MTV’s newest addition to their Tuesday night line-up, “Happyland” has a brilliant hook — a comedy based around the real lives of teenagers who are employed to play pretend at an amusement park. It’s interesting and new, and has so much potential for creative storylines and humorous situations.
This is in large part due to the fact they introduce some great characters in the pilot episode. Bianca Santos (“The Fosters”) leads the comedy as the headstrong, determined Lucy who is sick of living in a fairy tale and taking care of her whimsical boy hungry mom, Elena. She is assisted by her down-to-earth hardworking best friend Will and his climbing up the corporate ranks girlfriend Harper.
Lucy’s world is turned upside down when Ian Chandler, son of the new president of the Happyland empire shows up. He’s disorganized and directionless and just the thing that Lucy needs to unwind. However, the Chandler family taking over the park causes a lot of turmoil for Lucy as the oldest Chandler brother, Theo, starts cracking down on employee policy and a previous affair between Elena and Mr. Chandler comes to light that has serious consequences for Lucy’s relationship with Ian.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? “Happyland” is only 22 minutes long and they are trying to pack a lot into a small space of time. The amount of drama they throw at you in the pilot overshadows the more promising aspects of the show. Of course, as with most MTV shows, “Happyland” wants to start off with a dramatic BANG! and hopefully the pace will even out as it gets into later episodes. The good news is when a 22 minute show leaves you saying, “Wait, that’s the end already?” it means you want more. (Plus, keep your eyes peeled for that Josh Groban cameo, because it’s priceless.)
“Happyland” is definitely a fun show with a lot of original potential. It just needs to trust itself and the ingredients it has already in the stew before going for outlandish soap opera stories over grounded character-based work. There’s so much fun to explore in the underbelly of an amusement park with these dynamic characters that they don’t need the extra sizzle. If it can harness that, “Happyland” will be the perfect cherry on top of MTV’s Tuesday comedy block.
“Happyland” premieres Tuesday Sept. 30 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.