I recently watched Julie & Julia – I know, it’s been in my queue for months – and was pleasantly surprised to see Casey Wilson pop up in a small role. That got me to wondering what else she’d been in besides my current obsession, ABC’s Happy Endings, and “discovered” that she was a player on Saturday Night Live for a couple of seasons and she co-wrote the screenplay for the movie Bride Wars. This information makes me feel a little smug about my girl crush and prompted me to get off my butt and launch this column after it languished in the “idea file” for over a year. Look, I’m behind on balancing my checkbook and haven’t even started on the lit review due tomorrow, too, OK?
My girl crush came out of nowhere last spring when I happened to catch a couple episodes of Happy Endings, a series I hadn’t paid much attention to because it seemed like ABC was feeling lukewarm about it and I didn’t think it would last long. It only took two episodes (more like one and a half) for me to fall hard for the show as a whole and Casey’s Penny in particular. Penny Hartz is a woman who has good friends, likes her job, and is looking for love, which is easy to relate to if a little dull on paper. What makes her special is that Casey is fearless in portraying Penny’s quest to live an ah-mah-zing life. From the drunken wedding speech to finding a new gay friend because Max wasn’t flamboyant enough to not realizing her hipster boyfriend wasn’t being ironic, season 1 was episode after episode of Penny being naive and a little outrageous and a lot of fun. I loved it, but was starting to worry that her character was one-note when the season ended. Enter Season 2 and the best cold open so far this season:
Thus launched the Year of Penny. So far this season, she’s still a larger-than-life personality, but she’s had her moments of being the voice of reason, like the scene above or singing her concern for her mother (Megan Mulally), to ground the hilarity. In less talented hands, Penny would be a parody, but Casey’s deft portrayal means this is one of the few shows I watch live. And if that isn’t proof of a girl crush, I don’t know what is.
Happy Endings airs Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c on ABC.