Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - LYNN CAMERON

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.

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