Happy Endings returns from a painful two month hiatus tonight, with a pair of beyond hilarious episodes that truly exemplify why this is not only TV's funniest sitcom, but also truly deserving of a fourth season. The network even launched a (somewhat frustrating) Save Happy Endings campaign in anticipation of the return, but like Casey Wilson rightly told me earlier today, any promotion is good promotion.
To celebrate the return of Happy Endings, ETonline rang up the always ah-mah-zing (sorry, had to) actress to find out what lies ahead for Miss. Penny Hartz in her run up to (or run from) the altar and whether her recently announced guest spot on the How I Met Your Mother season finale means we might actually see the title come true!
ETonline: Happy Endings was shuffled around the schedule a lot this season before going on a 2 month hiatus, all the while, you guys were making the show. Was it tough to ignore that and just focus on making the show?
Casey Wilson: From our perspective, for the last two and a half years we've been doing the show, we've always been in a perilous position. We were mid-season and always were moved around, but, thankfully, we've always had such a core group of fans that followed us to every timeslot. We certainly never felt comfortable except for the three weeks we were airing after Modern Family and living the highlife. But what I was impressed with is that everyone's attitude – the writers, the creators, the cast – was to make the best show possible, even if it was just our dads watching it. We had to tune out the changes but at the same time, we were happy not to be canceled. I'm a very glass-half-full person, a la Penny.
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ETonline: What did you make of ABC's Save Happy Endings campaign, which some fans have found a little insulting?
Wilson: On the one hand, I'll take any promotion, but we were sort of laughing. Like, isn't ABC the one who can truly save the show? [laughs] My girlfriend asked me, "Can I watch it more?" Like, what are you supposed to do? [laughs] The campaign has raised awareness, so it is a mixed bag. Maybe I'm completely naive, but I feel like we're going to stick around. We're making a funny show that's a different kind of sitcom. Our fans, or as I call them, Visionaries, have been loving what we're doing and I'm really happy about that.
ETonline: I've loved Penny's arc this season as we've seen her get what she thinks she wants with Pete. What's your take on her season three journey?
Wilson: It's been great to ground her a bit -- I don't think she's so crazy she couldn't get a great guy. Of course Penny's most likely going to destroy it [laughs]. But I think the comedy comes from those girls who want something so strongly and then they get it and it's like, "Ugh." [laughs] It's so funny to me that all these women ever wanted is to have a baby and then the next day, they're like, "Being pregnant is the worst."
ETonline: We're also meeting Penny's estranged father this year, which makes me think the show might get a little heavier?
Wilson: Yep. Penny meets her father, played by Andy Richter, who abandoned their family a long time ago. So there's a lot more emotional storylines coming up, which I think is great too because the rapid-fire hard jokes might not be for everybody. I think people really respond to heart -- like when I watch Modern Family, damn it if I'm not crying at the end of every episode. They always get me. I think Happy Endings is trying to fuse hard jokes and heart.
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ETonline: What can you say about tonight's first episode, In The Heat of the Noche?
Wilson: I'm really excited about tonight's episode because it actually comes from one of my girlfriends, who shared this story with our writers. When she's in a relationship or trying to be in a relationship, and didn't want to text or call a guy to seem pressed, what she would do is take NyQuil at 4 p.m. and knock herself out for the night! It's literally so crazy and creative, the writers immediately put it into the show. So, in the first episode, Max and Penny start taking NocheTussin and become completely addicted and total shut-ins, so they're sleeping for 22 hours at a time [laughs]. I love that idea that Penny is still insecure in her relationship, and crazy as can be, and Max is totally on board with this. Eventually they have to do an intervention on each other.
ETonline: And then the second episode is about Max dating a woman just because she has Bulls season tickets, right?
Wilson: [laughs] Exactly. Max is just shameless -- shameless! -- in pursuit of Bulls tickets. And Abby Elliot guest stars as that woman. We were on Saturday Night Live together, and I just love her so much. It was fun having her on-set.
ETonline: Abby is just coming off an arc on How I Met Your Mother and you are going to be in the season finale. In those instances, do you ring her up to get some set-navigating tips?
Wilson: Absolutely! She texted me, "You're going to love How I Met Your Mommy," and I was dying that she's been calling it "How I Met Your Mommy." I filmed my scenes last week and they're just the nicest group over there. They're class acts, and I have a real girl crush on Cobie Smulders. Like, I was getting nervous talking to her because I really look up to her ... and then I realized she's younger than me [laughs].
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ETonline: What can you say about your character?
Wilson: She's a real bitch. I'll leave it there. She's not someone anyone would want to hang out with.
ETonline: So, all the people wondering if you're the mother should stop wondering?
Wilson: I don't think they're going to cast her as the mother. It would come as a huge shock for fans [laughs].
Happy Endings airs Fridays at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on ABC.