TV Review: Showtime’s dark comedy Happyish sets a new standard for obnoxious television

This much can be said for Happyish, Showtime’s latest quasi-sitcom: It doesn’t bait and switch. Such transparent guile is a no-no in the advertising industry, in which Thom Payne (Steve Coogan) struggles to adapt as a 44-year-old man out of touch with an increasingly youth-focused corporate culture. At first blush, Happyish smacks of Showtime’s attempts to substitute an inferior product; its original pilot was shot with the inimitable Philip Seymour Hoffman as Thom, and Coogan was recruited following Hoffman’s death. But Happyish favors writing over performances to such a degree that Hoffman’s absence doesn’t linger, and there are no bittersweet “what ifs” to ponder. There’s also no waiting for the show to settle into a groove. Happyish establishes its voice so efficiently, the majority of the audience will know within the first 10 minutes if the show is for them. The remainder should …

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