In the end, despite all the streaming and all the passionate pleas of a small but fiercely loyal fanbase (as it often goes with these kinds of things), ABC went ahead with what was probably their plan all along and announced the cancellation of ensemble comedy Happy Endings. This whole thing is dumb and a little infuriating for a lot of reasons. For one, it was easily the best traditional sitcom on TV right now (come on now, How I Met Your Mother hasn’t been good in years and you know it, you sad, sad person). Two, the poorly-publicized switching of timeslots certainly didn’t help and suggested this was a long time coming, which is a total bummer, and the ominous, hostage-y “Save Happy Endings” campaign from ABC was weird and kind of insulting to fans.
Also, Happy Endings got canceled and the gag-inducing Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing and the what-is-this-I-don’t-even-know The Neighbors survived to live another day, which is evidence that, as a TV-watching public, we can’t have nice things. At least ABC still has Scandal? And Nashville is coming back. It’s not all bad news?
On the bright side, the show may get picked up by USA and be reborn as a cable comedy, similar to what happened to the similarly beloved but poor-ratings-generating Courteney Cox vehicle Cougar Town, which found its way to TBS after getting the network axe. And although that might be a bummer for many Americans who don’t have cable, it does offer a glimmer of hope for a show that met its end too soon. Ideally, Happy Endings would run a couple more seasons, long enough for syndication, so that years from now, when we’ve watched the entire series of Friends in reruns for the 38th time in a row, we can settle in at night and be lulled to sleep by an old adventure of Penny, Max and the gang. Wouldn’t that be nice? If not, someone please start a Kickstarter for a Happy Endings movie or something. That’s one I’d actually back.
I don’t know who anointed American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis the cultural arbiter of all things gay (that would be John Waters, duh), but Ellis had a huffy week on Twitter getting upset by the perceived gayness of CBS sitcoms.
Ellis’ strong opinions zeroed in on gay actors who play straight roles, tweeting:
"Feel complicated about Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother — central joke being that he’s a gay actor playing a het[erosexual] womanizer. Why not cast Jason Segel in the Neil Patrick Harris role in How I Met Your Mother? [Because] the meta-joke is that Harris is openly gay. Lame. You don’t think the makers of How I Met Your Mother didn’t KNOW that Neil Patrick Harris and that would be part of the joke? Really? Look, I like Neil Patrick Harris especially when he’s hosting The Tonys but How I Met Your Mother is, like all CBS sitcoms, a piece of crap."
He also griped about the nerdy The Big Bang Theory. "And please don’t get me started on the gay The Big Bang Theory – I’m too tired to go there," he tweeted. "Gayness personified."
Despite his strongly voiced opinions on "crap," Ellis’ core complaint is unclear. Is he implying that gay actors should only play gays onscreen and straight actors should only play straight ones? Because if Rush Limbaugh called for casting roles that way, we would call it "discrimination." And practically speaking the result would be less work for gay and lesbian actors, given the lack of mainstream roles for gay and lesbian characters.
These tweets by prompted after Ellis tweeted at length against rumored casting White Collar man piece Matt Bomer as the Christian Grey role in 50 Shades Of Grey because Bomer is gay. His objection is that Bomer is gay and Grey has to be straight, for some reason ( despite fact Bomer played a married straight man in Magic Mike and no one cared). It is worth noting that on Friday night, Ellis did a 180 and tweeted, "You know what? I changed my mind. I think a gay actor HAS GOT to play Grey. It’s IMPERATIVE that someone gay plays him…"
I’m not sure if Bomer or NPH’s real-life sexuality are the first thing on all viewers’ minds; they certainly aren’t on mine, nor are the sexual orientations of other actors. As a heterosexual woman, I wonder if Ellis’ observation is acutely sensitive to him because he is gay, yet goes unobserved by others.