The back half of this season has trotted out an impressive array of guest stars, and while those performances have almost always added to an episode—and at times saved some weaker ones—it’s an unnecessary expectation to one-up the previous guest when it comes to casting. With each successive episode, it seems like the strength of the comedy took a backseat to the profile of the guest stars.
But “Hungry Like The Wolf Dog” eschews that trend entirely for a significantly pared down episode that focuses on the trio and Jillian. It harkens back to the days of Mail Order Comedy, when these guys wrung laughs out of minuscule budgets and fewer locations. They got a production deal from their YouTube videos, and it’s nice to see that they can still successfully create situations with the same simplicity.
The uncluttered premise sees the trio enlisting Jillian to drive them 100 miles to obtain a delicious-looking breakfast burrito they see in a television commercial after playing Drinking And Drag-ons with their 20-sided die. They don’t check to find out if the place is open late—though, as a late-night advertisement for food, the owner should know better—and have to wait around until morning to obtain the mythical breakfast burrito.
Jillian has grown from being the punchline of endless jokes and pranks at the hands of the trio into someone with far more agency, and frankly, a more tenable lifestyle. When Adam takes the unsurprisingly sexist position that women are “insuperior” to men, Jillian steps up and tosses a pony keg so far that it dwarfs Adam’s feeble attempt. The keg lands on a car, which releases a large dog that chases them all into the woods. Of course, now they’re lost, and without Adam’s beef jerky reserve Anders threw at the dog. (“Very selfish of you Ders.”)
Bruised by Jillian’s display of strength, Adam grows more competitive than usual, trying to out-nature Ders, who was a “Beagle Scout” as a kid, and thus has zero outdoors knowledge. Their attempt to restart an old Jeep and use it as a rescue vehicle proves comically useless, and as they fail to find Blake and Jillian, they get into a lizard-eating contest. Adam is such a self-conscious moron that his attempt to beat any of his friends has to go to lizard-eating extremes to find something he can conceivably prevail at. When that desperation plays off Ders or Blake, it tends to work better than when he’s publicly humiliated and ramping up to another crazy stunt in order to prove his strength or virility.
But the most interesting plot centers on Jillian and Blake. Jillian is the Rodney Dangerfield of Workaholics. She gets absolutely no respect from anyone else on the show, but when she does stand up for herself and pushes back against the steamroller will of the boys, any episode is better for it. While stranded alone in the woods with Blake, she lets her attraction get the better of her, and shotguns a hit off the pipecone in an attempt to kiss him. Probably since Blake is too high, he doesn’t realize he’s choking Jillian, and he freaks out when she passes out. Blake shouldn’t be so wasted after a few hours of driving, but he did create a pipe from a pinecone to smoke some ditch weed, so he’s not exactly all put together.
Their conversation shifts to talking about the animal spirits inside them, which sparks arousal, that is, once Blake changes his animal from a Mastodon—picked for the size of his defecation—to a direwolf, somehow matching up better with Jillian’s lioness. Of course, Blake sophomorically sabotages himself by preemptively telling Jillian about how he’ll brag to his friends about their hookup. To her credit, Jillian refuses Blake’s insistent, direwolf-inspired advances, telling him, “I love you but you’re coming off a teensy bit rape-y.” Then the two plots converge, as a paranoid Adam and Ders swoop in, and Blake gets hit in the head for some comeuppance.
As with many late-night road trips for food, the breakfast burritos are a disappointment. The final bit about Ders getting revenge on the dog is a huge downer, as they sneak away from the blind woman who cooks the burritos. But for whatever reason, creative or budgetary, this episode successfully limited the cast to its major characters (except Karl, who, admit it, would’ve been hilarious stranded in the woods or wrestling that dog the whole time) and played them off each other for a lot of laughs.
- There will be many games of Drinking and Drag-ons thanks to that cold open.
- The semi-weekly '90s television reference spot on your Workaholics bingo card goes to GUTS this week. Mike O’Malley was never better.
- Adam DeVine plays Jeff’s “simple-minded half-brother” on an upcoming episode of Community. I’ll just leave that here without comment.
- “Good thing this isn’t a pig or a dolphin! We’d be worm food.”
- “Well, they’re not city lizards.”