LOGLINE

On Chicago's west side, a group of underachieving roommates attempt to course correct their uncertain futures under the watchful eye of their unstable new landlord. 

GENRE & TONE

SPACED (1999) meets IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (2005) 

FORMAT

22 Minute Comedy Pilot - Cable

PITCH VIDEO

SERIES SYNOPSIS

Happy Side Up is the story of Rick, Darrell and Selina, friends still rooming together thanks to crippling college debt. Recently unemployed Rick is secretly attempting to start over behind the façade that everything will work out while his unlucky-in-love pal, Darrell, desperately holds on to his go nowhere job for fear it is all he will ever amount to.

Their creatively minded roomie, Selina, fills her life with unnecessary risk to make up for the fact that she may never be able to apply her talent to anything worthwhile. With adulthood thrust upon them and the appearance of a new enigmatic landlord, a wrench will be thrown in their day-to-day, forcing the group to adjust.


MEET THE CREATORS

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BRIAN ERNST

WRITER - PRODUCER -DIRECTOR

A former Video Producer for the Chicago Tribune and now a full time videographer for a boutique production company, Brian is looking forward to realizing an idea that has spent quite some time in the making. 

MITCH BRINKMAN

WRITER - PRODUCER -ACTOR

Mitch embodies the character of Rick, and after what happens to that poor guy this season, he'll need an actor that can do him justice. Following up our previous series, Dirty Laundry will be a treat as we've grown quite a bit since. 


Characters

 

THE SIGNIFICANTS

KATIE - Early 30s, Rick’s overworked, underappreciated twin sister. She takes on more than she should, classic people pleaser. No coffee, just Moscato after 9PM, in bed.

LYDIA - Mid 20s, Rick’s girlfriend who brings out the worst in everyone. College grad who has never escaped her all-knowing sophomoric years. Coffee: iced with a half soy/half skim mixture.

CHIANTI - Early 60s, The Roommates' land lord. *PAST UNKNOWN* Seems to have a “guy” for everything, and finds a way to convince others to solve his problems. Five Hour Energy.

The Roommates

RICK - Early 30s, unemployed self-proclaimed entrepreneur. Gets by on luck that somehow never runs out. Takes his coffee with a dash of cream. 

DARRELL - Late 20s, low level accountant with a severe lack of a love-life. Looks at life through a distorted lens. Coffee: extra cream and extra sugar. 

SELINA - Late 20s, a talented artist who wastes her potential by spending her day-to-day as a barista. Her bitterness towards her own failure ensures she takes her coffee black.

 

 


OUTLINE: EPISODE 1 - PILOT A NEW LORD OF THE LAND

READ THE COLD OPEN

We open on RICKDARRELL and SELINA, three adults in their late twenties that have managed to lock themselves out of their Chicago apartment. After receiving no response from their landlady, Edna, Rick takes matters into his own hands and sneaks in through her window to retrieve their spare. Opening the front door Rick reports that her cats are treating themselves to a fancy feast that is her dead body.  

In preparation of Rick and his sister KATIE'S 30th birthday party, we see Darrell auditioning outfits alone in his room. We see each clothing choice play out in flash forwards to the party until he lands on the perfect getup that he believes will impress Katie, whom he is clearly in love with. Katie and Rick’s girlfriend, LYDIA, insist he spend the day with each of them. There is bad blood between these two as Katie seems to be aware of Lydia's infidelity behind her brother's back. Selina on the other hand enlists Darrell to help her retrieve the twin's birthday present that was hiding in Edna's apartment and possibly spy on the new landlord who is moving in today.

Rick distances himself from the ladies in his life as they enter a bakery to pick up the birthday cake for the night’s festivities. Distracted by voicemail informing him that he was rejected from yet another job, Rick gets clipped by a rude passerby that sends Rick into a soap box speech on proper sidewalk usage. Instead of breaking through this guy’s exterior, Rick leaves with a busted nose.

Selina and Darrell are caught sneaking into the first floor apartment by CHIANTI, the new landlord. Instead of throwing them out he introduces himself as the two suspicious roommates question him on his strange name. Chianti gives them a backstory that, like Batman’s Joker, he changes throughout the episode. Picking up on Darrell’s anxiety, Chianti offers Darrell and Selina his top shelf tea, infused with marijuana. Selina and Darrell arrive at the party with Chianti stoned out of their mind. Selina has a mellow reaction making her more pleasant than usual while Darrell’s side effects include increased paranoia.

While entertaining her coworkers, Katie reveals that she’s dating the new guy at the office that should be arriving any moment. Darrell has overheard everything and fleas, crushed. With the party in full swing, Rick reveals to Katie that he’s breaking up with Lydia tonight…in front of witnesses. When he works up the courage to do so, Lydia simply replies, “No,” continuing on with her night.

In a tender moment, Katie finds Darrell sobbing in her bathroom. The brief mutual compassion between them is ruined when Darrell passes out in the tub. Selina has commanded the attention of the room to present her gift to Rick and Katie, an edit of their home videos she had digitized for them. The POV VHS footage plays as young versions of Rick and Katie run around. One particular scene where the parents believe the tape is not rolling reveals the fact that Rick and Katie do not share a birthday. Rick happened to be born before midnight revealing his birthday has been missed every year of his life.

If that was not enough, Katie’s boyfriend, Steve, arrives who happens to be the sidewalk man that socked Rick earlier. Darrell upset that he has lost Katie makes a run at Steve only to accidentally hit Rick in his already wounded face.

We close on the guests leaving the dysfunctional party realizing that many of their belongings are missing. Chianti strolls to his apartment with a mountain of wallets in his arms. 


SEASON ONE WORKING SYNOPSIS

EPISODE 2 - SELINA SLEEPS WITH LYDIA'S STALKER

Lydia begs Rick to come to her rescue when a stalker in her life starts becoming increasingly more aggressive. Although stalking is creepy and highly inappropriate, it is determined that the stalker is constantly aware of Lydia’s whereabouts because of her over-active social media accounts that are serving as a real-time public record. She refuses to change her ways and give in to the stalker claiming she doesn't negotiate with “domestic terrorists.” Selina on the other hand seems to be smitten by the creep. 

Episode 3 – Darrell Gets Arrested

Darrell sees a woman crossing the street as a taxi cab whips around the corner. He springs into action shoving her out of the way and into the ground not realizing the cab has stopped. Attempting to be a hero has gotten him arrested for assault. Much like the woman did after being shoved, Rick falls head over heels for her and their side relationship becomes a tug of war that can affect Darrell’s fate. 

Episode 4 – Selina Gets Banished

Selina tags along with Darrell to a company birthday party for one of his coworkers at an arcade. Although graciously invited to join the group for free, Selina makes it a point to have a word with the birthday girl when she realizes they are out of tokens. Creating an obnoxious scene, Selina gets banished from the group, but calls in the only person who can save the night: Chianti. 

Episode 5 – Rick Fakes an Orgasm

We open on Rick lying emotionless as Lydia rides him. She is putting on a show to prove to herself that she’s good at this. Out of severe boredom Rick fakes an orgasm to make it stop. He steps out of bed to receive an award for being the first man to ever successfully convince his girlfriend that he finished fictitiously. That fantasy quickly shatters when she pulls him back to reality to deal with the fallout of his actions. 

Episode 6 – Darrell Has a Date With Destiny

Destiny, the only black woman in Darrell’s department begins flirting heavily with him. After a group outing has Rick and Selina drop out, Darrell and Destiny fall into a double date with Katie and Steve. Darrell tries his best to act interested in Destiny, but she reveals that she’s actually just using Darrell to prove to Black Darryl (Their fellow co-worker) that she’s not racist. She then decides to help Darrell by making him look good in front of Katie which only makes Katie jealous.

Episode 7 – Rick and Darrell Fudge the Books

After getting Rick a job at Darrell’s beverage company, Darrell must confess that he’s carved out a niche for himself at the office that requires him to put in 4 hours of actual work per year. He’s managed to convince everyone in his department that the revenue spreadsheet is complicated to adjust. Rick later persuades himself that Darrell has something to do with why he was fired from his last job and messes with a report generated from Darrell’s spreadsheet to get him fired. Rick later realizes he was mistaken and they must correct the error before they’re both let go and convicted of misleading the investors on the week the company is going public.

Episode 8 – Chianti: A Modern Mystery

When Chianti returns from a mysterious vacation, the group finally corners him to start spilling the beans on his mysterious adventures. We spiral down an epic retelling that’s brought Chianti around the world. He evades pirates. He becomes a pirate. He sails…in the 21st century! Chianti recounts and relives his trip for the ages only to leak that he never actually left Chicago.

Episode 9 – The Custody Battle of Ms. Puss Puss

When Katie and Steve breakup, a battle over their cat, Ms. Puss Puss, ensues. Although they didn’t live together, Steve argues that the amount of food and kitty litter he’s purchased over the last few months makes him part, if not full owner. Chianti appoints himself judge as Rick (after a trivial fight with Katie) aides Steve in the prosecution and Darrell and Selina help Katie, the defendant, in a mock trial over the cat’s custody.  

Episode 10 – Selina Almost Dies

While on duty at the coffee shop, Selina’s inept coworker almost burns her face when being retrained to use the espresso machine. Her boss refuses to discipline anyone in the incident since there wasn’t actually any injury that occurred. Chianti tells her not to worry, because he’s “got a guy” that can take care of the entire situation. Selina begins to get worried when her boss disappears and enlists the help of Rick to track her down.

Episode 11 – Rick and Darrell Have a Kid

When Rick and Darrell witness a father mistreating his child in public, they intervene. Their heroism backfires when the father retorts, “You want him? Take him!” Left with a child they don’t know how to take care of, they enlist the help of Katie and Selina, both of whom show no maternal instincts whatsoever. It turns out Darrell is a natural with kids and so is…Lydia?

Episode 12 – Chianti Evicts Katie

Josh, Katie’s roommate who is always traveling for work, has been relocated permanently to Atlanta, leaving her unable to pay her rent. Considering all they’ve been through together so far, Katie asks for some forgiveness from Chianti who responds with an eviction notice promising it’s not personal, it’s just business. Katie moves back home with she and Rick’s parents in the suburbs while they attempt to pair her with their neighbors’ kid who’s experiencing the same financial troubles as herself.

Episode 13 – Katie and Darrell Attend a Wedding

Forgetting that her friend’s destination wedding is approaching and that she’s now single, Katie reluctantly invites Darrell. Things get off to an awkward start when trying to figure out their sleeping arrangements in the single bed hotel room, but the mood of the weekend quickly changes when it turns out Darrell is the life of the party. For once he’s hit a hot streak and everyone can’t stop talking about “Katie’s Date”. As time goes on she becomes known as “Darrell’s Date.” Sticking to her guns she shuts Darrell down, but realizes she may have pushed him away for good when one of the bridesmaids starts stealing him away. 


SETTING: SWEET HOME CHICAGO