Last night's premiere of ABC's new psychological thriller Happy Town coalesced bad writing, confusing plot lines, trite dialogue and in-numerous unsuccessful attempts at homage together in an hour long, directionless primetime clusterf*ck. Examples inside.
Bizarre Carly Simon references and sophomoric plot twists aside, Happy Town is a show with too many aims and no idea how to execute any of them. At face value, the plot is reminiscent of Twin Peaks, a small town's Rockwellian veneer is peeled away to reveal its sinister underbelly. The townsfolk oscillate between Stepford-like perfection and a strangely forced quirkiness, this juxtaposition lacking any of the depth or nuance David Lynch was able to bring to the characters of Peaks.
On top of Happy Town's failure to bring any of the intrigue of the show it strives to be reminiscent of, the writers stuffed enough confusing plot twists in last night's pilot to rival an episode of Lost. This would be great except that we don't care about the characters, we don't understand the town and the overall tone of the show is wandering and uninviting. Garnering lackluster ratings last night it'll be interesting to see if this trainwreck catches on.