Comics On TV

Christopher Meloni Promises Happy! Season 2 Expands the Outlandish, Debaucherous World

Bonkers Syfy series refocuses from Christmas to Easter and explores each character's "backstory and obsessions, desire, home life, and history," Meloni says.

by | March 27, 2019 | Comments

HAPPY! -- "The War on Easter" Episode 201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patton Oswald as Happy!, Chris Meloni as Nick Sax -- (Photo by: SYFY)

(Photo by Syfy)

Christopher Meloni isn’t sure if it takes courage to be part of Syfy’s Happy!

The series, in which he stars as disgraced cop–turned–hit man Nick Sax, actively courts the wildest things one can put on broadcast television. For starters, Nick can see his daughter’s imaginary friend, Happy (Patton Oswalt). In its first season, the program introduced a consummate hit man lacking for genitals, a child-snatching Santa who smelled of fecal matter, a corrupt children’s entertainer who services the perversions of the world’s elite, and the sister of a mafia don who traded on his fame to star in a reality television program. But in its eight episodes, it also managed to tell a heartwarming tale of a father learning about his daughter — just in the most blood-soaked and urine-stained way possible.

And while Meloni is unsure if starring in the show is a courageous act, he told Rotten Tomatoes ahead of the series’ second season that a show like Happy! has to be “every actor’s dream.”

“I think the circumstances are so outlandish. Most actors relish to be in that environment,” he explained.

The show’s broad and hyper tone, the result of Happy! comic book writer Grant Morrison and Crank co-director Brian Taylor joining forces, offers a chance to “expand whatever your repertoire is” and build on “whatever gifts you have.” For Meloni, that means going as broad as he can in some scenes, truthful when appropriate, and bizarre when it might otherwise be the least likely choice in a given moment.

“There really is no wrong answer,” he said in regards to the sorts of performances both he and the cast bring to the show.

To some, Nick Sax seems to be a major departure from Meloni’s signature role as Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But those who follow the actor outside of his long tenure on that series will recognize aspects of Nick from some of the actor’s others roles.

“Even when I was doing the Law & Order gig, I always relished [my parts] in Wet Hot American Summer or Harold and Kumar,” he said. In both films, Meloni played memorable roles like an unhinged camp cook fond of his sweater and a truck driver interested in a foursome. But even those characters might look askance at Nick Sax. Once a decorated detective like Elliot Stabler, Nick got in with the Scaramucci crime family, started an affair with his partner and eventually lost his family when all of his secrets came to light. Deciding he was happy in the gutter, he spent almost a decade as a slovenly hit man until his latest contract made him a target for New York’s scummiest people.

The story expands greatly on the tale told in the comic book by Morrison and artist Darrick Robertson — like the extra problems “Blue” Scaramucci (Ritchie Coster) faced in the first season and his connection to Sonny Shine (Christopher Fitzgerald), the seeming big bad created for the television series — and omits the finality of the original comic. According to Meloni, it was a choice Morrison and Taylor made early on while working out a way to expand the four-issue comic book into both an eight-episode television show and a continuing story of debauchery at the holidays.

“[The comic] really centered on Happy and Nick Sax,” he said. “So it was just a matter of fleshing out characters and then saying, ‘What is this world?’ And then with Grant, he actually gave us the cornerstone from which to build and expand.”

HAPPY! -- "The War on Easter" Episode 201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Patton Oswald as Happy!, Chris Meloni as Nick Sax -- (Photo by: SYFY)

(Photo by Syfy)

That cornerstone may have something to do with Blue’s last scene in season 1, but Meloni was careful to say “we haven’t touched on it yet.”

Meanwhile, Nick faces, essentially, a new life for which he is not prepared.

“[He’s] trying to his best to mimic how normal human beings behave and how to operate in a normal life,” Meloni explained. “All that while being sober … he’s having a difficult time.”

Nonetheless, Nick is trying to turn his life around for the sake of his daughter Hailey (Bryce Lorenzo), who lost touch with Happy at the end of the first season. As Meloni put it, Nick feels he has to “be a straight arrow and be perfect, to not be the debauched [guy] that everyone says.” It will not be an easy task, as viewers will discover in the season 2 premiere.

And even as Nick tells Happy he will stay away from violence, violence always finds Nick. Meloni, however, insists it is not his fault.

“Have you ever hung out with someone that bad things happen to? You’ll go, ‘That person is a klutz,’ right? Or that person that gets into a lot of car accidents or always is hurting themselves? That’s what Nick Sax is. He is a magnet that attracts bad s—,” the actor explained.

HAPPY! -- "The War on Easter" Episode 201 -- Pictured: Christopher Fitzgerald as Sonny Shine -- (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/SYFY)

(Photo by Zach Dilgard/Syfy)

Nick’s magnetic pull goes into overdrive with the start of the Easter season. While not exactly the commercialized holiday Christmas is — and less of a target for jokes about presents, decorations, and the like — the early episodes of the season revolve around a plan to make Easter celebrations more like a Christmas II.

And as Meloni noted, Easter is “one of the more bizarre things that we have attempted to commercialize. …It’s the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior for some people, and we celebrate it with Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs — which is an odd collision of competing ideas.”

Easter also means a new focus on certain Catholic ideas, as viewers will see early in the premiere episode. And although Meloni said the intention was never to “take a swipe at some organization,” Happy! cannot help but send up the power bases in the world. The greed and hypocrisy of media conglomerates and massive organizations gives the show a darker undercurrent even as it’s meant to make you laugh. With that in mind, Meloni added the inherent humor of both Easter and the wider send-up of commercialized holidays “played well into our characters, like Sunny Shine.”

The character, a sort of demented Blue’s Clues host on party drugs, emerged in the first season as the real source of pain in the characters’ lives — not that they realized it before he could escape prosecution. The character’s growing status as the big bad of Happy! was the result of Fitzgerald’s work in the first year. That organic process also led to expanded roles for Lorenzo, Coster, Medina Senghore (who plays Hailey’s mother, Amanda), Patrick Fischler (as the genital-less killer Smoothie), and Lili Mirojnick as Nick’s former partner, Meredith McCarthy.

“Just about every actor on the show got expanded by virtue of the work they get first season,” Meloni explained. “Season 2 is really going to delve into everyone’s backstory and obsessions, desire, home life, and history.”

It is also going to feature crazy dance numbers, Anne-Margaret as a former star of questionable 1970s cinema, and Sunny’s wildest scheme to date. (Spoiler: It involves exploding nuns.) Does all of that require courage? Meloni still isn’t sure, but he’s happy to be part of it.

Happy airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Syfy.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

based on movie spy thriller Martial Arts comic Pacific Islander quibi psychological thriller Pirates james bond women Awards 20th Century Fox ABC Signature doctor who period drama 21st Century Fox Walt Disney Pictures Reality zero dark thirty TCA new zealand social media HBO Max cancelled television Indigenous Music Geeked Week AMC Plus Best Actress MSNBC films Women's History Month police drama VOD 2021 movie blockbuster Prime Video binge Starz debate TCM Funimation Sony new star wars movies leaderboard target scene in color scene in color series spanish language dragons hist Paramount FX on Hulu singing competition Amazon Pop Fargo Pixar Anna Paquin serial killer Mindy Kaling composers Rock game show aapi Fox Searchlight Ellie Kemper Election laika thriller CNN Legendary Disney Channel true crime 99% superman zombie Mudbound stop motion justice league Comic-Con@Home 2021 Hollywood Foreign Press Association WarnerMedia boxoffice streaming movies children's TV Fantasy deadpool classics tv talk strong female leads PaleyFest live event CMT comiccon reviews satire spinoff Action Family Marvel Studios Disney+ Disney Plus prank space worst Western Reality Competition TCA 2017 aliens technology Nominations BBC Food Network broadcast A&E streaming Hallmark Christmas movies posters Tubi cancelled TV shows GLAAD TBS Interview Superheroes independent 45 mission: impossible Television Academy Academy Awards Netflix Christmas movies Trophy Talk vampires SXSW 2022 criterion Turner Classic Movies spain obituary marvel comics 94th Oscars Super Bowl ghosts Ghostbusters summer preview summer TV preview spider-man hispanic heritage month 2020 CW Seed live action scene in color film series Superheroe stand-up comedy basketball IFC Arrowverse Best Actor genre Sony Pictures disaster South by Southwest Film Festival 73rd Emmy Awards OWN documentaries parents witnail BAFTA Musicals San Diego Comic-Con rotten robots spider-verse VICE feel good sequels RT21 casting wonder woman football Netflix directors miniseries Extras king kong Esquire Turner President festival NYCC Infographic dexter NBC news Shondaland 24 frames legend Tarantino crime scene in color ratings psycho DirecTV The Academy Neflix historical drama chucky Black History Month Schedule olympics Valentine's Day Heroines Polls and Games anime Captain marvel streamig Tomatazos ESPN Lionsgate Sci-Fi kaiju Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Year in Review New York Comic Con ID Spectrum Originals Pop TV supernatural Creative Arts Emmys First Look Paramount Network Paramount Plus Image Comics emmy awards french sequel teaser Bravo Endgame black comedy boxing remakes Disney streaming service DC Comics 007 MCU FOX Avengers mcc TV movies toy story Amazon Studios Universal Pictures cancelled TV series 2015 Holidays Oscar The Purge Paramount Pictures trophy MGM movies Watching Series know your critic History dark razzies critics Mary poppins Red Carpet renewed TV shows pirates of the caribbean critic resources American Society of Cinematographers CBS All Access Podcast Certified Fresh marvel cinematic universe LGBTQ christmas movies Crunchyroll godzilla political drama target nature Black Mirror Teen romantic comedy universal monsters IMDb TV child's play Shudder Vudu dogs Lucasfilm Syfy comics Native AMC war Tokyo Olympics YouTube TV One TCA Winter 2020 adaptation BET Awards Broadway E! golden globe awards australia 4/20 archives Song of Ice and Fire indiana jones franchise 2019 trailers sopranos Amazon Prime Nat Geo Kids & Family Star Wars Celebration adenture rt archives Adult Swim Comedy elevated horror Fox News DC streaming service crossover cats Winners Chilling Adventures of Sabrina monster movies Drama RT History 90s latino Photos Star Wars Rocketman werewolf 72 Emmy Awards The CW Masterpiece Mary Poppins Returns DC Universe stoner 2016 E3 WGN Lifetime Christmas movies Peacock BET best cartoon Chernobyl Apple green book Star Trek HBO jamie lee curtis scary movies a nightmare on elm street LGBT comedies high school Trailer Premiere Dates sitcom 1990s dreamworks Crackle all-time science fiction Mystery award winner GoT Britbox toronto SDCC natural history Instagram Live Columbia Pictures Best Picture Calendar italian politics Universal free movies ABC Apple TV Plus YouTube Premium crime drama Tumblr screen actors guild halloween Marvel Warner Bros. PlayStation comic book movie Apple TV+ saw biography worst movies scorecard Baby Yoda Elton John comic book movies TNT Mary Tyler Moore animated A24 unscripted ITV south america Classic Film Sundance Now canceled TV shows TV renewals Sundance 79th Golden Globes Awards interviews Spike Biopics foreign Best Director suspense Amazon Prime Video popular TruTV Binge Guide cancelled Ovation dc hidden camera Rom-Com ABC Family TLC YouTube Red biopic halloween tv obi wan kids blaxploitation rotten movies we love festivals SundanceTV name the review telelvision royal family Spring TV game of thrones Grammys cars rt labs Horror Nickelodeon documentary Video Games spanish First Reviews Toys batman Oscars twilight facebook YA Pet Sematary 93rd Oscars docudrama Freeform book Dark Horse Comics Countdown TIFF Emmy Nominations Fall TV The Witch Comics on TV theme song Logo Musical travel HBO Go harry potter Rocky The Arrangement Thanksgiving sag awards Disney GIFs Animation series talk show Comedy Central heist movie sports The Walking Dead Brie Larson television indie APB Hear Us Out reboot mockumentary blockbusters vs. DGA X-Men die hard Set visit Alien golden globes Country action-comedy superhero ViacomCBS transformers Writers Guild of America what to watch joker Travel Channel Hulu kong anthology Tags: Comedy Emmys Focus Features TCA Awards Cartoon Network OneApp international summer TV Film Festival 2017 IFC Films adventure screenings young adult Best and Worst CBS gangster National Geographic discovery slasher Box Office BBC One SXSW Pride Month Showtime Film PBS Opinion scary Marvel Television cooking rom-coms concert NBA lord of the rings hollywood Wes Anderson FX Disney Plus nfl Summer new york Sundance TV canceled video on demand BBC America art house Acorn TV Lifetime dceu Cannes HFPA Epix VH1 Christmas versus romance venice hispanic japanese Stephen King 2018 video zombies Winter TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards rt labs critics edition El Rey cops revenge jurassic park fresh finale comic books nbcuniversal black fast and furious slashers Awards Tour docuseries Comic Book MTV Hallmark diversity See It Skip It mob The Walt Disney Company cults TV USA Marathons Trivia cinemax asian-american mutant breaking bad TV Land Sneak Peek crime thriller Character Guide 71st Emmy Awards richard e. Grant dramedy Exclusive Video Quiz Television Critics Association book adaptation japan USA Network Discovery Channel medical drama Cosplay king arthur Holiday FXX