“Coogan stars in the lead role of Thom Payne, a 44-year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25-year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital”, “social” and “viral”. Is he in need of a “rebranding”, or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?” Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Maybe, after 44 years on this ludicrous planet, settling for happyish is the best one can expect.” (official synopsis via NME)
“On his birthday, Thom Payne gets the gift of insignificance and also a new boss. He suspects his ED pills are interfering with his anti-depressants, leaving him with neither happiness nor… happiness. In a culture that reveres youth – a culture he helped create – Thom needs to figure out what his purpose is now that he’s halfway to death and nobody cares what he thinks. Because in a world where any Kardashian is trending up, perhaps the wise among us would heartily embrace trending down.” (official synopsis via IMDb)
That eternally-searched for, often elusive, much longed for and dreamt about state of being that if magically attained, promises to turn our lives into a Xanadu-like – with or without Olivia Newton-John, your call – place of perpetual fat-free cheesecake-eating bliss.
Thing is, it’s one of things that if its really concentrated on, and I mean thinking about till your head comes close to exploding, which let’s be honest would likely NOT make you happy in the slightest, somehow seems to evade us like a leprechaun promising riches or the Loch Ness monster.
We can’t ever nail it down but that could be because it’s one of those things you don’t get directly but indirectly when all the other ducks line up and you realise, somewhere between the couch and your commute that you might be happy.
Well, Happyish anyway.
“It’s not the pursuit of happiness that’s our problem, it’s our inability to accept when we have maxed out.”
It’s the central idea occupying the narrative of the new blackly comedic TV series from Showtime, starring Steve Coogan who stepped in after the tragic all-too-early death of Philip Seymour Hoffman last year, as a man trying to work whether the pursuit of happiness (no word on his stance on “life” or liberty” but I am assuming he’d like them too) is an illusory game best left to young people who don’t know better, or if it’s actually something you can hold in your middle-aged hands.
With the impressively negatively-creative musings of author/essayist Shalom Auslander, a writer often favourably compared to David Sedaris, providing the bleakly amusing narrative, and acting talent like Bradley Whitford, Kathryn Hanh and guest star Ellen Barkin appearing alongside the fearsomely good Coogan, Happyish is one show I am willing to enter into the PVR before I have even seen a scrap of footage.
Right well after just 43 seconds of teaser trailer footage in which you must contemplate whether you’d prefer being “soft and happy” or “miserable and hard” …
Such are our choices in life it seems, or at least in the world of Happyish which looks to be an authentically brilliant take on the business of living and its often ephemeral glimpses of happiness.
Happyish premieres on April 26, 2015 on Showtime.