One of the best comedic elements of Workaholics is that it’s hard to pin down whether any of the trio’s egregiously moronic actions comes out of arrogance or just plain obliviousness. For three guys who “work” at computers all day and have a very particular brand of pop culture knowledge, you’d think someone would have the idea of looking up how to make beef jerky on Google or something. Do they neglect to do this because they’re merely imbeciles, or because they’re so certain they know how to go from slaughtered cow to finished product in less than a weekend that any kind of outside information is unnecessary?
Adam is pretty clearly just faking arrogance to mask crippling insecurity. Blake is by far the most childlike and goofy of a very sophomoric group, which puts him in the interesting position of neither being completely stupid or arrogant. He’s just a goofball, an unknowing court jester who gets caught up in the schemes of his friends. Last week, he tried skateboarding, and this week he helps trash a house, mostly just to go along with whichever of his two friends is his greatest ally.
Blake and Adam bring home an entire cow carcass thanks in some part to Karl, intent on starting their own jerky brand, complete with a calendar full of sexy models. They’ve even got a great name for their company, which is the episode title. But “The Meat Jerking Beef Boys” isn’t the only phallic-obsessed part of the episode, the trio also discuss “dad dicks”’ on their roof while still wearing cow blood-stained shirts, and lament how great they were in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Riveting stuff, that discussion.
So Adam and Blake are making jerky, but that’s a problem since Anders’ dad is coming to visit, and Ders has been lying about his career success for years, including a detail about owning his own house. Oh, and he’s also never mentioned the existence of Adam or Blake, which greatly offends them. Ders can’t be seen with his best friends, but it just so happens that the house across the street is for sale and the realtor is out of town for a few days until the next open house, so the guys break in and Anders sets up the ruse.
Anders’ father is none other than William Atherton, fresh off his turn in Jersey Shore Shark Attack, but I’m fairly certain the Workaholics guys wanted to cast him thanks to his role in Bio-Dome. He’s an emotionally distant and domineering man named Thor, who’s only impressed by Anders’ faux financial success. He likes the house, more so when he assumes Anders is just flipping it for profit, and goads Anders into buying a brand-new “black vagina finder” of a car (a Volvo of course). All the buildup has funny moments, but it’s all waiting for the big reveal, and when Anders finally comes clean to his dad, and is then validated by his father’s own financial revelation, there isn’t much humor in the moment, aside from the appallingly juvenile gay joke.
Look, despite all the idiocy, some of this stuff manages to land. The humor on Workaholics is like the blood splatter after Blake first takes a chainsaw to the whole cow: it goes absolutely everywhere. The risk involved in that kind of fearless douchery is that what comes off as base stupidity can be dismissed with an eye roll. But then there are redeeming little touches like Anders’ line to Adam about using his towels, or the first time Thor picks up the meat tenderizer setting up the inevitable hammer reference, or the guys tasting the absolutely vile jerky that tastes like “bacon…if bacon was marinated in rain.” The Brazzers password, Judas Priest, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation stuff is kind of lame—and unfortunately timed since the G.I. Joe sequel got delayed so there could be more Channing Tatum.
Workaholics throws so many jokes at the audience, through sight gags, physical comedy, improvised lines, and situational humor, that it’s aiming to make many different people laugh at just a few things in each episode depending on their sensibilities. It might not always be wall-to-wall laughter, but at least it’s outrageously ambitious on occasion.
- I guess it’s possible that this episode takes place in 2013 at a time when G.I. Joe: Retaliation has already been released. Even so, that’s a funny unintentional way to interpret those parts of the episode.
- Adam doesn’t know which window to break on a door in order to open it from the inside.
- “Did Thor kick you out of the Avengers? Sorry, we’re the X-Men, you must be looking for ex-friends.”