They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Open the book, get to know it a bit and then make your decision on whether or not it’s worth your time. I believe people should hold the same sentiment for TV shows: Don’t judge a show by its premise.
If you do, you might brush aside “Happy Together,” a new comedy on CBS that stars the effortlessly zany Damon Wayans Jr. (“New Girl”) as Jake Davis, an ordinary tax accountant living an ordinary life. One of Jake’s clients is the pop heartthrob Cooper James (Felix Mallard, “Neighbours”), and after a high-profile break-up, Cooper moves in with Jake and his wife Claire (Amber West, “Ghosted”) to get away from the paparazzi.
With his dreamy accent, charming personality and gender defying wardrobe, Cooper may seem familiar. There is a reason for that, as the show is loosely based off real-life superstar Harry Styles, an executive producer on the show, and the two years he spent living with friend Ben Winston and his wife.
It’s a “Three’s Company”-esque concept, and one that thrives when the three main characters are working in harmony. “Happy Together” is at its most enjoyable when Wayans, Mallard and West use the incredible onscreen chemistry they have. When the show attempts to find humor in the Davises’ age or overt uncoolness, shown through outdated jokes like the couple spending Saturday nights crafting a landline outgoing messages, it falters.
In fact, West and Wayans are underutilized throughout the entirety of show, despite how well they play off each other as the ideal sitcom couple. They’re goofy, self-deprecating and fully aware that their lives aren't the most exciting. Still, even their most mundane moments are charming to watch, and at times it feels as if the show doesn't even need the popstar tenant plotline to be successful.
It’d be a shame if “Happy Together” wasted an endearing premise and talented cast just because it doesn’t know how to use them properly. Just as it would be a shame if the show isn’t giving the time to find its footing before it is shunned due to its unconventional premise. But if the genre of “unusual living arrangements” can produce such beloved television like “Three’s Company” and “The Golden Girls,” nothing is stopping “Happy Together” from finding a rightful place in the hearts of viewers.