Netflix is stealing Thanksgiving’s thunder this week by filling you with the Christmas spirit a little early with Thursday’s debut of the new Dennis Quaid-led holiday series, “Merry Happy Whatever.” Yes, you read that right, a Christmas TV series.
While the streaming service has moved into the holiday movie genre over the last few years with its “A Christmas Prince” franchise and films like “The Knight Before Christmas” “Holiday in the Wild,” they’ve never done a scripted holiday-themed show before. (Competition series like “Nailed It! Holiday” and “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” don’t count here.)
So why did creator Tucker Cawley decide to write a Christmas series and not add to the growing list of Christmas films Netflix has to offer?
“Once you see it, you’re gonna be like, ‘Oh, how have we not covered that ground on the holidays?'” Bridgit Mendler, who plays Emmy Quinn, told TheWrap in a recent interview, which you can view in the video above. “Like, there’s so much that happens during the holiday season. So I think to be able to unpack that through a series is awesome and very bingeable.”
“Yeah, and very unique,” Ashley Tisdale, who plays Emmy’s sister Kay, added. “It hasn’t really been done. I mean, obviously in a comedy, there’s always the holiday episode. But like Bridgit said, being able to have that episode go through the whole series… Especially with the Quinn family traditions, each episode is a day leading up to New Year’s.”
“So you get to see them get their tree and the Christmas caroling episode. It’s really fun,” she continued. “It’s obviously more about the relationships and what the characters are going through and the holidays are really like the background. But I love it. It gets you so excited for the holidays.”
Set during the happy but hectic days before and after Christmas, “Merry Happy Whatever” follows Don Quinn (Quaid), “a strong-willed patriarch from Philadelphia doing his best to balance the stress of the holidays with the demands of his close-knit but eclectic family — and his family doing their best to manage him,” according to Netflix’s official description. “But when youngest daughter Emmy (Mendler) arrives home from L.A. with a new boyfriend, struggling musician Matt (Brent Morin), Don’s belief that ‘there’s the Quinn way… and the wrong way’ is put to the test.”
Quaid told us that “what’s so unique” about “Merry Happy Whatever” is the fact that, “Every series has its Christmas show, but we take, like, 10 days of Christmas that people come home and really just focus on that.”
Brent Morin (who plays Matt) added, “In a series you can explore more of the characters and get really into it and if it was a movie… you’d have to condense a lot more things that are happening.”
“I think, as we all know, the holidays are much longer than we think they are,” he joked.
Watch the full interview above to learn about the “Quinn way” from the cast.
“Merry Happy Whatever” premieres on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, on Netflix.