Fans of the late NBC comedy Undateable have at least one thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: Netflix on Thursday dropped all eight episodes of the new Christmas-themed comedy Merry Happy Whatever, which reunites former castmates Bridgit Mendler and Brent Morin.
Once again, the actors are romantically paired. Mendler plays Emmy Quinn, an L.A.-based financial analyst who brings her boyfriend, struggling musician Matt (Morin), home to meet her tight-knit, Philadelphia-based brood. That includes her hard-to-impress dad, Bucks County sheriff Don (The Parent Trap‘s Dennis Quaid), who takes an immediate disliking to his youngest daughter’s significant other. Almost as soon as they load into his patrol car to drive back from the airport, Don pitches Emmy on a potential work opportunity that would bring her back to Philadelphia and take her away from Matt, but she doesn’t seriously consider it.
When they arrive home, we’re introduced to Emmy’s siblings and their respective families: her sister Patsy (The Bold Type‘s Siobhan Murphy) and husband Todd (Veronica Mars‘ Adam Rose); her brother Sean (Angie Tribeca‘s Hayes MacArthur), his wife Joy (Disjointed‘s Elizabeth Ho) and their three kids, including newly out atheist Sean Jr.; and her other sister Kayla (Carol’s Second Act‘s Ashley Tisdale). The latter arrives, mid-fight, with her husband Alan (Arrow‘s Tyler Ritter), who asks for a divorce in front of the entire family.
As the Quinns huddle around Kayla, Matt heads out to the backyard, where Joy and Todd “pour one out” for fellow in-law Alan. There, they reveal to Matt that they have a support group for the people who marry into the Quinn family. “It’s like a cult,” Joy warns. “A G-rated cult.” She tells Matt that Emmy might seem reformed, but she’ll fall right back into old habits during their 10-day visit. Matt, however, is not deterred. He plans to propose to Emmy on Christmas morning. There’s just one teensy little problem: Don refuses to give Matt his blessing. He explains to Matt that he needs to be more careful who he lets into his family after the Alan debacle. And so, Matt takes it upon himself to prove that he’s a “vessel of dependability.” He starts with an offer to help Don decorate the house, which proves to be a disaster. While up on the roof, Matt places the angel meant to represent Don’s dearly departed wife on the chimney crown and it catches fire. He attempts to stomp out the flame with his foot, then loses his balance and accidentally shoots his could-be father-in-law in the forehead with a staple gun.
The day culminates in a trip to the emergency room. There, Matt notices a spark between Don and his nurse, Nancy (played by The Magicians‘ Garcelle Beauvais), and decides that he might be able to shift the odds in his favor if he plays matchmaker for Emmy’s widowed pa. Don, meanwhile, finally wears Emmy down and gets her to agree to take a meeting with his friend about that job back home. And while Emmy is on one side of the E.R. assuring Matt that she only said yes to get Dad off her back, Don is on the opposite end putting in a call to make sure that the job offer is too good to refuse.
What did you think of Marry Happy Whatever Episode 1? And will you make time for additional episodes over Thanksgiving weekend? Weigh in via the following polls.