'Happy Town' - 'I Came to Haplin for the Waters' Recap
by Bob Sassone, posted May 5th 2010 11:20PM
(S01E02) "I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee ... " - Carly Simon
I'm not even sure what to make of 'Happy Town.' It's a murder mystery, but parts of it are so goofy you think it might be a spoof. The tone is all light one moment, then dark and deadly serious the next. Is something magical and ghostly happening or is all of that stuff just a red herring? Who the hell knows?
No, I'm actually asking you, who the hell knows? I want to talk to that person.
Last week I said that I didn't trust anyone in Haplin, Minn. Not the goody-goody sheriff, not his wife, not the new girl in town, not the old ladies at the house, not the mysterious owner of the new movie memorabilia shop, not the guy who owns the bread company and not the creepy guys who seem to just sit around in dirty clothes and drink all day long. I also pointed out Abraham Benrubi's character specifically. The big, nice guy who has the restaurant seems to be a little too nice and normal and the sort of character you don't suspect so you should suspect him. This week we find out I was right.
I didn't realize how right. Benrubi is the killer? That's solved already? It's a lot more complicated than that, of course. He killed Jerry Friddle in the shack because he thought that Friddle was the Magic Man who abducted all those people over the years. And now his best bud Tommy, the new sheriff, has to decide whether or not to arrest him. I'll give the show credit for doing a fake out about this show being about that murder.
I still have no idea how this connects to Candle Girl Henley coming to town, who seems to be less Candle Girl and more Veronica Mars with all her investigating. This week she finally got a copy of the landlord's key (I think Grieves the Movie Man knows what she was doing and distracted the landlady) and when she opened the mysterious third floor the room was filled with ... birds. And an old hammer. Why? I DON'T KNOW.
And to add on to all of the mysterious, weird things and people in town, we have the arrival of another stranger, eating tapioca pudding in the hospital cafeteria, the worst-lighted hospital cafeteria in the United States. The hospital is like the one in 'Halloween 2.' Then there's the scene where the girl is talking to the injured sheriff and then suddenly she hears the sheriff talking to her even though he's unconscious and then she gets all dizzy and runs through the hospital corridor and the guy in the wheelchair has a distorted face and then Tapioca Guy corners her in the elevator and asks "what did you see, bitch?" and then she wakes up in the house of the creepy guys who drink a lot who are arguing over the lyrics of Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain.'
Yes, that was a very long sentence but that's how the scene played out. This episode will go down as one of the most bizarre episodes of any show this year. Ten times stranger than any episode of 'Lost,' which is a remarkably grounded show considering it's about smoke monsters and time travel.
Actually, my favorite parts of this show are the ones like that 'You're So Vain' scene. Whether it's that moment or Grieves talking to Henley about great quotes from 'Casablanca,' it's fun to see these pop culture references in the middle of bizarre occurrences.
So ... is 'Happy Town' a good show? I wouldn't say that. Is it a bad show? No, I wouldn't say that either. How's that for a comprehensive review? All I know is that I have to tune in to see what the hell is going on.
- It's too bad ABC's promos ruined the reveal about Benrubi. Shows like this need those mysteries to be held on to until the episode airs. Or maybe they don't think the show can survive without some big promo for it.
- The girl's boyfriend thinks that her dad beat her up. Why does he think this? And why did the girl just stand there when the boyfriend said "I'm going to kill him!" and then run out? Crazy.
- This show should have a soundtrack released. Last week we had Elvis Costello and this week Carly Simon.
- Next week another stranger comes to town. What the hell?