This is LSD’s year on basic cable. Just weeks ago, AMC viewers watched Mad Men’s Roger Sterling trip at a dinner party, and now over on Comedy Central, Larry, Moe, and Curly of Workaholics take their own, far less enlightening, journey with lysergic acid diethylamide. Roger realized his marriage was a sham. Blake thought a dude’s hard cock was some kind of lizard monster.
As we enter the third season of Workaholics, would we expect anything less?
Going into the third season, the Workaholics crew—creators/stars Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and director/co-creator Kyle Newacheck—have proven to be Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s basic-cable nephews, gleefully profane and eager to humiliate themselves in the service of a joke. It’s almost never tasteful, but it is, more importantly, funny. It’s the kind of TV show where one character wondering if God’s a woman immediately leads to a discussion of Her breast size. “Big ol’ titties! Big ol’ God titties—but ones that you must respect.”
Workaholics can get a bad rap for its “bro humor,” but that line from DeVine nicely shows how Workaholics has it both ways: It gets a laugh from the idea of God having “big ol’ God titties,” but it also gets a laugh out of DeVine’s stupidity. To put it in a snobby way, it makes both smart and dumb people laugh. (But anyone who says that you can’t be smart and laugh at something like a dick joke is not to be trusted.)
On a network that’s known for cutting its losses quickly, Workaholics may owe its status as an unlikely hit to appealing both sensibilities, much like its FX cousin It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Where the miscreants who work at Paddy’s are frequently malicious, the guys of Workaholics are just trying to have a good time.
This week, that entails doing acid together. The episode opens with Ders and Adam “acid-proofing” the house (and, judging by all the black lights and posters, also decorating it). Their plans go awry, however, when careerist Ders gets a call from Alice to join her at a business convention (the Social Telemarketers Conference) to try to land a client they lost years ago. “This is my first business trip!” Ders says. “I’m like Steve Martin in that John Candy movie.” “I thought you wanted to be more like Steve Jobs and do a lot of acid with us,” Adam says.
Blake and Adam (along with Karl) don’t give up, though, and instead ambush Ders in his hotel room to force him to take acid. From here, it seems very easy for Workaholics to go down the well-trod thematic path of dosing someone either against his will or without his knowing it.
Sure, Workaholics could mine laughs from Ders working the convention while tripping balls, but it nicely sidesteps formula—and again, this reminded me of something It’s Always Sunny would do—by flipping it. Turns out the big fish Alice wants to land is a partier who’s totally down to trip.
Any TV series or film that does an LSD or mushrooms scene is pretty much required by law to show some cur-azeee hallucinations, though Workaholics wasn’t too obnoxious about it. (Granted, a more realistic scene of the dudes staring at their hands for an hour wouldn’t make for good television.) The drug freakouts were actually a step forward for the show: Workaholics isn’t an expensive series to produce, and it’s always looked that way. So the scenes with the lizard monster (or was it a dragon?) and Alice dipping her hands into a vat of Jello she thought was the hotel’s front desk were a nice step up. That shot required more production value than we’ve seen the past two seasons—I think the series worked fine the way it was, but it’s nice to see a little ambition.
It should surprise no one that Alice comes unhinged while tripping—Maribeth Monroe is in fine form—or that the night takes everyone to some dark places: Alice threatening to melt her face with an iron, a man catching on fire, Kyle and the big client engaging in some butt play in the bathroom. (I imagine the Workaholics writers’ room having “BUTT PLAY = FUNNY” on the wall somewhere.)
It should also surprise no one that works as well as it does. Workaholics may be one of the most reliably funny shows on TV right now. “The Business Trip” bodes well for a season that seems to indicate big things on the horizon for these guys.
- I feel like I could just do a bullet list of the many great lines from this episode here, but I’ll avoid the temptation.
- I have a college degree and can get hoity-toity with the best of ’em, but when Alice said “Every year he wines them, he dines them,” my first reaction was exactly what Ders said: “He 69s ’em?”
- “What is she moaning? I missed it.” “Eat my pudding?”
- Kyle may have scored the best line of the episode, though it’s so quick that it’s easy to miss. “Ice: currency of the future. I’m gonna be rich!” The kiddie pool of ice (and the empty buckets) was a nice touch. I love that he called the front desk to make sure the ice was still free.
- Adam’s new name for his face: the maiden-slayer. Awesome.
- Perks of being a stripper, according to Adam: be your own boss, make your own “skej,” “free tanning…I’ve heard”
- DeVine scored some of my favorite lines this episode, too. I loved his reaction when everyone realized the iron wasn’t plugged in. “It’s unplugged. That’s good. You can’t erase that.”
- Conventional wisdom dictates most people don’t get stoned the first time they smoke pot, but it’s usually because they don’t realize they’re stoned. I’m guessing that was the case with Adam tonight, right? His reaction to the “God” working the front desk was one of a man on drugs. “I’m the kind of guy who needs to be slaying babes with my meat sword. But I’m not. It’s always in its sheath. But you’re just the woman, God, to help me with it.”
- “I have no idea what any of that stuff meant. Am I Pixar?” Another score for Adam.
- Blake thinks ahead with those shock collars: “Because the house is acid-proof, but the world… is not acid-proof.”
- I’m not sure what our plan is for reviewing Workaholics right now. Tell us what you think: Should we be doing it week to week?