Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Jane From Happy Endings Looks So Familiar

The world of American sitcoms is a crowded place, populated by hundreds of perfectly symmetrical blonde women, zany best friends, and sad-eyed white guys with sticky-up hair whose incessant romanticism inches them closer and closer towards becoming full-blown sociopaths. Watch enough of them, and things will start to blur together. "Scrubs: Med School" will suddenly become indiscernible from "AfterMASH," and an innumerable legion of beautiful actors' faces will blend together in your head, forming an undulating mental smoothie of good looks and pretty decent line delivery.

All of which is to say that there's no shame in it if you have trouble placing Jane from "Happy Endings," the gone-too-soon sitcom that aired from April 2011 to May 2013. The part was played by television superstar Eliza Coupe, whose talent, clout, and alphabetically dominant last name earned her top billing on the series. If her face seems passingly familiar, it's only because she's been in, gosh, just about everything. Following her breakout work performing in a one-woman sketch show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in the mid-2000s, Coupe rightfully became the potential Next Big Thing in show business.

Coupe started small with The Day The World Saved Shane Sawyer

The rise of Eliza Coupe's career was borderline meteoric. In less than three years, she went from a complete unknown to a TV star on one of the biggest network dramedies of the last two decades, with only a handful of guest roles along the way.

But first, there was a pit stop in the world of independent filmmaking. Coupe's very first credited onscreen performance was in a short film from 2006 titled "The Day The World Saved Shane Sawyer," playing a character named Alison and appearing alongside fellow credited thespians like Isaac Schinazi and "Skats the Clown."

Decidedly bonkers and achingly Lynchian, this six-minute black and white silent film tells the story of a man resigned to throwing himself off of a water tower after his significant other (Coupe) is unfaithful to him. His plans are interrupted by a clown, a bevy of cheerful well-wishers, and a guy doing a tango with an inflatable doll. 15 years after its release, it has just under 2,000 views on YouTube, so unless you personally worked on the project, the odds that this is where you recognize Coupe from are unbelievably slim.

Scrubs pushed Coupe into the spotlight

"Scrubs" made the transition from NBC to ABC for its eighth season, and change was in the air. A tonal shift brought the show back to its roots. A marked decrease in the use of that sad "ba da ba-da BA Da da daaaa" musical sting occurred, and over-the-top dream sequences made way for more personal stories. J.D. grew a beard. It was nuts.

Additionally, the show brought in some new blood in a move that had audiences saying, "We're not going to do a spin-off, are we?" We did, sort of — the introduction of fresh faces like Eliza Coupe's Denise Mahoney heralded the soft reboot of Season 9, focusing in on a batch of aspiring doctors that included performances from Kerry Bishé of "Halt and Catch Fire," Michael Mosley of "Pan Am," and Dave Franco of "Being James Franco's Brother."

Coupe's portrayal of an abrasive young physician with a chip permanently riveted to her shoulder stands out as a highlight of the final season of "Scrubs." Still, don't feel too bad if you haven't gone back and revisited her episodes — according to a 2020 interview with Uproxx, she hasn't, either.

Coupe got intense in Future Man

Produced by Seth Rogen and his longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg and created by Howard Overman of "Misfits," the Hulu original series "Future Man" has weirdness to spare. It tells the story of a janitor (Josh Hutcherson, "The Hunger Games") who, after finally beating his favorite video game, finds himself in a "Last Starfighter"-adjacent pickle. Two characters from the game burst into reality, brimming with post-apocalyptic intensity, to recruit the otherwise unspectacular young man in a war that will take them across centuries and dimensions.

Eliza Coupe plays Tiger, one of the game's protagonists-turned-real, and serves as the series' most consistent adult. Endlessly trapped between managing her hyper-violent associate Wolf (Derek Wilson, "Preacher") and keeping her newly found man-child ward alive, she very reasonably displays some anger issues. Coupe even gets to serve double duty when an alternate-reality version of her character pops up later in the story.

"Future Man" ran for three seasons on Hulu and earned a Saturn Award nomination before concluding in 2020.