Merry Happy Whatever dissects an uncomfortable topic most young people will be familiar with: the difficulties of introducing a long-term partner to the family.
The series chronicles the struggles of twenty-something Emmy (Bridgit Mendler) and her musician boyfriend, Matt (Brent Morin) who fail to meet the impossible expectations of her grumpy father, Don (Dennis Quaid).
Will the family find peace and happiness? Or is the duo's future completely doomed?
Merry Happy Whatever is a Christmas sitcom with a dark twist.
The eight-episode-long Netflix series zooms in on Matt's quest to gain recognition by the members of the family, and most importantly, the father, Don – only to transform his shattering failures into the butt of the joke.
Having arrived at the Philadelphia airport full of hope, the musician is to realize that working his way into the tightly-knit circles of the Quinn family is not an easy task.
Fortunately, Matt is not alone in the hefty undertaking. As he learns, other Quinn partners know exactly well what it feels like to be in his shoes.
"The Quinns are a G-rated cult. We have a support group [...] for the people who married into this family," Joy (Elizabeth Ho) informs the budding musician in a crucial scene of the series.
However, the outside help proves insufficient, and his relationship with Emmy reaches a critical state before the turkey would land on the Christmas table.
Merry Happy Whatever marks Bridgit Mendler's first role in a Christmas series.
The actress never appeared in a Christmas movie or series before, and playing Emmy came with unexpected challenges.
Although the actress did have experience with family-friendly films before appearing in the new Netflix series, Emmy's role allowed her to confront some creative challenges.
As the youngest daughter of the Quinn family, Bridgit portrays a character who has to leverage between her boyfriend's and her father's expectations, minimizing the conflicts that emerge during the festive period.
In the past, Bridgit appeared in hit movies like the 2018 Father of the Year and the 2011 Lemonade Mouth.
As Father of the Year's Meredith, Bridgit had the chance to explore what's it like to be on the other side, portraying the ambitious girlfriend eager to meet up with the father of her boyfriend for the very first time.
However, the titular character of the movie is nothing like Merry Happy Whatever's Don: played by David Spade, Wayne is a true failure, the kind of man who would rather cut down on showering time by taking a dip in a dirt-covered kiddy pool.
Merry Happy Whatever offers a new take on traditional Christmas movies.
Instead of a Christmas movie, showrunner Tucker Cawley wanted to explore how a Christmas-themed narrative can be told in the course of eight episodes.
"The holidays are a marathon, there's a ton of things that happen in that time frame. You kind of have the ability to dig into if you're doing it over a series of episodes," Bridgit explained in an interview with Entertainment Studios.