Little innovation in new ‘Workaholics’ season
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 01:03
Nearing the end of an unusually long twenty episode season, the bros of Workaholics don’t have much to show for it. At face value, the episode list for this season seems ambitious and wild, but it is these same ridiculous situations that ultimately cripple the result of this season.
The show returned after a six-month hiatus for the second half of its third season which is now, finally, coming to a close.
“Workaholics” was created by the three main actors — Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson and Anders Holm — along with their friend Kyle Newacheck in the wake of the trio’s success on YouTube. The first season’s small budget meant that the show’s situations had to be reasonable. The show’s three primary characters emerged from the first season and comprised three “bros” who lived together, worked dead-end jobs at TelAmeriCorp — a telesales company — together and sat together on their roof drinking beer and getting high. They appeared in day-to-day situations in which comedy was derived from their ridiculous ideas. Their personalities emerged through the hilariously accurate dialogue of a group of immature guys mentally stuck in their college days.
Following the first season’s success, though, the writing seems to have gotten a lot lazier. Now that the show is in its third season, the episodes simply focus on the characters as opposed to their cleverly stupid dialogue. The characters we used to empathize with because of their base in reality are now caricatures of themselves. The formula this season seems to follow consists of placing its characters in ridiculous situations and watching what happens. This technique therefore forces the characters to navigate through the episode in a way that allows the writers to deliver their one-liner jokes for cheap laughs. This season has also seen a rise in the number of guest stars, serving little purpose other than to boost ratings.
This is not to say that the second half of this season hasn’t had its good moments. One of the most recent episodes saw a return to the low-key character setup of the earlier seasons. In this episode, Adam, Blake and Anders see a commercial for the “best breakfast burrito” in the world and decide to go on a journey to acquire said burrito with the help of Jillian a la “Harold & Kumar go to White Castle” (2004). This was a sort of bottle episode for the season, as it contained only the main characters and their confinement in a forest for the entirety of the episode. It was a good episode because it returned the show to its raunchy and ridiculous — but still restrained — roots.
Another high point of this season was an episode in which “Workaholics” tried its hand at “The Office”-style cringe humor and succeeded. In this episode, the “bros” spend days talking to a girl they met in an online chat session, all while falling in love with her. Still, most of the laughs come from a scene in which all three characters attempt to pick up women at a bar. Their horribly offensive lines and awkwardly long stares create a scene you simply can’t look away from, and all you can do is laugh as you celebrate the fact that you are not in this unbelievably uncomfortable situation. This is when the show is at its best — when the situation is believable enough that audiences can empathize with these three idiots.
Where in the first season we saw the trio mainly at home or at the office, offering some sort of social commentary about the tough task of growing up in the post-college years, we now see them in ridiculous situations where humor is cheap and contrived. It is a show crippled by its success, relying too heavily on its dedicated fans. Despite its crazier situations, it isn’t taking risks anymore. Here’s to hoping that the season finale turns things around, steering the show into a better direction before it goes into its fourth and fifth seasons.