Exclusive: Happy Endings EPs Reveal What Would've Happened in Season 4 — Plus: Scoop on the Cast's Recent Off-Screen Reunion

happy endings endingSad Happy Endings fans hoping for closure in the wake of the ABC comedy’s untimely (and no-longer-unofficial) cancellation are in luck.

No, sorry — not luck as in the beloved sitcom which boasted the rapidest-fire repartee this side of Gilmore Girls is Kickstarting its way to the big screen a la Veronica Mars. Just luck as in series creator David Caspe and executive producer Jonathan Groff are breaking their silence about the show’s fight for survival (and how close they were to sealing a deal with USA), the amahzing legacy the series leaves behind and what they had in mind for season 4 (Penny and Dave?).

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TVLINE | The talks with USA Network — how close were you to a deal?
It was as close as it could come without happening.
GROFF | I think USA, to their credit, really wants to be in the business of making original programming. It sounded like it would have been hard for them to do everything they wanted to do in terms of development [had they picked up the show].

TVLINE | Were there any other serious suitors in the mix?
CASPE | I think there were. We don’t know the specifics; that’s all sort of above our pay grade. But there were ongoing talks with a lot of places. It just didn’t work out. The truth is, how many shows have moved networks ever? It’s very difficult to do, and there’s probably some financial algorithmic reason for that that I don’t even understand.
GROFF | Sony took the lead on this and was really great about pounding the pavement. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re like, “Is there one more last call we can make to pull this off?”

TVLINE | As far as crushing disappointments go, where does this one rank?
| For me, the show’s a gigantic success. The people that I want to love the show love the show in a way that I could never have necessarily imagined when I went out to pitch it. It was the first television show I ever pitched. I came from writing movies. For it to go to pilot, much less series, much less 57 episodes, is pretty incredible. It’s hard for me to really complain. That said, I am super bummed. Devastated [is HEa word] I would like to reserve for non-career disappointments. [Laughs] But I’m super bummed in that it was very fun. Everyone, all down the line from the crew to the cast to the writers, loved making the show and was proud of the show. And I think it’s very rare that you get to work on something that you actually think is good and you would watch on your own. So I’m very bummed that I don’t get to continue to work with all those people and make this show that was very fun to make.
GROFF | I agree with David. My goal in my career always is to work on stuff I like with people that I like. That’s always the definition of success. I really liked the show and I really liked the people I was working with, from top to bottom. I also liked these characters. I really would like to have seen where Penny ends up and what happens with Dave and Alex. Do they ever get back together? They seem like they’re right for each other. And to see Elisha Cuthbert, who is so funny and was sort of undiscovered to us before as a really talented comedienne, to get to see [Alex] out dating really for the first time with someone other than Dave would have been a lot of fun. Brad and Jane talking about starting a family or new jobs, things like that. I’m bummed about not getting to tell those stories more.
CASPE | If there’s one thing that we are a little pissed about — and I’m not laying the blame anywhere because I don’t know where it lays — but the show felt like it was built to be a better performer than it was in the end. It maybe wasn’t gonna be a Modern Family-sized [hit], but it shouldn’t have died the way it died, in our opinion… It didn’t deserve 14 million views, possibly, but it also didn’t deserve 1 million. It should have performed more in the middle and should have been able to hang out for a few more seasons, in our humble opinion.

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TVLINE | Jonathan, you threw out some possible Season 4 storylines. How much thought did you guys really give to Season 4 and beyond? For example, were you planning to ever go there with Dave and Penny?
Caspe | Maybe. We knew we couldn’t do Dave and Penny until we got Dave and Alex sorted out. At the end of Season 3, they got the break-up that they really needed to have, which is one with an even playing field and nobody having left anyone at the altar. We wanted to have them break up in an amicable way so we could go back to telling Dave’s dating stories in a way that was more serious, or Alex dating and what that would mean for the group in a way that was more even-handed. Would Penny have been part of that? Maybe. I think we would have needed to regroup because Penny and Alex are so close and that relationship is so important and they’ve known each other their whole lives. [It’s similar to] the way it was tricky for Barney and Robin to hook up on How I Met Your Mother. It didn’t come without some degree of difficulty for Ted and Barney’s relationship. We would have had to handle that. And maybe we would have, I’m not sure.

maxTVLINE | What do you think the show’s legacy will be?
GROFF | One legacy is gonna be the careers of these six [actors]. I think they’re all going to go on to such great things. The best part of Arrested Development‘s legacy is it gave us Will Arnett and Tony Hale and David Cross.
CASPE | For me, legacy is hard to see from the inside. We’re so on the inside that I don’t really know what the show is like to other people. I read the articles and talk to fans, but I have no real conception of what the show is. Honestly, when we finish each episode, I’m not even seeing the jokes anymore. I’m just trying to get out the 16 frames of time that we need to air it. Then maybe a year later, I’ll remember. I was on an airplane and they had one of the episodes from the previous season that I actually thought was one of our worst episodes. I watched it on the plane and I’m like, “Oh, yeah, that’s actually pretty good. I like that one.” So I think I’m just way too close to sort of know what it is.
GROFF | I really liked the comfort and matter-of-factness with which Max’s sexual orientation was [handled]. I thought he was an interesting character that I hadn’t seen before. I loved the ease with which his sexuality was just part of the basic facts of the group. I also really liked the way that race was handled easily in the group. I’m proud of that. I lot of that was, honestly, in David’s original pilot script. I’m proud of having been a part of that and to help keep that going, not to sound lofty or grand about it. But I like the fact that people noticed that and responded to that.

TVLINE | You mentioned Arrested Development. Do either of you think that someday the show will continue in some form? Or is this really the end in your eyes?
I would never say never to anything. We would always be open to talking about it. But the only way to move on is to move on. We have other stuff that we’ve gotta do. Who knows? I’m sure when they moved on from Arrested Development they never imagined that seven years later they would do it again. If you’re thinking that it’s gonna happen as a writer, you’re not focusing on the new stuff you have to work on. None of us would ever close the door, but I can’t really spend too much time hoping for that.

happy endingsTVLINE | Will there be some kind of off screen reunion with the cast and crew so you guys can all get some closure?
CASPE | We just had it, actually. Elisha got married last weekend [to hockey player Dion Phaneuf] and most of the cast [flew to Canada] for it. We had an awesome time, and her wedding was great. I was actually thinking about it today that it was probably the last time we’d all be together as a group. Hopefully, we will all still see each other one way or another, but it’s probably the last time that we’ll all be together, and that’s kind of sad. Luckily, I didn’t realize it until afterwards. [Laughs]
GROFF | There was cool closure about the fact that the pilot started with Elisha’s character at a wedding. And, in a way, our time together ended with a wedding, only obviously in a happier way; Elisha was marrying the real-life love of her life. We joked, “Is [ABC president] Paul Lee gonna roll in on rollerblades in the middle of the ceremony saying he changed his mind?” Dion would probably have just body-checked him, and it would have been very strange. [Laughs] I remember talking to Elisha when we were shooting the pilot and saying, “Have you ever been in a wedding dress for a part before?” And she hadn’t. And here she was in her real wedding dress. It was a nice way to round it out.

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  1. Bmo says:

    Great Wrap Up of the show. Thanks Mike. 3 seasons is a success. You never know, some TV channel may pick it up in syndication.

    • Megan says:

      TV showing normally only get syndication after 100 episodes.

      • Megan says:

        Ugh. Typo. TV shows. Agree though, very sad ending.

      • Abby says:

        I don’t think there are any exceptions, actually. Syndication is reserved for network TV shows at 100 episodes and/or four seasons on TV, I believe.

        • Evan Waters says:

          Short run shows occasionally pop up for brief runs to fill holes on cable programming- it’s just not as profitable as going 4-5 years and so they won’t show up as often.

          Hoping for a DVD of the final year at least.

          • Steven says:

            USA used to ar repeats from some short lived NBC comedies like Veronica’s Closet and Jesse. it happens. Veronica mars is enjoying moderate success on Soapnet now.

        • dude says:

          The number has actually decreased. It’s now 88 episodes.

          • Sam says:

            You are totally right, Dude. It is only 88 episodes now. It is why Chuck got that last season to get over 88 episodes (its ratings were low, but NBC wanted rerun money to get back more on its investment – so ergo, it green lit another 13 episode season to get to 91 episodes).

    • Eddie says:

      The CW maybe. Their ratings suck already. HE would do much better than VD maybe.

    • Dane says:

      I really liked this show.. but knowing they were headed to a Dave and Penny sl makes it easier for me to swallow that it’s gone.

  2. Still sad about the news that Happy Endings isn’t moving forward now that the hit sitcom is over after three seasons. Talk about a “sad ending” isn’t it? :-(

  3. A.D. says:

    Sad that this amazing show and Apt. 23 was cancelled and there are sooooooo many crappy “comedies” and reality left on tv.

  4. jesse says:

    SEE PEOPLE!!! We can never say never. The door is open and I think we can make it happen. We can Kickstarter a season 4 of Happy Endings. Screw the networks. Us fans can make this happen. We deserve to have more and David Caspe & Jonathan Geoff realize this. We need to spread the word so we can get it going. LET’S DO IT!!! #KickstarterHappyEndings

    • dude says:

      Kickstartering a TV series is very different from a movie. A movie can be made for two million dollars, a TV series can’t (even one with less episodes). Also, Veronica Mars had six years for fans to build up anticipation hoping for a movie so that when it actually happened, they really rallied behind it. A Happy Endings Kickstarter would not be successful.

  5. rebecca says:

    I still cannot believe Happy Endings is over. How about Netflix comes along in a few years just like Arrested Development.. that works for me!

  6. Darth Pablo says:

    This and Apt 23 were ahead of their time. There will be shows like these in the future. ABC just flat out dropped the ball on it.

    • Patrick says:

      The writers for both shows are each a little responsible for the failures. A23 had a great pilot that set up a very interesting premise, which was promptly abandoned. The B was supposed to be a B. Instead, she secretly had a heart of gold. That wasn’t as funny in season 2, when they tried to soften the B. As for HE, it acted like it was the funniest show ever. It wasn’t. The cast acted like they were ground breaking and the bestest, funniest, etc. They weren’t. As the show progressed, it got sillier, and sillier. None of the characters were very likeable. They were all so immature and selfish. I liked the original premise of HE. A nice guy got left at the alter by a woman who realized that she had made a mistake. But she is an integral part of a group of friends so they deal with it.

      But that was abandoned. Both shows were bait and switch, so both shows failed.

      • Evan Waters says:

        Eh, softening Chloe a bit opened up the show’s examination of female friendships more, which was neat. It was also an organic progression- you saw the two characters start to have an effect on each other, with June getting some of Chloe’s less admirable traits. “I’m money, bitch!”

        That show getting cancelled didn’t surprise me too much (though it was saddening) since it was clearly too weird for the networks (or ABC at least)- on FX or something it would have been right at home. Happy Endings is more distressing since it seems the sheer joke density put people off.

      • Nat says:

        I respect your opinion, but I 100% disagree. What turned me off about both shows at first was that A23 was too one-note when Chloe was psychopathic with no other layers, and the ‘being left at the altar’ thing in HE was a huge cliche. Both shows for me got into their elements in season 2 and I enjoyed them more.
        I think the real problem is that people are more impatient with TV now and after a couple of episodes give up if they’re not hooked right away. Comedies like BBT/HIMYM/2 Broke Girls have much more instant gratification in their jokes, but they’re the TV equivalent of junk food. Comedies like HE or even Parks and Rec had a slower burn, but they grew and the greater overall comic payoff came later on.

    • Amelia says:

      I 100 percent agree with you. There will be a low number of shows I will watch come fall.

  7. David Nicol says:

    One of the shows that I actually looked forward to watching. Always made me laugh out loud. Really upset it was cancelled. Anything we can do to bring it back or get it on a different network. I AM IN!!!

  8. James says:

    Maybe some should start a online campaign for ABC to bring it back fall 2014. Just get a bunch of signatures and deliver it the exects of the network and maybe hopefully they’re bring it back.

  9. Hugh says:

    It sucks that this smart, consistently hilarious comedy got canned while the unfunnny, obvious and hammy Chuck Lorre comedies get huge ratings. Get it together America.

  10. Dex P says:

    Great Show. Gonna be missed

  11. Andrew says:

    From across the pond in the UK it does seem like the US network execs make some crazy decisions. Shows like Happy Endings and Arrested Development get cancelled, while more established shows seem to outstay their welcome and become stale. I guess it’s a ratings business, it’s just a shame that so many great shows fall by the wayside due to the lack of mainstream success. Hopefully we get a fourth series, Happy Endings is a genuinely intelligent and funny show that has quite a decent following over here in the UK I believe.

  12. Eddie says:

    One of the best comedies out there, but have to agree that HE went downhill somewhere in between. The third season was mostly silly, but there were amazing episodes too. Bummed, but oh well… it survived when nobody gave a crap back in year 1.

    • ER says:

      Yeah, I agree. And, I hated that it wasn’t really the most consistent show – they brought up the idea of Dave and Penny, and then pretty much abandoned it immediately. They had Penny get engaged to a guy we knew for two episodes. But, it was very funny and I’ll miss it :(

    • dribfunk says:

      I know US networks don’t listen to the little guys, but us (over the pond) absolutely loved this show. The majority are only now getting the third series but I kinda gotta hold of them all in one hit.

      Ranking alongside New Girl, this show rocks. It really was/is the New Friends for our times. Clever scripting, engaging characters and great way to escape into other people’s lives.

      Please, if there’s a way of getting it back, do it. DO IT NOW!!

  13. Sheila says:

    Why did anyone think USA would pick up the show? They don’t do sitcoms. I’d say they should’ve tried harder with TBS, but don’t know if TBS is any better to their programs. Heavy sigh…

    • e says:

      USA’s trying to break into the comedy game. And TBS has seemed to treat Cougar Town pretty well since picking it up from ABC. I would have loved to have seen them swoop in grab HE.

  14. Juan says:

    Very sad about this the cancellation. One of my favorite comedies ever. It was really amazing and will miss it, I really hope I see the cast in many projects and good pick in the future to everyone involved.

  15. i already miss my fluffy penny and adorable max… sorry gay here!! as for the cancelation the season finale was a GREAT way of ending some stories and giving u the power to imagine what the hell is going on from here! this is a great series finale …in my list is damn high like angel and twin peaks.. on the other hand…. i was a huge fan of firefly… this is a painfull cancelation!! so if ever is going to be a movie? a 3 episode extravaganza? please throw the book and give the best shot!

  16. Zach says:

    I think Jonathan Groff is a brilliant writer. Every show he has worked on could be brilliant at times. That said, I hated season 3 of Happy Endings. I’m kind of glad USA is going with original comedies.

  17. Joey says:

    Great wrap up and info what would have happen in season 4. the cast will do great stuff in their careers. I can’t wait to see each of them will do next.

  18. Eric says:

    Still not happy about this one. At least we got three great seasons, some don’t even get that much. I have the DVD’s of 1, 2, and hopefully 3, and they will be watched.

  19. Ben says:

    Great show. I’m happy it lasted as long as it did. I’ll miss it!

  20. schu says:

    This was just wonderful to read, I appreciate you guys promoting this show as much as you did. Best of luck to Caspe and Groff and of course to the whole cast and crew. I’ll miss having new laughs from new episodes, but thank god we live in the age of TV on DVD, because I’ll enjoy all 57 episodes over and over again…and still laugh every time.

  21. Matt says:

    TVLINE, very misleading headline for this article. I saw you had a different one yesterday, so let me see how this works…change the headline, make it look a new article and even have it misleading making it seem like there are “lost episodes” of Happy Endings? Having the creator/producer talk about what would have happened if the show was renewed is not a “lost” episode. C’mon TVLINE, I expect better from you…especially about such a great comedy.

  22. Michelle says:

    I loved this show, I’m so bummed it’s cancelled. This show was so much better than the majority of comedy crap that’s on tv right now.

  23. aquarius1271 says:

    seasons 1 and 2 were among the best seasons of any sitcom I have evet watched. Laugh out loud funny most of the time. The clever one-liners were a hoot. I am in the middle of watching season 3 now and ıt is sad to admit that the series really is not that funny anymore during this final season. that said, e11 with the pranks still counts as the funniest episode for me so far. It was brillaint from the first minute right until the last minute revelation of Kayser Soze. Alex blown off the couch by the blast was screamingly funny in particular, a scene to treasure.

  24. Mikael says:

    I’m going to miss Happy Endings so much!! At least I still have Cougar Town (for 1 more season at least, hopefully more) I liked The B in Apt 23, but I think ABC was the wrong network for that show. They obviously stepped in and made them tone Chloe down. The show was much funnier when she was an actual B. It should’ve been making June more like Chloe. That would’ve been funnier. Anyway, HE will be sorely missed. I’ll miss their invention of words and Penny’s abbrevs.

  25. TrashBash says:

    I have to admit – I was a late bloomer on this show. I wasn’t convinced, I was blighted by HIMYM and Big Bang Theory, and biased because I was all about New Girl (which has had a questionable season of late) – but a few repeat eps and the odd channel flick, I have to say this show is genuinely funny, the characters are endearing, they actually feel like a group of mates and for once the women parts are slightly more funnier than the men.

  26. Ella says:

    I can’t believe Cougar Town got another network and this didn’t. Such a shame, this show is a gem and certainly better than CT by leaps and bounds.

  27. viry says:

    Bring the show back..you had some loyal fans out there

  28. Edwardine says:

    Its so sad that theres nothing you can do to save this show!! It was really one of the best!!
    Will no network take it on? I mean Cougar town?! Really??

  29. Dan says:

    This show should of never been taken off the air. This is one of the few sitcoms that I actually loved and was original and people could relate too. Dumb decision by ABC to take this off the air. People never give anything a chance and this show was a hit from the 1st Episode. Great job cast and crew, very disappointed that it’s over.

  30. Jimmy says:

    ABC?! you are a HUUUUUGE dissapointment on letting go such an AWESOME cast/series. As a guy in his mid 20s, I watch a lot of television and I could say that HAPPY ENDINGS hits the target on how friends really are towards each other. I got so bummed reading this article. Not only was I in LOVE with Penny’s character…but Max, Alex, Dave, Jane and Brads’s as well! Even the recurring character’s were hilarious. Ugh…too sad. Too sad indeed.

  31. Benji Pea says:

    Draaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaa Christmas Special. Please.

  32. Joni says:

    I just still can’t believe it. It was such a great show. So funny! The writing was great, the jokes were great, the cast was great. Everything else that’s on tv right now doesn’t catch up to how funny this show was. If the show was picked up by CBS it would have never been cancelled but nobody watches ABC.