Workaholics: “Alice Quits”
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Workaholics: “Alice Quits”

Rest in peace, Jesse “Jet Set” Hudson. The creative forces behind Workaholics displayed a surprising amount of genuine emotion when the bit player suffered a heart attack just over a month ago—and with good reason. Hudson had been a constant quip machine in the TelAmeriCorp office, and tonight was no exception. Though other scenes may have been raunchier, nothing had more swagger and bravado than Hudson’s kiss-off to replacement boss Daniel Stern, who insisted on calling him Jesse: “My name is Jet motherfucking Set! But you can call me Patrick Swayze, because I’m Ghost.”

Wait, Daniel Stern? Like, the Daniel Stern, Marv, one half of the Wet/Sticky Bandits from Home Alone? Indeed, the guy from City Slickers, Bushwhacked, and a lot of voiceover work (and my personal favorite, the narrator on The Wonder Years, a great precursor to something like Bob Saget doing future Ted’s voice on How I Met Your Mother) turns in yet another memorable guest performance in a season full of them.

The lead up to Stern’s regime initially plays out like a great victory for Anders, Adam, and Blake. After their airsoft gun drive-by on Waymond ends up hitting Montez in the eye twice, Alice commits an unforgiveable mean boss act—confiscating the airsoft guns the trio “brought to the office fair and square.” But Alice can’t just skate by with the airsoft guns. She needs sparkling evaluation numbers to ensure a bonus and lengthy vacation, so she returns them and grants the trio the day to use the office as their own personal battlefield. When Alice’s boss Travis (Stern, just old enough that it takes a while to recognize him) shows up unannounced, she quits in a huff after he revokes her bonus and vacation time.

Travis is a bit more of a traditional hardass than Alice. She could yell with the best, but Travis demands actual productivity, and to that end, he has all the cubicle walls taken down and rearranges the desks. He’s like a mean new teacher who comes in halfway through the year and redoes every bit of the natural order. Well, maybe a teacher is a bad comparison, since he calls the guys into his office and whips his dick out, proving to them that he’s a real man. He prevents the trio from taking their post-sale smoke break, and forces Jet Set to take all the product out of his hair, which proves to be Jet Set’s last straw. Even pranking the guy with Jillian’s birds (previously used by Alice to impress a client) doesn’t do any good, as Travis flips out, breaks his office window, and uses an airsoft gun to hunt down Fiona Apple, Marty McFly (a GREAT bird name), Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon, before cruelly twisting the neck of one final parrot.

That proves to be a bridge too far for Jillian, who forgoes her boss kiss-ass role to join forces with Anders, Adam, and Blake, who to that point have failed miserably at forcing Travis to do something worthy of firing, or even obtain a recording to be manipulated into something incriminating. Using surveillance footage of the bird hunt to ruin the company’s relationship with a client is a bold move; the trio walking in and pulling out their dicks to distract Travis while he’s on videochat is the trademark raunchy twist one would expect from Workaholics.

Gun violence, even with airsoft guns that can kill birds, plays a bit differently when closer to tragic events.  Stylistic violence, like the prop gun ending to a great American Dad episode earlier this week, doesn’t bring up that feeling, but there are a few moments rendered slightly uncomfortable given the current cultural debate. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of funny material here, some of the humor involving guns works to great effect. The episode is meant neither to portray the trio as gun advocates nor to be insensitive. It just has a strange resonance airing now, especially Alice’s exasperated final line once she’s back to running things in the office. This is a very funny episode that features some memorable one-liners from a departed supporting player and another pitch-perfect guest star. Perhaps that nagging discomfort over the guns will fade with time.

Stray observations:

  • “And a boss, who takes away my work guns is very bad. Like a man who touches kids…near their buttholes.”
  • “My favorite meal is butt salad, with extra butt.”
  • Anders doesn’t even need to alter his blackmail against Adam, since he’s got a drunk dial of Adam confessing to tricking a homeless drug dealer into wandering into the street, where he got hit by a cement truck. Now that’s messed up.
  • Alice’s second videochat meeting using the birds is some great teamwork, but that’s a sad way for those birds to go out. 
Filed Under: TV, Workaholics

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