Forty episodes feels like an improbably long run for Workaholics, but that’s where it was when it finished its 20-episode third season—double the length of previous seasons—last March, with the promise of a fourth and fifth on the horizon. Anders Holm, Adam DeVine, and Blake Anderson (and co-creator, director, and series regular Kyle Newacheck) have turned a cheap, frequently sophomoric show into a sleeper hit.
But longevity may not suit Workaholics, because of the nature of the show: It’s about three post-collegiate dudes enjoying the low-stakes world of early-adult life. Their college lifestyle hasn’t changed much since joining the real world and taking an easy job at a telemarketing company: The house they share resembles the typical shithole rentals lurking around campuses nationwide. It looks like it was decorated by adolescent boys. They have no girlfriends, no real responsibilities, and plenty of time to sit around and get high.
A trio of goofballs dicking around is funny when they’re in their early and mid-20s. Get too close to 30, and it starts looking like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed And Confused, or Joe Lo Truglio in Superbad, or this guy. How long until their lives look kind of sad and dead-ended? There’s also the real possibility of running out of high jinks. Last year’s dystopian-future season finale could be an ambitious experiment or a tell-tale sign that the show’s starting to run low on ideas.
Then again, that’s probably thinking too much about a show whose fourth season begins with an orgasm-assisted water birth in a gym’s hot tub—“It’s when she busts a nut when the baby flop out,” as it’s helpfully explained—and also has a scene with topless middle-aged women rolling on molly. Overthinking it is the surefire way to weaken Workaholics’ giggly charms; it’s best to sit back and take in the lunacy of something like DeVine grinding on a pregnant woman’s stomach.
Workaholics has escalated the lunacy every year, and the first two episodes of the fourth season continue apace. DeVine gets amniotic fluid splashed in his face. The second episode has an almost painfully long vomit scene, not to mention a bunch of pixilated dick pics. While the show occasionally slips into outrageousness for outrageousness’ sake—like, “Look at how crazy this is!”—it always usually lands plenty of jokes every episode, and at least a few laugh-out-loud moments. DeVine’s secretly sensitive boor scores some of the first two episodes’ biggest laughs, and supporting turns by Erik Griffin and Alex “Lois Griffin” Borstein (episode one) and Maribeth Monroe (episode two) provide extra depth.
Those supporting players, particularly Monroe’s take-no-shit Alice, are fundamental to the show’s success. Holm, DeVine, and Anderson consider themselves the ultimate cool guys, but the show undercuts them at every turn. While Monroe plays straight-man most of the time, her cutting dismissals of the guys are played for laughs at their expense, not hers. They treat Griffin’s Montez like a doofus, but at the end of season four premiere, they are boys and he’s a man.
For as simple as Workaholics is, it has a lot going for it: the Marx Brothers chemistry of Holm, DeVine, and Anderson; a setting that allows it to be a workplace show one episode, friendship sitcom the next, and something far weirder after that; a knack for quotable dialogue; strong supporting players (including Jillian Bell, coming off her stint on Eastbound & Down); and a situation—post-college, pre-real adulthood—that rings true with its audience, even if viewers aren’t, say, trying to hire a gigolo for their boss.
With twice as many episodes than before, season three was understandably more hit or miss than seasons one and two. With 13 episodes in season four, the hit-to-miss ratio should improve—and when Workaholics hits, it’s one of the funniest shows on TV.
Created by: Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck, Connor Pritchard, Dominic Russo
Starring: Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm
Debuts: Wednesday, January 22, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern
Two season-four episodes watched for review