Showtime’s upcoming comedic drama Happyish has had its share of problems on its way to getting a pilot made. It first lost lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman when he passed away earlier this year, and Rhys Ifans also dropped out of the project at some point. Luckily, the show brought the excellent Steve Coogan in and has also added two more fabulous cast members in Kathryn Hahn and Bradley Whitford. I think it’s safe for someone to sand down an “Emmy shelf” for this series’ future.
Happyish stars Coogan as Thom Payne, a guy whose midlife crisis is spurred on by having a person half his age come in as his new boss. Thom is searching for happiness, but may soon figure out that the search itself is what’s causing his problems. Kathryn Hahn will star as Lee, his loving wife and mother of their six-year-old son. She and Thom love each other despite not quite loving themselves, and she’s optimistic that the world can be better than what it shows, though that doesn’t stop her from getting peeved when things don’t go her way.
According to THR, Whitford will play Jonathan, who is Thom’s mentor as well as another one of his bosses. Jonathan is a genius in the advertising game, based in equal parts on his creativity and his ability to get anything done no matter what the moral cost. The thought of Whitford and Coogan sharing a bunch of screentime together feels like a Christmas gift that I never considered asking for.
Happyish is created and written by Shalom Auslander, a contributor for This American Life, so you just know the storytelling is going to be top notch. The pilot will be directed by Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You), who will executive produce with Auslander and Alexandra Beattie.
Hahn was part of the original pilot’s cast, and is returning to the same role she played. She, just like Whitford, recently starred in Amazon’s stellar comedy series Transparent and also had a guest role in Parks and Recreation. (Are they the same person?) She also starred in the recent big screen family drama This is Where I Leave You and will soon be seen in both Matt Ross’ drama Captain Fantastic and Brad Bird’s fantasy adventure Tomorrowland.
Whitford, meanwhile, was recently seen on the small screen in the cancelled Trophy Wife, as well as an episode of Amazon’s Alpha House and Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit. As far as features go, he co-starred in the biopic Saving Mr. Banks and is currently filming the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light.
Happyish is set to begin its pilot production next month in New York. Here’s hoping they create something good enough for Showtime to jump on.