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As it comes up on 10 years since Happy Endings premiered, cast members from the beloved sitcom premiered a reunion special on Monday, and ET got the scoop on the episode’s surprising twists and turns -- like that wedding! Viewers were in for a shock when fan-favorites Penny and Max tied the knot at the end of the episode, which encouraged viewers to donate to Color of Change and World Central Kitchen.
It all went down as the six actors -- Eliza Coupe (Jane), Zachary Knighton (Dave), Adam Pally (Max), Casey Wilson (Penny), Elisha Cuthbert (Alex) and Damon Wayans Jr. (Brad) -- got into character and caught up over a Zoom video chat.
During the chat, Penny donned a wedding dress and expressed concerns about becoming a spinster. As she wallowed in misery, taking a hammer to her gown at one point, Max reminded her of a pact the two once made.
“This might be the weed state talking, but what if we got married?” he said. “Don’t you remember the pact we made? We said that if we weren’t married by the time a global pandemic hit that was terribly mismanaged by a failed businessman/failed reality star/failed president and racist piece of s**t, we would marry each other.”
Next thing you know, the two were pronounced husband and wife by Dave.
ET’s Leanne Aguilera chatted with Coupe, Knighton and Pally, who dished on the special, with Pally revealing the wedding had actually been in the cards for season 4, had the show continued beyond its season 3 finale in May 2013.
“I remember that being pitched to me for season 4, that we were going to go down that road, and I thought it was really funny, especially with all the nontraditional other aspects of Happy Endings,” Pally said. “So it was not a surprise when it came up again. I also knew Casey wanted to get into a wedding dress somehow. I think she is wearing it 99% of the time.”
Pally added that it was “not that hard” to slip back into the character of Max seven years since the show wrapped. “It’s a character that wasn't supposed to be someone like me, so it was molded to me and it is easy to put on a suit that was tailored to you,” he explained. “Even though I gained a little weight!”
As for what the cast would say to fans who hoped Penny might end up with Dave, Knighton seemed surprised to hear fans had shipped a romance between the pair.
“Did they?” he said. “There haven't been a lot of Penny and Dave collages that I've been tagged in my Instagram! In the episode, Dave is really having a spiritual awakening now, so he's probably keeping all of his chi to himself. I think the whole Penny and Dave thing definitely started to tip [ratings] downward, so I don’t think Penny and Dave are going to ever come back.”
"Anytime we tried to do a serious story arc, people weren't interested," series creator, David Caspe, added in a Q&A with the cast airing after the special.
During the episode, Brad also left his “staycation” in the basement to get intimate with wife Jane upstairs, while Alex dialed in as DJ Be Nice, a presumed play on real-life quarantine DJ favorite DJ D-Nice.
Another plot twist was that Alex now has a baby, but fans were left hanging about whom the father is, and Coupe had nothing to dish on the mystery man’s identity. “I didn't really put much thought into it,” she tells ET.
Frequently compared to Friends, Happy Endings followed a group of pals whose bonds were challenged after one left the other at the altar. The sitcom aired from 2011 to 2013 and built a cult following, with fans remaining eager for a reboot.
Knighton shared that the cast started talking about bringing the show back in late 2019, prompting their group text to get “real revved up.” When COVID-19 hit, they switched gears to creating a special episode for charity to benefit health care workers, later deciding to also incorporate helping the Black Lives Matter movement. The broadcast raised more than $6,000 before it even commenced.
As for whether fans can expect a full reboot, Coupe noted there’s more to consider than how much the cast want to do it.
“All of us would love that,” she said. “[But] about 900 people need to sign off on that before that can happen -- all the different networks, all the things.”
“I think it's pretty cool though when you think about [how] this show started small and people didn't know a lot of people involved in it, [and] now the creative people behind it -- all the writers, directors -- have gone on to amazing jobs and things that have changed the culture,” Pally added, about the lasting impact of the sitcom. “I think that is one of the coolest testaments to the whole thing.”