Happy Day: Elisha Cuthbert Reveals Why ABC's Edgy Rom-Com Stands Out From the Pack

If you have yet to fall in mad love with any of those perfect TV couples stopped at romantic traffic lights, ABC’s Happy Endings just may be the midseason comedy to catch your eye.

Premiering this Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c with back-to-back episodes (before settling into its 10 pm slot next week), the series kicks off with a wedding gone wrong, when Elisha Cuthbert‘s Alex jilts husband-to-be Dave (FlashForward‘s Zachary Knighton) at the altar. When Alex comes slinking back, it creates an amusingly awkward dynamic amongst their bunch of buds, which is populated by ScrubsEliza Coupe and multi-hyphenate funnyman Damon Wayans Jr. (playing marrieds), Saturday Night Live alum Casey Wilson, and Upright Citizens Brigade grad Adam Pally.

Cuthbert spoke with TVLine about embracing the transition from 24 drama queen to aspiring comedy princess – plus, of course, the possibility that Jack Bauer’s little girl might have yet one more perilous day ahead of her.

TVLINE | You were one of my first primetime TV interviews, nine years ago. We talked about this “experimental new show,” 24, and how grungy Kim Bauer’s clothes would get over the course of a season.
That’s crazy! Yeah, that was one of the big questions back then – what I was wearing and how I had to wear it 10 months at a time.

TVLINE | And now here you are with Happy Endings — finally. Are you excited for people to finally see it?
I am so excited. It’s such a new experience for me, so I feel this newfound energy for acting. After spending so much time with the one-hour dramas, to finally do something different has been exhilarating, to say the least. A reporter said to me, “Did you even get to smile on 24?” and I was like, I don’t think so! [Laughs]

TVLINE | But not even with just 24. House of Wax, Captivity, that twisted little indie you did, The Quiet….
Yes — all really dark stuff. I spent many years honing my dramatic side, which I was very passionate about it. But now, even a while before I got Happy Endings, I’ve been wanting to change it up.

TVLINE | Was comedy something you got taste for with your roles in Old School and The Girl Next Door?
I obviously dabbled with it in those movies, but I didn’t really get to the meat-and-potatoes. I was never quite the funny one. Even when we started the pilot for this show, I thought that I would be the more grounded out of the group, but I  at least I’d get a funny storyline now and then. But out of the 12 episodes we’ve done so far, I find myself just as funny as the rest! Aside from the pilot, where you have to see where Alex is at, leaving Dave at the altar and what not, I get to contribute just as much as anyone else. And I’m finding I’m more drawn to the physical comedy than the sarcastic one-liners.

TVLINE | What sort of physical comedy?
I’m sort of in your face with the comedy, doing outlandish and outrageous things. The writers picked up on that, so you’ll see me eating a huge plate of ribs with sauce all over me, you’ll see me dancing in ridiculous outfits…. There’s a part where we go to this ’90s-themed dance, and I said to the wardrobe people, “I’m not here to be the typical pretty one. Give me whatever you got, let’s do it.” So my ’90s look is really, really scary. My hair is crimped, I look like I’m from an Amish family… We captured something absurd.

Watch this Happy Endings teaser, then read on for more:

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TVLINE | Alas, Happy Endings is but the latest in a long string of midseason premieres about couples at different stages. How would you say this one is different? My personal take: The interactions tend to be more genuine, warmer.
That’s very nice of you to say. I know that we have some serious and solid chemistry. Also, our creator (David Caspe) found a way to hang onto the line of edginess that people in their late 20s/early 30s have, one that is true to how I am with my friends. These characters are not a fluffy group. Our writers, I don’t think anyone is over 35 years old. It’s the youngest staff I’ve ever met. I mean, look at our title, Happy Endings – how cheeky can you get?

TVLINE | Who from the cast is most likely to get every busted up between takes?
Damon cracks us all up, collectively, the most; he combines physical comedy and the great one-liners. Adam is hysterical as well. In fact, here’s a story: I was giving Casey some advice about guys, so after she was on a date with someone, I said, “You have to wait for him to call you, so I’m taking his number from you, erasing it from your phone, and I’m going to hide it in my trailer.” Next thing you know she’s banging on my door: “I need that number!” – and we couldn’t get it out from where I hid it, under the microwave. Adam came in, “What’s going on?” After we told him, he says to Casey, “Do you mind if I take a picture of your lowest moment?” We have a good group.

TVLINE | But as much fun as doing comedy is, if the 24 feature film came calling for you…
I would do it, for sure. It’s such a part of my career — and I would only hope that they would want Kim Bauer to be a part of it.

TVLINE | I guess they’d have to grab Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries), too, since he played Kim’s husband.
Yeah, it obviously all depends on if we fit into the plan. I’d be thrilled to go back to Kim anytime, but as of now I haven’t heard anything. So I don’t know!

Will you give ABC’s Happy Endings a try?

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  1. Jason says:

    Tuning in for Eliza Coupe.

  2. AJ says:

    I like Cuthbert and Knighton, so I want to like it. I’ll give it a chance, but I’ve seen 3 different promos so far and none have been funny. That’s a tough hurdle.

    • Jeannie says:

      The promos have been ‘eh’ to me too. I DO like Cuthbert.. but her remarks above seem a little age-ist to me. I’m over 35.. does that mean I don’t get the edginess of the late 20’s crowd? Maybe that also means my old backside can’t appreciate that writing either and I should skip this series?

      • Dirk says:

        You need to relax. She wasn’t trying to discriminate against older people. Besides, are you trying to say that older people are going to understand and write about younger people better than people who actually are younger? Because that’s ridiculous. If this were a show about 60-year-olds, it would definitely be preferable to have people around that age writing the show rather than a bunch of 30-somethings.

  3. Mia says:

    Damon Wayans is old enough to have a son whose 28 wow and he looks like all the Wayans too. Good luck to the show.

  4. Craig says:

    Same here Jason. Eliza Coupe was the best part of the last couple seasons of Scrubs.

  5. Midori says:

    It’s going to be on at 10pm?


  6. jrs says:

    Looks like a disaster to me. I won’t be watching!

  7. simplyfla says:

    this has “trying so hard to be the next friends” written all over it. It even starts with a wedding cancelation. I dont think it’ll pull it off. But i will be watching tonight to see what else they got.

  8. Dirk says:

    I’ve been looking forward to it since I saw the first promo. I haven’t been this excited about a new network show all season. The fact that it’s airing at 10 pm doesn’t look good for its prospects, but here’s hoping it’s successful anyway!

  9. Lisa London says:

    I saw the fist couple of episodes and really liked it. It has potential and the cast has great chemistry. I’m no Cuthbert fan (God, I still cringe thinking of Kim in 24 season one) but she was decent in Happy Endings.