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Happy!'s season 1 finale is definitely 'my kind of dirty'

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It was going to be hard to top last week’s episode of Happy!, so I went into the season one finale with fairly low expectations. Not that I thought it would be bad at all—quite the contrary—but because I didn’t figure it could possibly live up to the penultimate episode’s roller-coaster ride of weird. And I was right. The finale wrapped up a lot of threads while still leaving a few dangling for the second season we now know is coming, but it just wasn’t a slam-bang episode like the show has pulled off a few times this season.

Case in point: After wrapping things up at the Sonny Shine studio, with Merry tasering Blue silly (yeah!), they have to track down Very Bad Santa. So the show puts in a segment of Happy and the rest of the imaginary friend support group questioning VBS’s former imaginary friend, a green sock puppet (which Happy recognized after VBS dropped his replacement green sock at the studio). That was a great scene—excellent little Reservoir Dogs homage—but then the only purpose it served was to take Nick and Happy back to Gimbel’s department store. Except they already knew that’s where VBS’s lair is; Nick was there just a few episodes ago. But they unlock the vault acting like it’s the first time they’ve been there.


It’s fine to take the big showdown back to Gimbel’s. In fact, that’s the most appropriate place for the show’s climax given the identity of the villain at this point. But then imaginary friend thing wasn’t really necessary. Why wouldn’t Nick just check back at Gimbel’s on his own? Or, if they really wanted to include the imaginary friend stuff, it should have led them somewhere new first.

Anyway, that’s a fairly minor quibble, because meeting VBS’s imaginary friend was a strong choice by the writers. When he snuggled up to VBS as VBS died swinging from a cord in Gimbel’s main room, I actually teared up a little. VBS is definitely a villain, but he’s a product of a horrific situation and it’s hard not to feel sad for him.

Speaking of VBS’s situation, what the eff was up with the creepy meth-head army in the lair? I have so many questions and I was hoping there would be a smidge of exposition at the end when Meredith and Nick were wrapping things up that would explain exactly what those people were. First off, did VBS drill into everyone’s head and essentially lobotomized them? How did that not kill them?


Or maybe it did kill many of them and these are the only ones who survived? And are we to think these are the grown-up versions of kids VBS kidnapped? He lobotomized them so they would never grow up, but their bodies obviously kept right on growing, so they’ve grown into adults in his Gimbelair? That seems like the solution, but I would have liked a sentence or two about who they were and what happened after the police found them.


I also have many questions about Sonny Shine and the possible alien hamburger bags and leather bug orgy, but I’m assuming that’s a thread the writers left dangling on purpose so as to revisit that in season two. Also, Zombie Mikey, since he’s presumably still out wandering around, trying to find Blue, and Smoothie, who is probably not dead since we did not see a body or hear anything about him in the season finale.

Edited to add: Apparently the Blue-Mikey thing was wrapped up in a credits sequence that was not on my screener. Thank you to everyone who cleared that up. What happened is that the thing possessing Mikey passes on to Blue and says that it’s “hungry.” That seems like a good jumping-off point for season two, I wish that had been included in the regular show and not the credits.


And while Meredith told Nick that the criminal underworld thinks he’s dead and that the password died with him, we know that’s not true. It seems highly likely that Sonny, Zombie Mikey and the password are connected, based on what Assunta told Isabella, so hopefully, that’s at least part of the season two storyline.


One thing I am glad they cleared up is how Happy would stay with Nick for a second season. As soon as the renewal news broke, I was wondering about that. It makes sense to have Hailey now be so grown up that she doesn’t need Happy anymore. The girl has seen a lot of crap these past few days and she more than stepped up in the face of danger, as much as a little girl can help herself in a situation like that. So Hailey has outgrown her imaginary friend—another tearjerking moment that reminded me a bit of the end of Toy Story 3—and he’s off to help the person who needs him the most, which is obviously Nick.

Nick is only starting to grow up and he definitely needs Happy as his little blue conscience and partner. I’m definitely excited to see what shenanigans and adventures those get up to next season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that because season two isn’t contingent upon a Christmas setting that perhaps it will debut sooner than December 2018—unless they’re going to set the show at Christmastime every season, which is entirely possible.


Stray Observations

Sonny Shine’s “Monkeypants” audition tape was like if Dr. Frank-n-furter and Mick Jagger had a kid and that kid grew up to be a children’s entertainer. Amazing.


Very Bad Santa: “They want you to look all grown up, but you’re not grown up. You’re little like you should be. Grown-ups, they try to steal everything that makes you special. Makes me so mad.” Oof, unpack that for a moment keeping in mind what happened to VBS as a child. That is really heartbreaking.

Nick: “Oh, I just keep discovering bold new frontiers of suck.”

Nick: “I don’t wanna ruin Christmas for you.” Um, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Christmas was already so ruined for Hailey.


Nick: “California? That’s not my kind of dirty. Besides, I hate avocados.” First off, that is a great way to contrast New York and California (and I’m more specifically thinking of NYC vs. Los Angeles). Secondly, “my kind of dirty” is the perfect way to describe Nick (and Happy! in general, for that matter). I’m really glad we’re getting another season.

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About the author

Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher's television heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."