‘Happy Endings’ Takes On The Housing Crisis

In a fall full of sitcoms with marginally pleasant main sitcom characters surrounded by toxic-seeming people, ABC’s Happy Endings is a welcome exception. The characters seem close enough that when they needle each other, it’s got the rhythm of an established group rather than random nastiness that belies an inability to write affection convincingly. And it tells nice, subtle stories about race: it’s got an interracial couple as part of the group without making a big deal of it. And in last night’s episode, Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.) enlists Max (Adam Pally) as his driver in a ploy to impress his boss, an older African-American man in a reversal of Driving Miss Daisy that was more about Brad’s insecurities about his job than race but played with race without being flip.

All of which is a long way of getting to something I thought was weird: the fact that throughout the episode, Dave keeps trying to accurately explain the housing crisis, and his friends keep treating his explanations of the role of risky mortgage-backed securities:

and extremely low down payments:

As if they’re not just boring, but wrong. Which they aren’t! They’re simplistic but essentially correct. At a time when shows like 2 Broke Girls are establishing their relevance through accurate plotlines based on the financial crisis, it would be smart for the show to use something like this to actually establish something about the characters. Is Dave smarter than everyone gives him credit for? Are his friends sillier? Rich enough to be oblivious? These are the kinds of things where a fact-checker can make a good show even smarter.