An excerpt from my script review for The Happytime Murders which will be available 08/27/18:

3.) Quality of Characters

It takes a certain ensemble to fill the “detective noir” character roles.

Phil Phillips.

The initial voice-overs worked well given the drama. I even enjoyed his initial interaction with Bubbles and then Sandra, with the “gams” talk and such.

Again though, as the story progressed he became less and less interesting as a character, just a smart mouth whose only real insight was of the obvious, which the other characters in the story were too dumb to see, human and puppet alike.

Of course these murders were all related, and not random robberies gone wrong, when characters of a soon to be syndicated show start getting knocked off!

What needed to happen were more clues and fewer conclusions, where Phil’s left in the dark with us, but through his experienced intuition realizes who’s behind it when it’s almost too late.

Detective Edwards.

A real douche of a character. Not funny. Not fun.

There needs to be that “boy scout” mentality to the local force to play off the detective’s “outside the box” approach, but deep down we should really be rooting for both of these characters, even if they don’t get along, because they’re different sides to the same “good” coin.

There was nothing to root for with Edwards. In fact the only reason he seemed to be in the story was for Phil to make jokes at his expense. That shit got old.


The girl we love but can’t seem to trust.

This worked because she was a human mixed up with a puppet. (Something frowned upon in this particular version of LA.)

She had money troubles, which seems to cloud her judgment and motivations in the story.

But most importantly, we find out she cheated on Phil with his brother Larry, and not just once, breaking Phil’s heart.

When she says she’s changed we want to believe her for Phil’s sake, but can we? The mental conflict we’re having on his behalf is good.


What private eye doesn’t have a pretty “girl next door” receptionist that romance is constantly hinted at?

Her character I liked, because it reminded me of those Sam Spade radio dramas I mentioned earlier, where Sam was always ending the episodes by having drinks or taking Effie out to dinner.

It’s cute, in an almost scandalous 1950s sort of way. (Although here they scandalously “hinted” via today’s standards.)

Similar to The Hero’s Journey we need certain archetypes to make a story work in certain genres.

It’s fine to reinvent aspects of these genres, just don’t do it to the entire genre itself!

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