"Let's pretend we're happy to be together"
: We, the Bukins, never call each other names. We have neighbors for that.
Dasha: Gena, why do you never take me to a hotel?
Gena: What's the point? You just find your way back.
Sounds familiar? Well, it should.Happy Together
is a Russian remake
of Married... with Children
. What makes it particularly notable is that the remake not only covered all of the original episodes, but is currently airing with completely new episodes
, some of which are co-written by the original Married... with Children
writers, kind of a semi-official continuation of the beloved series.
As of October 2010, three American seasons worth of brand new episodes were aired, and more are to come.
The character's are:
- Gennadiy "Gena" Bukin, the bitter shoe salesman. Based on Al Bundy.
- Evdokiya "Dasha" Bukina, the red-haired bonbon-eating lazy "housekeeper" from a crazy family. Based on Peggy Bundy.
- Svetlana "Sveta" Bukina, the blonde ditz. Based on Kelly Bundy.
- Roman "Roma" Bukin, the son and the Only Sane Man. Based on Bud Bundy.
- Baron, the dog. Based both on Buck and Lucky.
- Sema Bukin, the little Deadpan Snarker. Based on Seven and, unlike the latter, does not leave after a few episodes, but his appearances are few and far between.
- Elena "Lena" Poleno (formerly Stepanova) , the unpleasant next-door neighbor. Based on Marcy D'Arcy.
- Anatoliy "Tolik" Poleno, Lena's freeloading husband. Based on Jefferson D'Arcy.
- Evgeniy "Zhenya" Stepanov, Lena's ex-husband. Based on Steve Rhoades.
For more details, read here
. Reading UsefulNotes.Russia
This series provides examples of the following:
- Adaptation Displacement: most Russian fans either don't bother watching the original show, or don't know it exists.
- All There in the Manual: it was stated outside of the show that the reason the Bukins' apartment has a top floor is because Gena managed to buy off a part of the building's attic and made the rooms upstairs himself prior to the series' beginning, but it's never explained on the show itself.
- Completely Different Title: for the show and for each episode.
- Composite Character: Baron does not die and reincarnate, thus becomes the Russian counterpart of both Buck and Lucky. Don't get me started on how Buck and Lucky are actually the same character...
- Also, Danila fills in for both Dexter (who appeared in only one episode) and Griff.
- Creator Provincialism: the Bukins and the Stepanovs/Polenos live in apartments on the top floor of a small building in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
- Cut-and-Paste Translation: where it's possible, thus preserving most of the gags intact, and adding some new ones. Lucky Translation helps a lot.
- Dacha: The Bukins win one in a lottery (next to Poleno's dacha), and the remake of "How Green Was My Apple" takes place there.
- Demoted to Extra: Sema was made this (instead of being completely Brother Chucked out of the show like Seven).
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Inverted, as unlike Bud and Kelly, Roma and Sveta have a consistent difference in age (thus, some of Bud's antics from the beginning of the show were rewritten to make Roma behave a little less childish).
- Dub Name Change
- Eagle Land: Instead of hating the French, Gena (ironically enough for a remake) hates Americans:
Gena: They feed us with their damn burgers and cola, and they think we're all bears playing balalaikas.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Sveta, obviously because of her looks, but also because the actress chose to play her character differently from Christina Applegate. While Kelly Bundy is slow, Sveta Bukina is hyperactive and childish.
- Frozen In Time: It took only three years of really intensive work to adapt the whole series. While, in-universe, eleven years passed (with Christmas episodes being where they should be), the characters said it was 2006 in the beginning of the show and 2008 towards the end.
- Idiosyncratic Wipes: Between scenes, depending on where the next scene is about to take place, either the Bukins' building or the city filmed from above is shown, with some weird purple bubbles. Once one gets used to it, it's not as bad as it sounds. Latest episodes tend to privilege normal wipes.
- In Name Only: while the episode "Garbage producers" was supposed to be the remake of the episode "T*R*A*S*H" (and had all of the original credits intact) , the episode was in fact rewritten from scratch.
- Laugh Track: sadly, no Studio Audience. While earliest episodes didn't have an annoying Laugh Track, latest episodes tend to overdo this. If only they had more than three samples...
- Out of Order: mostly averted, but obvious on two occasions:
- Dasha's fat mother's voice is heard from upstairs a few times before the episode where she moved in was aired.
- Just like in the parent show, the Series Finale (in this case, a Series Fauxnale) was aired as the penultimate episode.
- Playing Gertrude: The actors who play adults in their fourties are actually in their thirties or even late twenties. Sadly, it shows, and thus them being old borders on Informed Ability. But their good portrayal of the characters and (except for Tolik/Jefferson) their resemblance to the original cast rescue them from the What The Hell, Casting Agency?.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: the producers chose not to adapt some of the episodes because the result wouldn't be good. Some of the episodes were rewritten to fit in the new setting, the most egregious example being the remake of "The House That Peg Lost", which nevertheless managed to stay good.
- Race Lift: Griff's counterpart Danila is white, and so is Officer Dan's counterpart Officer Petrov (justified, as there are very few African people in Russia).
- Real Song Theme Tune: a Russian pop love song... sung by the actor who plays the local Jaded Washout in an annoyed voice.
- Russian Naming Convention: of course. Subverted with Dasha though. Dasha is a diminutive for Daria, not for Evdokiya, which for her is an Embarrassing First Name.
- Setting Update: Considering the technological advances made since the original show ended, this was to be expected. While in the original show, Peggy wanted to get a video cassette recorder, in the remake Dasha wants to buy a DVD recorder. In the remake of "Joke's on Al", Roma only hooks up an answering machine to the phone to give it a retro feel. The episode "Computer Show" was not remade because of this. Also, see Creator Provincialism.
The new episodes provide examples of this:
- Absentee Actor: A lot of earliest new episodes don't feature either Dasha or Sveta.
- And I Must Scream: while role-playing, Tolik handcuffs Lena to the bed... and is locked outside immediately after this.
- Billy Needs An Organ: in one episode, Gena and Roma argue as to who gives a kidney to a dying huge-breasted model from Big'Uns.
- Bottle Episode: an episode revolved around Gena trying to eat a stick of kielbasa in secret from his kids, but Tolik, Lena and Officer Petrov keep showing up. The entire episode takes place in the living room, just like "Johnny Be Gone" and "A Desperate Half-Hour".
- Call Back: a TV game where Gena, Roma and Sveta unwillingly participated required them to remember and reference some of the oldest episodes to answer the questions they were asked.
- Celebrity Paradox: Subverted. Dasha becomes extremely obsessed with a new soap opera, where the main actress looks exactly like her, though nothing really says the actress in the soap is in-universe the actress who in reality portrays Dasha, as there's No Name Given.
- Continuity Nod: In an episode, Gena gets kidnapped (actually, rescued) by aliens, who thank him for giving them his socks a few years back.
- Cursed with Awesome: Roma is revealed to have no sense of smell because of a toy stuck in his skull, just behind the nose (which explains why Bud/Roma always asked Kelly/Sveta to smell his perfume before going on a date). Once it's extracted, he develops an amazing sense of smell. But he decides to put the toy back in when he can't go out with an attractive girl who wears too much perfume.
- Disproportionate Retribution: the Bukins finally resolve to stealing in one episode. At the end, the angry neighbors take back the stolen goods and then some more, leaving the Bukins' house completely empty.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: The new owner of the shoe store seems to have become this.
- Friends Rent Control: FINALLY averted in one episode, where the Bukins risk losing their house because of unpaid debts.
- Hollywood Nerd: Sveta's new steady boyfriend.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: an American comes to stay at Bukin's place in one episode, and his Russian is not that good.
- Nightmare Fuel: An episode centers on Gena having nightmares where Lena comes on to him, complete with a rather unsettling Bloody Mary parody.
- No Export for You
- Plot Tumor: Dasha became extremely obsessed with a new soap opera. First, she started dressing and behaving like the female main character, and even developed a split personality. Then, when the character fell into a coma, Dasha suffered the same fate (thus making her disappear from the show for a third time, if you remember the two times Peggy disappeared from the original show) . This Story Arc, considered mildly annoying by most fans, lasted for a dozen episodes.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: gender flipped. Zhenya comes back in an episode, desperate to win Lena back, and his behavior borders on this.
- Left the Background Music On: A dramatic tune played first occasionally, then over and over in a "whodunit" episode is revealed to be Officer Petrov's ringtone.
- Surprisingly Improved Sequel: despite the aforementioned Plot Tumor, the new episodes were generally well-received.
- The Ophelia: Roma's one-episode girlfriend was convinced she was from outer space. Though The Tag shows her with a green skin and glowing eyes meaning that it's either a dream or The Cuckoolander Was Right.
- Time Skip: because Real Life Writes the Plot, and the series always takes place in present day, the two year hiatus between the airings of the remade episodes and the airing of the new ones was written into the show.
- Wham Episode: Halfway through the final season, Gena and Dasha learn that because of a mistake in an official record, they aren't legally married, but will be if they sign a document. While it looks like a regular sitcom situation where Gena would make Dasha do everything he wants, at the end Gena has one family-related mishap too many, flips out and walks away from his family. He never returns after this. Status Quo Is God, you say?
- Zeerust: In an episode, Gena sniffs a boot made of toxic materials and passes out for twenty years. The world he wakes up in is deliciously Troperrific.