Former Detective Nick Sax is an alcoholic loner who relies on narcotics to fill his life with meaning and interest, in turn relying on his skills as a gun for hire to provide for his habits. However, after having a near death experience he is visited by Happy, a small blue flying unicorn which only he and his daughter can hear or see. Happy has been sent by his daughter Hailey to help Happy free her from the clutches of an evil and deranged Santa Claus.
To say that “Happy!” is just another satirical black comedy would be a huge discredit to its premise, style and story. What we are treated too over eight all-too-brief episodes of this imaginary world is a bonkers ride that will divide audiences equally and is the TV equivalent of marmite. We get faux reality TV, snarling king-pin villains S&M loving children’s TV hosts dressed as flies and much, much more.
The casting of Patton Oswald as the voice of Happy is perfect fit for the CGI character as his high-pitched tones blend perfectly with the innocence that the cutesy little unicorn portrays on screen (at least at the beginning), even if that scene is a homage to the “Reservoir Dogs” torture sequence, but this time replacing humans with imaginary friends. However, it’s the choice of Chris Meloni as Sax that truly resonates on screen as you can almost smell the anguish on him as he trudges, unwillingly, from episode to episode full of despair and disgrace.
There’s another notable performance from Patrick Fischler as the ostentatious and sociopathic interrogator Smoothie who takes real pleasure and pride in his work without coming across as hammy or cartoonish. However, I found Smoothie’s Boss Mr Blue to be the opposite, a parody of previous incarnations of a Mob Boss, the character lacking both menace and believability. In fact it could be argued that you could remove him completely from the story and he wouldn’t be missed.
In summary, if you’re looking for a television series that allows you to dispel reality, whilst serving up a cold dish of revenge with lashings of violence, gore and satire then step this way as this one’s for you. In the next season of the show it would be interesting to expand the imaginary friend universe that the show touches upon at times, as its ripe for exploration.