26 February 2002 | Cinema Buff
Interesting idea falls flat
I have watched a few episodes of this show on late night syndication, and I found myself in the odd position of being intrigued and disappointed at the same time.
The show revolves around the type of family that inhabited pre-"Ally McBeal" Fox Channel shows. We have the stereotypical wife who loves to shop and think illogically. We have the son who can only rely on his hand to console him. We have the daughter who inspires the laugh track to go nuts with wolf whistles just by stepping out onto the stage.
When these characters are around, the show has two modes: predictable and offensive. We see that the son is going to get slapped in the face by the popular girl at school, and we wonder where the humor is in him accidentally killing the mailman (who we find out later is his actual father).
The show takes a slightly more interesting turn, though, in its central character. The father. In other shows, the father has been the most logical figure of the household. He is the one that holds the insanity together. In "Unhappily Ever After", however, the twist is that the father is the crazy one. A couple of times each episode, he sits down on the couch and gets half-assed advice from Mr. Floppy, a hallucination of a stuffed bunny that he had in his childhood.
This part of the show is where I get intrigued. This is an interesting and original idea, with numerous possibilities. Unfortunately, the writers don't know what to do with it, and consequently let the idea become the joke. Mr. Floppy (who is given life thanks to voice-over king Bobcat Goldthwait) has no other purpose in the show than to tell crude jokes and brag about his charm.
It is a shame to see such an idea go to waste. "Unhappily Ever After" had the potential to be one of the most original comedies of the 90's, and instead turned into a cheap and predictable retread of the "Married With Children" formula.