Karl is my favorite character on Workaholics because unlike Anders, Adam, and Blake, he never acts self-conscious or worries about what others think of him. Perhaps that’s because he’s kind of a rube, or always strung out on something, but he projects a self-assured innocence hat makes him infinitely endearing. That’s why he fit in with a group of suburban vandals a few weeks ago. He’s an adult drug dealer with no shame, the capability for total depravity, and the mind of a 13-year-old. Which is why a Kickstarter campaign to “buy hella Funyuns” and wanting to go check out a model train show aren’t just throwaway bits, they’re great lines that build on a fascinating oddball character.
“In Line” doesn’t focus on Karl necessarily—Blake’s desperation to secure a copy of a new samurai zombie video game at midnight connects to every plot—but Karl is a human highlight reel when he shows up. Blake and Adam’s plots have their moments, but Karl’s plot with Anders carries the episode.
Blake can’t stand in line himself, so he enlists Adam to go for him. Adam, loyal and attentive friend that he is, gets entirely lost on his way to the video game store, instead finding himself in line for clean needles with a bunch of addicts, whom he mistakes for fans of the game dressed up in costume. Starting the gross-out cringe-humor trend of the episode, Adam touches one guy’s open sore, then licks his finger The second he pulls out a giant wad of cash, showing that he’s willing to get high, we know someone will try to rob him. What’s unexpected is that he smokes PCP and hallucinates that the addicts are zombies—zombies who chase him for his money.
Adam’s misadventure is the weakest plot in the episode, though Blake’s confrontation with Montez over salmon cream cheese in the office didn’t really do anything either. When Alice gets so angry over something as trivial as a bagel that Jillian normally has prepared for her, it doesn’t come off as funny, just mean and aggressive.
When Blake finishes work, however, he gets a nice moment standing up for himself in line. After searching for Adam in vain, his friend Marshall Davis does what any good friend does: fakes a story to get the guy in line with him. But that doesn’t sit well with some beefy bro a bit further back in line, who takes umbrage at the cutting. Blake gets in a great retort—“I’m just assuming your name is Chad, because of how you’re dressed”—but the intimidation is enough to send them to the back of the line, until Blake, after suffering so much disappointment during the day, finally faces up to the guy. Adam streaks by followed by the addicts, Blake rips out the douchebag’s armpit hair, and a riot ensues, delaying the game release.
But back to Karl, who’s so endearing in his endeavors that his willingness to debase himself redeems a grotesquely lecherous plot with Anders and Jenny (a.k.a. “the girl from the bank”). Karl aims to become better friends with Anders, the one guy in the trio who seems most repulsed by him, and the most uptight. Anders tries to lay down some game on Jenny, who has nothing in common with him and seems only interested out of boredom. Karl just wants to check in on his friend and see if he scored, but winds up participating in much more involved way.
As far as gross-out scenes go on Workaholics, it doesn’t get much more disgustingly hilarious than Anders nibbling at Karl’s nipple rings and chowing down on Karl’s skid-marked underwear while blindfolded. Anders gets far out of his comfort zone, egged on by Karl’s willing attitude. He’s afraid that he’ll be left out, and completely oblivious to the fact that Jenny catches onto the camera Karl planted in the room. It’s a twisted idea: deservedly punished by a much more observant and cunning woman.
And though it’s Karl’s idea to plant the camera, he’s the one with no shame when Jenny turns the tables. When she blackmails them with potentially posting the video on Burning Camel, Anders flips out, but Karl is proudly defiant: “So what? Wouldn’t be my first video.” While the episode ends in disappointment, with no game and no hookup, they do get to beat on Adam, who doesn’t feel pain while high. And Karl gets one final laugh, offering his fingers to Anders to smell, the final gross-out joke in a repulsive-yet-consistently-funny episode.
- I’m typically pretty stingy about donating to Kickstarter, and I detest Funyuns, but I would consider donating to Karl’s campaign for sheer audacity and hilarity.
- “How have you not seen My Chemical Romance live dude?” The Black Parade is a great album, but that line was hysterical.
- Jillian sneaks out early to go see Walking With Dinosaurs, which perfectly fits her character. I wonder if she’ll see Aziz Ansari there talking to a little kid about Lost.
- I did wonder about Adam’s injuries from “The Worst Generation,” but noticed that it came after “Hungry Like The Wolf Dog” in production order. Not that Workaholics is too concerned with continuity, since he’s initially back to being just fine tonight.