Haplin, Minnesota, is a place filled with secrets. That appears to be the message the first episode of Happy Town wants to get across more than anything else. This quaint little place full of eccentric characters? Surprise, surprise, it's not what it seems. You don't have to look any farther than the oh-so-ironic title to get that point. Get it? "Happy" doesn't really mean happy in this case. It means just the opposite. It's a clever juxtaposition, see?
And that's about the level of subtlety you can expect from the first episode of this new ABC drama/mystery. Riding on the shoulders of every small-town murder mystery that's come before it - most obviously Twin Peaks - Happy Town contrasts the seemingly quaint, idyllic lifestyle of Haplin with the dark truth hiding just beneath the surface, a truth that I imagine will be slowly uncovered as the series goes on. The series premiere sets up a lot of those threads with a mixture of somewhat clunky exposition and odd character moments that seem to come from nowhere.
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