Every season, ABC’s Happy Endings ends at a wedding. It makes sense for the time in the characters’ lives that they would constantly have friends walking down the aisle, but it also makes sense for the title of the show in general. Many fans thought season three would end on a high note as perpetually (and often disaster-ly) single Penny (Casey Wilson) finally found her prince in good-natured Pete (Nick Zano), but as recent episodes have proven, that is not the case. Still, season three of Happy Endings will end on a wedding of someone very close to a couple of the core characters, and it will serve the purpose that all weddings to single people at their age do: to make them look around at their lives and relationships and see if they’re making the progress they want to make.
“I don’t think it was the right time for her yet,” Happy Endings series executive producer Jonathan Groff said to LA TV Insider Examiner of the decision for Penny to break things off with Pete and go back to being the single friend.
“I think it was good for her to be in a relationship that she was relatively sane in and to be with a nice guy and a guy who’s kind of charismatic, and I’ll just come out and say it, as sexy as Nick Zano; it was really fun for Penny to be in that and to have somebody who accepts her for who she is, but I think the reasons she ended up breaking up [with him] were real, too. I liked the time we took with the character to hear what it was that she wasn’t feeling and to hear her say ‘I’m not going to settle even though it’s a lot of what I should want.’ I thought it was ultimately a strong character move for Penny; we learned something about her, and she learned something about herself. I know we’re talking about this like it’s a drama, but honestly, this is season three, and I don’t think you want marriages and babies and all that stuff [so early]!”
Groff shared that Pete was always intended to be “an arc” rather than a permanent new edition to the show, the gang, or to Penny specifically, but that his exit a few episodes before the season finale should not necessarily be taken as a hint that Penny may revisit her feelings for Dave (Zachary Knighton) just yet.
“We always want to sort of keep our options open in terms of exploring combinations, but what we did feel as we were going towards the end of the season was that we didn’t have the time at all to try to tap the Dave and Penny thing this season,” Groff said.
Happy Endings is going into its season finale not knowing if it will have to live as a series finale, so Penny/Dave shippers may unfortunately just have to rely on their imaginations and creative Tumblrs, should the show not get renewed. But Groff promised that the unsure fate of the series was on the writers and producers’ minds when crafting the episode, and therefore they created a “warm, satisfying, funny finale” that will see characters grow but not leave anyone on a big cliffhanger moment.
“Brothas and Sisters,” the third season finale, sees the eldest Kerkovich daughter Brooke (guest star Stephanie March) preparing to tie the knot with beau Elliott (James Lesure), which shows Jane (Eliza Coupe) in a new light because she is actually the middle child and has a very different relationship with her older sister than her younger one.
“Jane is clearly so much closer as a sister to Alex and so much more able and willing to control that relationship [which] probably came from her lack of control with the more dominant presence of her sister. Jane really needs the approval of older authority figures,” Groff said.
Plus he added: “Brooke feels like she’s lived and been out in the world for a little bit. Stephanie March is so good, and she’s like six feet tall, so you have her with 5’9’’ Eliza and 5’3’’ [Elisha], and it’s just this really funny visual.”
Though there are emotional moments to explore with the Kerkovich family (yes, Groff confirmed both parents will return for the episode, though do to Christopher McDonald‘s theatre schedule in New York, his presence at the wedding won’t be “physical.” Here’s hoping for another Skype table, right? That’s a real trend these days!), Groff noted that the real emotion ground covered in the season finale is really centered on Dave and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), who find themselves at yet another wedding, this time together as a couple, wondering what the next step in their relationship should be.
“Brooke and Elliott’s [wedding] forces Dave and Alex to look at what they’re doing because Alex is like ‘My sister, this is her first marriage, and she’s a little older than me and has dated a lot of other people. She knows this is the right guy. Do we know that without having dated a lot of other people?’ But we didn’t do that in Act 3; we did that in Act 1, so in that sense it’s a little bit of an unusual shape, but I think it’s funny, and I think it’s unique,” Groff said.
“I think if you look at the season, there’s a sort of book-end to the season with Dave and Alex saying they’re getting back together and everyone thinks it’s a good idea, and then following through on it, and then they have a real discussion in this episode of ‘Why did we do this? And was this the right thing?’”
In a way, that could almost be the perfect book-end to the series as a whole, but of course we hope that’s not the case since we want to gang-hang with this group for seasons to come. Groff also confirmed that with everything going on at this wedding, there’s no time for Max (Adam Pally), with or without Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) to take the stage and perform at yet another reception. So now we’re going to need a season four just to see Mandonna again!
Happy Endings will air its final two season three episodes back-to-back on ABC on Friday, May 3 2013 at 8 and 8:30 p.m. Check back here after the episodes air for a look at what a potential season four would look like, per Groff.
Want more Happy Endings news and interviews? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!