Seven days of TV viewing
ELISHA Cuthbert was probably ready for a few laughs.
The 29- year- old Canadian actor burst on to TV screens in 2001 in the award- winning drama series 24 playing Jack Bauer’s daughter Kim, followed by a stint in another crime drama The Forgotten. It was heavy stuff, so the time was right to make the switch to comedy.
Cuthbert ( pictured) has done just that with Southern Cross’s new US comedy import Happy Endings. She’s part of an ensemble cast including Eliza Coupe ( Scrubs ), Zachary Knighton ( Flash Forward ), Casey Wilson ( Saturday Night Live ), Adam Pally and Damon Wayans Jr.
Happy Endings is based around the lives of a group of 20- something friends in Chicago who find their lives turned upside down when the couple that brought them together – Cuthbert’s Alex and Knighton’s Dave – split up.
Australian audiences got their first taste of the show, described as a 2011 version of Friends, a few weeks ago on the back of the highrating X Factor final.
Despite playing Alex – the girl who dumps her groom- to- be at the altar – Cuthbert is confident that audiences will soon warm to Alex, unlike her 24 character.
‘‘ Kim was a character that everyone really loved to hate,’’ Cuthbert says.
‘‘ I think they even named me Most Love- to- Hate Character in [ US] TV Guide magazine.
‘‘ But I understood it. That was that character. I don’t hate her whatsoever, but I can understand the fans having that sort of aggravation towards the storylines.’’
This makes Alex a breath of fresh air. ‘‘ I was really excited to play someone everyone would really love,’’ Cuthbert says.
‘‘ Obviously it comes with a few complications, but I think Alex redeems herself after a few episodes. Viewers will get to see the real Alex, the Alex that all of these guys grew to love and not the Alex running out of a church.’’
As the glue that held the group of friends on Happy Endings together, Alex’s actions have a huge impact on their social circle, which includes her sister Jane ( Coupe), her brother- inlaw Brad ( Wayans Jr), their gay friend Max ( Pally) and Penny ( Wilson), the single gal searching for Mr Right.
Cuthbert’s co- star Coupe says the inevitable comparisons with the iconic Friends sell Happy Endings a little short.
‘‘ We’re more of a New Age, kind of ‘ right now’ show,’’ Coupe says.
‘‘ We have really relatable characters, too, because we don’t try to cover up the neuroses of each other, which is something I like to see when I’m watching a show, instead of everybody being so glossy and picture- perfect.
‘‘ With Happy Endings, we see the characters’ true colours exposed in every episode.’’
While Coupe’s background is in comedy ( she first made her name in a one- woman stand- up show before her roles in Flight Of The Conchords, Samantha Who and an 11- episode
stint on Scrubs ), Happy Endings is Cuthbert’s first foray into lighter entertainment.
‘‘ I think they [ ABC] were more particular about me coming back to TV and doing drama, but I was really, really adamant about wanting to do comedy. I just held out and somehow this came along,’’ Cuthbert says.