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Watching Stuff: "Happy Endings," "Don't Trust ..."

By Rich Heldenfels Published: October 23, 2012

Tonight includes the season premieres of "Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B----- in Apt. 23," two comedies with a fair amount of laughs, although I prefer "Don't Trust" to "Happy Endings."

Both are deliberately quirky, even mean, and could have easily fit into a Fox lineup with "New GIrl." In fact, I think a lot about "New Girl" quite a bit when watching "Happy Endings," since both involve fast-talking ensembles and a certain edginess to accompany the attempts to endear. But both shows tend to wear on me after a little viewing; there's almost too much snappy patter, and "New Girl" seems convinced of its charm to a greater degree than I am. Also, a little Zooey Deschanel goes a lonnnnnng way.

(A side note: The cleverest thing I've seen on TV in the last week or so was a throwaway on "Elementary" about e.e. cummings while Holmes was investigating a killer called the Balloon Man. And, oh, did that bring back high-school-lit memories.)

"Happy Endings" does move a couple of characters along in terms of relationships and jobs, and it's intermittently funny. (One not funny: A hackneyed bit involving a full bathtub and fully clothed man. That's a real "Is that the best you've got?" moment.) And it's not that I dislike the show as much as -- well, put it this way: it's a great show to have commercials. Watching an uninterrupted preview disc made me exhausted in a way that I might not have been with breaks, even fast-forwarding-the-DVR kind of breaks. I like the show best in small bites.

"Don't Trust," on the other hand, is a show I can enjoy from beginning to end. And tonight's telecast is especially funny, involving James Van Der Beek and a possible "Dawson's Creek" reunion, along with guest appearances by Frankie Muniz and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as themselves*, and a well-used tranquilizer gun. Check it out.

*And, I should have mentioned earlier, the fabulous Busy Philipps.

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