HomeTelevisionTV Recap: MTV's Happyland, Series Premiere

TV Recap: MTV’s Happyland, Series Premiere

Happyland Poster

Summary: Happyland centers on Lucy (Bianca A. Santos), a cynical teenage girl whose mother works as a fairy tale princess in a popular theme park. Lucy explores the reality of growing up and falling in love whilst living in their fictional world of fantasy vs. reality.

With the surprising onslaught of smart, hilarious, and progressive shows, I’ve started to expect a lot from MTV. Awkward is a high school comedy that’s tone always rings true with a completely original format. Finding Carter is a touching drama about family and teenage identity. And Faking It is possibly the most important show of our generation, addressing human sexuality in a manner that is worlds beyond any other TV program, teen or adult.

Maybe my bar was set a bit too high, but Happyland just really rubbed me the wrong way. We’ve seen this story a hundred times before. Responsible, too smart for her own good, unrealistically adult-at-15 daughter practically has to take care of her wild, obsessed-with-men mother. This is essentially the central relationship in a show that doesn’t have much more going for it. The appeal of Happyland is supposed to be what it’s like to live and work in an amusement park, but it turns out to just be a thinly veiled melodrama with no personality.

This show had literally everything I hate. An over-exaggerated dynamic, that made both mother and daughter (ya know, the main characters) completely unlikable. A love triangle – actually rectangle – with no chemistry to go around. And (SPOILER ALERT) a built-up romance that, big twist, turns out to be between siblings.

Yupp. It turns out the real story here is that Lucy spent the entire pilot falling in love with a guy who happens to be her half-brother. So………. tension? Blech. Essentially, Happyland is a large convergence of typical, annoying plot cliches mushed together to make things seem interesting. I felt nothing for the characters and the performances on a whole were simply meh.

I feel less than optimistic this show will do well.

Rating: 3/10

photo credit: mtv


Marla Pachter is a comedic writer, obsessed with all things television. She doesn’t discriminate against TV shows, which either results in pleasant surprise or an eviscerating review for your reading pleasure. Marla loves Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine Nine, and she will probably be watching new seasons of Grey’s Anatomy until she’s 90. Sometimes she writes TV shows herself, but they don’t air on television. She also likes big butts and she cannot lie. (That was a lie). @MarlaPachter



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