Set your DVR, because Happyish is the one new show that you don’t want to miss. The buzzy new Showtime series premieres this Sunday, April 26, and its biting humor and animated (yes, animated) special effects are sure to get people talking. Each half-hour installment of the dark comedy takes you on an emotional—albeit hilarious—roller-coaster, following the daily life of middle-aged advertising exec Thom Payne (Steve Coogan). Last night, InStyle attended the show’s New York City premiere and after-party, and we got the scoop straight from the cast about why you’ll be hooked on Happyish.
“It’s fearless in a very exciting way,” said Kathryn Hahn, who plays Coogan’s on-screen wife. The actress can totally relate to the characters' constant struggle to keep a positive outlook, too. “When you’re a kid, there’s always something brighter around the corner, but then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Okay, maybe this is it.’” But Hahn is giving us plenty to look forward to—especially later this season. “As the series goes on, it just gets richer and richer,” she said.
One thing you can count on: the show will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. “It’s truly, completely unique,” said Kevin Kilner, who plays one of Coogan's fellow ad execs. “When the show goes into the lead character’s imagination, it goes into animation. So every time you think you know where it’s going, an animated character will pop up and you’re just like, ‘What?’”
While the show’s trippy cartoons—which take aim at characters from brands' major ad campaigns, such as the Keebler elves and Geico's gecko—are certainly unexpected, Coogan has faith that people will enjoy the glimpses inside his character’s creative mind. “I think the people who get it will absolutely love it,” he said. “It’s one of those shows that doesn’t try to please all people, all the time—it wants the audience to think about things, as well as laugh.”
Even so, the funniest moments may not always be the easiest to take in, according to Bradley Whitford, who plays Coogan’s co-worker on the show. “It throws out some really uncomfortable truths,” he said. Co-star Carrie Preston agrees—and she admits that the show is definitely pushing some major boundaries as it pokes fun at the world of corporate advertising. “I jokingly say that I can’t wait to see which of these brands sues Showtime first,” said Preston. “We’re definitely taking some liberties with the actual brands that we’re showing, and there’s some skewering that goes on. But it’s all in a good-natured way—and it was all cleared by legal!”
Watch the trailer for Happyish below, and tune into Showtime on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. ET for the series premiere.