Master of the Universe

Actress Eliza Coupe plays up Type A traits on ‘Happy Endings’


As Jane on ABC’s “Happy Endings,” Eliza Coupe is used to being in control. Take recent episode “The Kerkovich Way,” in which husband Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) learns that Jane’s been conditioning him for years to think he did things he didn’t do.

Two episodes ago, Jane put aside her Type A ways for a night, and the show’s core group of friends lost all sense of balance. “Everyone realized that she does control the universe,” Coupe says. Express spoke to the 28-year-old “Scrubs” alum ahead of the second-season finale of “Happy Endings,” which airs Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

Like the first-season finale, Wednesday’s episode takes place at a wedding. What’s in store?
There’s an incredible closing song and dance. Nobody really knows that I have dance moves that are out of this world.

Are you like Jane at all?
I originally thought I was going in for the part of [Jane’s sister,] Alex. I walked in as me. I wear mostly dark clothing. I have tattoos. I don’t fit the Jane mold. They told me, “We’re thinking of you as Jane” and that was totally flattering to my acting ability.

We’ve learned a lot about Jane this season. Are there are more skeletons in her closet?
For sure. Jane was a slut. She was a real loose cannon. There is a lot to be discovered with her that is really fun. Random little tidbits come in, like, Jane was a figure skater.

How has Jane and Brad’s relationship evolved since the pilot?
Both Damon and I were nervous that this was going to be the typical husband-and-wife couple fighting all the time, which is boring. But [series creator] David Caspe is such a smart and incredible person. Every single character in this show is cutting edge. We’re all pushing the boundaries of the archetypal character on a sitcom.

Happy Endings seems to have the most words-per-minute of any sitcom. Is most of that scripted, or are you given some freedom to improvise, too?
What’s great is when you have great writing, it sparks an idea in your head. Most of the stuff Damon and I do when we get sexual, that’s pretty much coming from us, but the writers set the stage for that by giving us the environment and the scene for that.

Do you know if the show will get picked up for a third season?
I have no idea. I want to stay positive. I think the network likes the show. It’s gaining viewers. Even going off our Twitter accounts, all of us have jumped up thousands of followers. In my humble opinion, it would be smart to renew it.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Rudi Greenberg | April 2, 2012