Happy! is the show I am most excited I got to screen at New York Comic Con this year. It brings together the brilliant mind of comics legend Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman), the twisted and manic energy of director Brian Taylor (Crank), and the wickedly funny talents of Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer) and Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille).
That sounds like the perfect cocktail, doesn’t it? Well, lemme tell you that it ain’t just perfect. It’s damn magical.
What the Heck Is Happy!?
Happy! tells the story of ex-cop Nick Sax (Meloni). Nick got disgracefully removed from the NYPD and now spends his days as a grubby, grouchy, and grimy hitman for hire. Nick suffers a heart attack during a hit, but not before being told an important password by his dying victim. When Nick is revived in the ambulance, he discovers that he can see and hear a magical little horse/donkey/unicorn named Happy.
Happy is the imaginary friend of Hailey, a sweet little girl who gets kidnapped by a crack-smoking Santa Claus. Happy is trying to get Nick to help rescue Hailey, but Nick is busy fighting off psychotic mobsters who want this mysterious password.
All of this sounds nuts and it is, but it’s nuts in the best possible ways.
Gore, Grime, and Goofiness
Director Brian Taylor brought the feverish filmmaking style he perfected in the Crank films and honed it to a razor’s edge. The opening scene perfectly sets the mood with Nick gazing into a mirror and then blowing his brains out. What? Oh, is Nick now dancing around to Christmas music with a waterfall of blood spewing from his head and ’70s roller girls spinning around him? YUP.
That’s how this show starts! The transgressive and ugly elements are all painted with such silly brushstrokes that it never comes off as offensive. It shares a few bones with something like Preacher in its approach to over-the-top violence. It’s this kind of absurdity that makes such dark subject matter palatable and fun.
The Perfect Cast
Yes, Happy! is a ton of fun. And that has a lot to do with the delightful lead performance from Christopher Meloni as Nick Sax. Nick is basically if Elliot Stabler and Gene fused together. It’s a hoot. Meloni completely throws himself into the role and sells us on this sad sack of a man.
He’s backed up by a smile-inducing turn by Patton Oswalt as the cartoonishly jubilant Happy. Along with the animators that put Happy on the screen, Oswalt has created a lovable, funny, and purposefully annoying sidekick for Nick. These two are perfect for each other and I cannot wait to see them getting into all sorts of inappropriate hijinks.
I refer to my friend and colleague Danielle Ryan who perfectly summed up the response to Happy!.
I kept swinging between cringing and laughing, but in the best possible way.
— Danielle Ryan (@danirat) October 7, 2017
Happy! is definitely not a show for everyone. It’s got a raunchy, violent, in-your-face attitude that only us freaks know how to jive with. But man, if you’re on the same wavelength as this show, you are going to have a hell of a good time with it. I am itching to see the next episode.
Happy! premieres on SYFY on December 6. Do not miss this one. It’s gonzo gold.