Workaholics sure knows how to come back hard. How else could you explain a midseason premiere with autofellatio, Todd from Community, Montez mining for Waymond and Jet Set’s nose gold, a SWAT team double-cross, three Mike Myers character costumes, and B-rad’s triumphant return, including a Tony Clifton impression.
Blake, Adam, and Anders aren’t innately funny—the characters work because they believe that they’re the funniest, coolest guys around. In a telemarketing office. So when an office roast for their co-worker Bill’s 20th anniversary at TelAmeriCorp rolls around and they’re not on the list, they freak out. Montez and Jet Set get a bunch of laughter ripping on the poor sap in the break room, but the trio’s material is just sad. B-rad’s advice? Get to know the target, so the guys decide to follow Bill around away from work so that they’ll have different things to work with.
And good lord is Bill into some sad, twisted shit. At a certain point, the trio can’t stand by and watch it anymore—after Bill, while in character as a silver robot street performer, attempts to con a sandwich shop with a pre-punched sandwich card, and gets caught by David Neher (better known as Todd Jacobson from Community). Bill knows his life is incredibly sad, so the guys decide to try and help him get back at everyone with his final say at the roast. The problem is that the guys really, truly are not funny in their own right.
But it’s more than the fact that nobody finds Blake, Adam, and Ders funny—they themselves define comedy in hyper-specific, narrow absolutes, each picking a Mike Myers movie as the greatest comedy of all time. (Blake picks Wayne’s World, Anders goes with the “refined, dry, British” humor of Austin Powers, and Adam, the poor dumbass, chooses The Love Guru, thinking it’s an “indie” comedy because of Myers’ terrible Indian accent.) This fealty to terrible comedy is so unfunny that it works. It’s eyeroll inducing simply because of how horrible these actual human beings would be to encounter in the real world—and they have to exist somewhere—but it works because of how ardently committed these guys are to making their characters the most believable, oblivious losers on television.
The third act is madcap insanity, as the roast begins to devolve. First, B-rad, Montez, and Jet Set have their way, and then the trio gets up to deliver painfully unfunny quotes dressed as their respective Mike Myers characters—Adam saying Mariska Hargitay’s name more than once to a completely unresponsive audience is great. But when they don’t get laughs, they turn on their agreement with Bill, and unload the details from following him around: stealing the sandwich, street performance, and the autofellatio. That pushes Bill over the edge, and he pulls out a gun, taking everyone hostage in the basement.
Of course it’s not really a potential office shooting—it’s part of the ruse, and after Bill takes Adam away and pretends to shoot him, he controls the room. His power is such that he can take revenge on Montez, forcing him to eat boogers from Waymond and Jet Set, then also forcing Jet Set to shit his pants. It makes perfect sense that Blake would cut off Bill’s attempt to expose the ruse, trying to muck everything up by coercing Bill into threatening Anders so he’ll say Wayne’s World is the best comedy. The two of them ragging on The Love Guru makes Adam break with the whole shtick and pretend to return from the dead, at which point a SWAT team busts in. But that’s a double-cross, as Alice conspired with Bill to make sure the guys didn’t screw up Bill’s revenge, and to get back at Adam for saying women can’t be funny. It’s a monumental kicker to a quickly escalating third act.
Getting this episode over with at the start of this half-season might have been the best idea. It’s got some potential office violence, and a bunch of episodes were either delayed or pulled entirely in the wake of Newtown, but this is a few minutes of a fake office threat. Somebody will undoubtedly overreact, but there’s nothing overly controversial here. This is an appropriately overstuffed reintroduction to Workaholics, full of memorable guest appearances, a recurring favorite, and a furiously paced final act that throws everything at the wall, only to find that every gross bit of it sticks. Welcome back, Workaholics. May this episode be some kind of sign that this half-season will improve upon the uneven fall episodes.
- Anders quoting the Dr. Evil group therapy monologue was pretty damn hilarious.
- Okay, I get ragging on The Love Guru; that’s a steaming pile. But Austin Powers had a moment where it wasn’t totally dated, and the original Wayne’s World was the first good movie expanded from a Saturday Night Live bit since The Blues Brothers. MacGruber could count on the positive side as well.
- “Save a life: Eat a booger.” Holy shit that was absolutely grotesque.