March 17, 2015

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “One Big Happy”


ONE BIG HAPPY:  Tuesday 9:30PM on NBC – Change the Channel

Have you heard the one about the guy who makes a pact with his lesbian best friend that if they’re not with anyone else when they turn 30, they’ll have a baby together?  Have you heard the one about the guy who meets a hot Brit and impetuously marries her almost at once?  OK, well, then have you heard the one where both of them are the same guy, and the lesbian pal discovers she’s pregnant with his child at exactly the same time he’s getting wed, and all three of them live together?  Or the one about the broadcast network that’s completely lost its way when it comes to TV comedy?

Aside from the last one, that’s pretty much the way the pitch meeting must have gone at NBC for Liz Feldman’s ONE BIG HAPPY, the latest sitcom miss from the network that was once the monarch of TV comedy.  Although it’s less snarky and mean-spirited than the somewhat similar flop The New Normal (that one hailed from Ryan Murphy, while the non-writing Executive Producer standing behind this one is Ellen DeGeneres, our standard of TV niceness), it’s a lazy, blobby piece of work.  Feldman has been a writer/producer on 2 Broke Girls and Hot In Cleveland, and One Big Happy has the same broad old-time multi-camera feel (the pilot, written by Feldman, is directed by Katy Garretson), but without any chemistry or zing.

Elisha Cuthbert, who was a delightful airhead on Happy Endings, plays the pregnant best friend, Lizzy, and here she just flings herself at her nonstop lesbian jokes in the forlorn hope that they’ll support her.  She’s by far the class of the group–Kelly Brook as Prudence, the newlywed wife, seems to have been cast for being a sufficiently walking, talking pin-up that an instant marriage would make some kind of visceral sense, and Nick Zano, as best friend and husband Luke, isn’t convincing as either.  No one speaks or acts like a believable human being, pitching punch lines at each other instead, and while that may be par for a certain kind of TV sitcom, this group isn’t funny while doing it.

It’s hard to imagine who will be made happy by One Big Happy.  Not the audience, certainly, and ultimately not the network either.  Wait:  perhaps FOX and fans of The Mindy Project, the much better comedy, its fate firmly on the bubble, that airs directly against it?  Maybe so.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."