“You know Lloyd, just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this. AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!”
-Harry Dunne, Dumb & Dumber
A few disappointing episodes of Workaholics in a row can be exhausting, with frustrating and repetitive jokes beating annoying characterization into the ground. But I keep watching because whenever Wokaholics bottoms out, somehow it comes back from the brink of oblivion, just like Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber, with some inspired savant-like string of increasingly farcical scenes that yield more laughs as the episode progresses. “Real Time” is the best episode of the season so far, with a pace that rolls along naturally, with more heightened comedy and ridiculous set-pieces so goofy and memorable it’ll be hard to top them. It’s a very focused and driven episode; in fact, you could borrow the show’s own beleaguered slang and say that “Real Time” is very tight butthole.
It starts on the rooftop with the guys getting drunk, as always, and complaining about Alice bitching them out at work for playing around with laser pointer key chains (to be fair, you really can’t pass out something like that and expect mature restraint). She’s going through some rough family issues with her mom and sister, but the guys have no idea. So as they get drunker, they get bolder, and start leaving insulting and angry voicemails on her work phone. Adam delves into sexual humor, Anders criticizes her managerial style, and Blake eventually devolves to the point where he just keeps yelling “I hate you!” into the phone over and over. Each of them leaves voicemails that correspond nicely to their personalities, which is a great touch.
But when the guys wake up in the morning—Blake somehow ended up passed out on the roof of the house across the street—they realize their mistake, and have to race to the office to beat Alice and erase the voicemails before they get fired. Alas, they can’t drive, because they’re all still drunk, and they can’t risk getting any more sober because then their hangovers will prevent them from getting to work before Alice. Thus, a foolishly drunken race ensues as the trio dashes to stay drunk, stay awake, and save their jobs. It’s like a totally wasted version of Wacky Racers, and that’s even before Blake and Anders team up on a kid’s bicycle and ride through a construction site, using a laser pointer to pick off the “future babes” chasing them.
On a bus, Anders and Blake try to convince a bus driver to skip all the stops between their house and their office. Adam’s drunken rollerblading leaves him on the verge of passing out, so Blake gives him a giant energy drink as medicine, and they take a bunch of PM painkillers—Adam thinks the PM stands for “power medicine.” All the while, Anders is calling Jillian at the office to try and get her to erase the voicemails, but even though the password is her birthday because she set it all up for Alice, she can’t remember, and is easily distracted by funny Internet videos from Montez.
Each scene builds and builds and doesn’t depend on the guys humiliating themselves or going for cringe-worthy humor. The run leads to the bus, which leads to the liquor store, which leads to the bike chase, which leads to the crash, which leads to the office, which ends right back at leaving more voicemails while getting drunk on the roof. It’s an obstacle course of physical comedy and quipping as the guys desperately race to the office to arrive ahead of Alice, who’s just having a miserable day—Adam convinces the liquor store cashier that she’s shoplifting, she backs into Adam as he tries to skitch on the back of her car, and then Anders crashes a bike and flings Blake onto her windshield.
There is no time for plot development or any kind of inane references to get in the way, just a bullet train going full-speed ahead for the entire runtime with no respite. That inability to slow down helps make this the funniest episode of the season thus far. “Real Time” is like an extended chase scene in a heist movie, where every seemingly insignificant action (like waiting 90 seconds for a microwave burrito) is elevated to a life and death scenario. That inventive situation humor is what this trio does best, and it’s on full display for the entirety of this episode.
- Alice is a profoundly sad woman, as her exchange with the liquor store cashier shows, but that doesn't stop her acerbic temper from being hilarious.
- Adam gets himself back to the drunk munchies portion of being wasted, asking the bus driver if they sell brats or churros on the bus.
- Anders uses a Sharper Image Breathalyzer key chain to measure the guys' impending hangovers.
- “I’ve never been so not-drunk in my entire life!”
- “Energy drinks and beer. WHERE?” “All over the store? Everywhere?”
- “My manager at Togo’s always said you’ll never amount to anything. But look at me now!”
- “I watched dishes… I didn’t wash them.”