Under/Over Rated: Merry Happy Whatever

Robyn Murphy makes the case for why this christmas set series is underrated

With the festive season well and truly underway, there is an abundance of Christmas films and television series available to viewers at the click of a button. As a result of the sheer amount of options available, some great shows and films get lost in the pack. One such series is the Netflix family sitcom Merry Happy Whatever, which has been vastly underappreciated since its release last year. 

The series centres on Emmy (Bridget Mendler) and her boyfriend Matt (Brent Morin), who travel to Philadelphia to spend the holidays with Emmy’s deeply close-knit family. Headed by patriarch Don (Denis Quaid), the Quinn family value tradition, loyalty, and conservative religious values. Vastly different from the family life he has known, Matt struggles to fit in and spends much of the series, often hilariously, trying to impress the Quinns and acclimatise to their ways. 

What sets the series apart is how progressive and inclusive it is, and how it handles interesting and complex themes. Don struggles with grief over the loss of his wife, and his family’s desire to stray from her Christmas traditions. Oldest sister Patsy (Siobhan Murphy) is struggling with infertility, middle sister Kayla (Ashley Tisdale) is grappling with the end of her marriage and her sexuality, and it's all handled delicately and humorously in just eight 30 minute episodes. 

The series is an instant feel-good hit and is progressive in how it deals with contemporary issues that many families deal with over the Christmas season. While it may get lost amongst the barrage of Netflix Christmas rom-coms it is well worth seeking out. The series demonstrates that while tradition may be important, familial love, bonds, and appreciation will always triumph.