Happyland Review “Never Break Character”

Happyland cast

Happyland can be funny. I am as shocked as anyone else. After two laborious episodes setting up the backstory of Lucy’s parentage, why Ian cannot be her Romeo and how madly in love Will is with his BFF, “Never Break Character” took down Will and Harper’s ailing relationship, had Ian come to terms with the idea that he kissed his sister and gave Lucy a chance to shine while also revealing Bianca A. Santos comedic chops. While the series still lacks a sense of purpose, the characters are becoming interesting enough to make the backstory worth wading through.

Lucy and Ian win the MVP awards for “Never Break Character” thanks to their instant switch from bickering romantic interests to bickering siblings. Being a trust fund baby, Ian’s mind immediately went to extortion when Lucy revealed she is his sister, which led to a hilarious moment where the duo were forced to improvise a conversation between their Prince and Princess characters while waltzing in front of the entire character training class. Ian’s jabs at the princess’ mood swings led to Lucy making digs about where the King had been sheathing his sword leading to their teacher, who takes staying in character very seriously, demanding to know what the hell they were talking about. I am beginning to think Happyland should just consist of Ian and Lucy dancing and bantering like they are in a 1940s screwball comedy. I could find no fault in that show.

While Ian was busy having all of his beliefs about his father dashed (and Ian was worried about disappointing the great and powerful Mr. Chandler), Lucy was busy scrambling to earn a character paycheck in time to keep a roof over her family’s head. Lucy’s mom, Gloria, failed to tell her daughter they were in more of financial bind than usual, leaving them with an eviction notice to deal with. On a serious note, the subplot pointed to yet another reason why Lucy could easily end up being a Happyland lifer. Gloria is too much of a dreamer to make it on her own, leaving Lucy to take on jobs she does not want in order to keep them going.

Her desire to land the princess job full time comes from a place of necessity. While Ian and Matt get into fisticuffs over her honor, Lucy stays focus on the task at hand, never breaking character as she tries to explain to the kids why the park’s mascot and the prince are “wrestling” at such an inopportune moment. Once Lucy divulged the entire truth about Ian’s father’s actions and her current financial situation, Ian actually stepped up and took the character test with Lucy, passing it with just a few sword fumbles. The duo still have the problem of what to do about their romantic kiss, but for the moment Lucy’s home is secure. Gloria also did her part by ceding her princess crown and becoming the witch. It’s still a character with character’s pay, but it was also a reminder that she is the mother and if her daughter is willing to make sacrifices, so should she.

Elsewhere, Matt continued to be adorable, but petulant. His obvious love for his best friend cost him more than the charming Harper, it also cost him his job due to his fight with Ian. I’m not sure what to make of this kid. He is low on ambition, but he is a standup guy with a good heart. However, unless he has dreams of fleeing the world of Happyland alongside Lucy, he is essentially a townie who is too cowardly to tell his girlfriend he is in love with his (and her) best friend. Yes, the episode ended with Harper and Ian hooking up, but Matt made quite the spectacle of himself. Ian did make an unnecessary remark about Matt’s intentions toward Lucy, but the kid handled it in the worst way possible. Now he has no job and no girlfriend, but I guess Lucy’s honor is safe?

What do you think, guys, is Happyland improving? Is Matt a nice guy or a “Nice Guy”? Can Ian and Lucy actually have a sibling relationship? Sound off below.

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