. I find her antics very funny and sweet, totally empathise with her frustration and feel for her.. yet I am seriously fed up watching Dahlia type of teen girls on tv.. there are so many of them, mostly the same and sadly portrayed in a very stereotypical way.. actually the blond-wannabe twins are even more interesting than Dahlia.. what you guys find in such a two dimentional character is a complete mystery to me..
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Happy Endings for me works because of the casting. The physical humor wouldn't work nearly as well without the natural flow. Just look at Suburgatory, when they go for the physical comedy it may or may not work. There, I think it has to do with the sudden switchover to the physical from cerebral, as much as who's delivering the joke. George and the croquet mallet!!

Modern Family has a lot of elbowing going. a concentration of topic and cast would help IMO.

The Middle, as stated before, a straight forward one camera show with brick in the classroom!!

As to the leader.....photo finish. Suburgatory has my trifecta for cast and subject(prejudiced single Dad).

Modern Family could run away with this race if they were to stay in one house or single out a cast member for a show.
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I completely agreee with everything you said. Happy Endings is just consistantly the best. The writing is obviously spot-on and they really have their own style of humour that really works but the biggest advantage they have is their amazing cast. No other show on television has such a balanced cast. They're all MVPs. If I had to pick one cast member to be voted off the island, I don't think I could.
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I agree to a point. Often I like Suburgatory as much if not more than Happy Endings though. However, those are my favorite two on that night.
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I personally have never once found Modern Family funny, same for The Big Bang Theory but that's another discussion..



it's always been 1. Happy Endings, 2. The Middle/Suburgatory/Cougar Town (when it was on Wednesdays) depending on the episode, and 4. Modern Family. honestly would rather Happy Endings have moved to 9/8c and have Cougar Town back at 9:30/8:30 and have moved Modern Family to Tuesdays with the other ABC shows I don't watch...
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I absolutely agree with the ways you see Suburgatory and Happy Endings, but my main problem with Modern Family (Ever since the second half of the first season) is that it sticks to its formula WAY too much, every family is in every episode, every episode has a semi-overarching theme, and things like that just make me know exactly what's going to happen before it happens, and that just makes me not laugh. I think the last time I actually laughed at an episode was the last time Dylan sang.



Yeah, Happy Endings is above all the other ABC comedies, I'd usually rank it somewhere between the NBC shows Parks & Recreation and Community. I could in theory make a point for Suburgatory being in the same class, but I get way too hung up about the Tessa problem you mentioned.



I think it's too late for Modern Family to improve too much, they have their structure and it'll be the death of the show. Suburgatory needs to make Tessa more enjoyable or focus less on her, as well as become slightly more consistent in its tone.
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I've said this before, but "Happy Endings" just isn't as funny to me as it is to everyone else. I'm not entirely sure why.



-As far as your assessments, I love "Modern Family", but agree, it's been coasting and the wealth factor is obvious, even when they try to take it away. I like Patricia Heaton, so I really love "The Middle", and you're right about why it's funny. It's the most lower middle class family on TV (sharing with "Raising Hope"). "Suburgatory" has been great out of the gate and I love the odd sense of comedy it eschews.

-I think, given what I've already said, the case can be made for the other shows in the block. "Suburgatory" probably couldn't be called number 1 mainly because of its youth, but other than that, it really is a strong block.

-This question is not applicable for me given my opinions already stated.
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Happy Endings is the best comedy show in abc right now. it fills the void that Community has left behind while it's on hiatus
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I agree with your assessment of the shows. As much as I like Suburgatory, I agree Tessa is kind of getting stereotyped. She is best when she is confronting Dahlia or with Dallas. But also when she is out of her element or something is beyond her understanding of the world, or when she is is met with the utter absurdity or Suburgatory, one of my favorites was the Clearsonic to the people of Orlando episode. That was hilarious.



Modern Family is set on coast. It has moments of brilliance but is severely outweighed by the rut they seem to be in. I think they need to emphasize the kids a bit more. The best lines are staring to come from Luke's observations of the family dynamic and just the world itself.



Happy Endings is amazing. Last night's episode was probably one of if not the best yet. It was just funny from start to finish. It had the perfect blend of everyone working their characters to the ultimate funny. Jane was crazy, penny was quicky, max was max, Alex was crazy, Brad and Dave were awesome. ABC has found its Community, but where NBC has utterly failed its best show. ABC has nurtured it and has let it do what it can do and most importantly has given it a prominent time slot and thus Happy Endings has become ABC's preeminent comedy. ABC's comedies have surpassed the majority of NBC to the point where they shouldn't even be compared. Happy Endings and Community are the hopeful future of comedy on network tv.



Very good assessment of the Shows Lily, thanks for keeping it up.



PS I really would like a Community vs Happy Endings article when Community comes back.
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Um, in "The Middle," Frankie's husband is Mike, not Hank!
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I agree about Modern Family and Suburgatory wholeheartedly. I have to disagree with Happy Endings. I love a Wayan's family spawn, Damon Jr. right? But it's not enough to make me enjoy the show on a regular basis. I keep feeling as though their attempting to do a Friends and it falls ridiculously short.
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I don't know what you're talking about lily.."Happy Endings" slid to a season low in the ratings yesterday... !!! It dropped 26 percent in the ratings!



Modern family gets virtually double the viewers than happy endings... consistently. they must be doing something right!!
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General theory:

Modern Family gets higher TV ratings because it's about family... with family problems... and has old people. It's the older people and families that are more likely to not use the internet or DVRs and watch the shows they like on their TV and during the time it first airs.



Happy Endings is about a group of young folks doing silly stuff. Young folks and people who enjoy silly stuff tend to use the internet and DVRs more to watch their shows.



It's the same reason Community gets bad ratings... it has a huge fan base... it's just that most are in that age range that download or DVR it.



Also, if I've learned anything in the past decade, it is that ratings don't equate to quality... at all. It's the same reason why better and smarter shows are more prevalent on cable now... cable allows for worse ratings.
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Sure, because the vast majority of people watch good television...come on...good ratings don't mean always good shows....
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im just saying you gotta measure quality somehow... there's a reason terra nova was just cancelled!
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The fact that Jersey Shore (a reality-show cashing in on idiots being idiots) has more seasons than Arrested Development (smartest comedy I've ever seen, yet canceled) illustrates your point perfectly.
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I call that the Full House theorum. Because that was a terrible show and it was on for YEARS.
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