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?