One Big Happy: One Big Trio


After two rather troublesome episodes, one fantastic episode, and one episode dedicated to Prudence and Luke, One Big Happy is at least trying to settle in. It’s rough — like learning to ride a bike. Not only does this series have to battle other sitcoms on the air, it also introduced a huge new concept to television — leading lesbians, as I have discussed — meaning that it almost has to be perfect in order to receive great reviews.

Kind of like sexuality’s importance in everything else in life, One Big Happy needs to prove that it can survive in this world, and that it’s not going to be some failed show that had a lesbian on it. But that doesn’t mean One Big Happy still can’t have a rough episode here or there, as we saw with the first two. This show is still a sitcom – with a live audience (that is currently being perceived as a laugh track, and it is not), – and with some stereotypical characters, as we are seeing in Luke and Prudence. However, the show is growing. It’s expanding. Things aren’t always going to be one big happy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s failing.

With that said, what “A Tale of Two Hubbies” did was settle us into the world of the three main characters. Lizzy’s sexuality was a fresh new experience for television. The first few episodes proved that lesbians are different, but a good different. It’s like when (some) straight people meet a lesbian for the first time. It’s fun. It’s exciting. Sometimes it’s exotic. Yet, after a while — they’re just a person. Lizzy was new and exciting and now that the show is settling in to itself, Lizzy, Prudence, and Luke can go about their business without having Lizzy’s sexuality be some brand new thing to obsess over — even though it will always be there.

This week Lizzy decided to do something nice for Luke and Prudence —who had just recently discovered that they were not legally married. Lizzy brought, who she believed was, Prudence’s father, Martin, to America. But, they soon learned that Martin is really Prudence’s husband, whom Prudence thought she divorced. They three spent the rest of the episode trying to get Martin to divorce Prudence, which included copious amounts of alcohol and mentions of “boy-girl sex.”

Side note: I’m not 100% sure if “boy-girl” sex was a nod to Ellen’s sitcom, Ellen (1994-1998), but there’s a scene (start at 11:50) in the historic “The Puppy Episode” — you know, that one — where Ellen explains that she had “man-woman” sex while describing her night with her friend Richard. Later in the second part of that episode, Ellen comes out.

Luke, Prudence, and Lizzy were an ensemble this week. The episode didn’t heavily rely on Lizzy, sexuality or no sexuality, nor was the episode incredibly focused on Luke and Prudence. What we saw happen was the assimilation of the characters of One Big Happy into the world of One Big Happy. This show will do wonders once it clicks somewhere in that universe where it’s a sitcom with three people on it and not a sitcom with two straight people and a lesbian. And the only way this series will make that switch is with time — by figuring out how it exists, how it functions, and what its strongest parts are. One Big Happy is getting there. Last week it started to find itself, and this week it continued that search.

Overheard by the accent wall:

  • “So I’ll miss Susie Orman’s TED talk. I’ll catch the highlights on Rachel Madow” — Lizzy explaining that she is working around the spontaneous trip to Vegas, even though she was given two weeks notice.
  • “It’s cute that you’re celebrating your two month anniversary, you and a bunch of seventh graders.” — Lizzy’s response to Luke and Prudence’s celebration.
  • Lizzy: “Dude, look at her. You’re marrying a bachelor party.” Prudence: “Oh Lizzy, I’m touched. And someday you will be again too.” — Lizzy explains that Luke isn’t missing out on a bachelor party — ever — and Prudence comes back with the perfect comeback.
  • “If I had a mic, I’d drop it.” — Lizzy pretends to drop a mic, twice, in this episode and I pretend like I’m not 100% in love with her.
  • “Look, I printed up standard British divorce papers — cost me 15 quid, whatever that is.” — Lizzy spent 15 quid (about 22 dollars), and as someone who studied in London, I find this hilarious.
  • “So, what you’re saying is…it’s just you and me now.” — Lizzy and Prudence have to stick together during Luke’s absence, and I’m assuming that some lesbians are very happy about this.

Is One Big Happy starting to settle in for you? Do you think it’ll receive the time it needs to really find its groove? Sound off in the comments below.

One Big Happy airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC.