Ranking the Shows I Watch – 22: Workaholics

15 Sep

Comedy Central runs through shows faster than well, choose your own analogy. Fast is the point.  If you’re not the Daily Show, Colbert Report or South Park, and you’re on Comedy Central, you probably won’t be next year.  I’ve tuned in here and there, but I try not to get too attached, because I know whatever show I’m watching won’t be around.  It’s usually not difficult because most of them are terrible or at least forgettably mediocre.  Dog Bites Man?  Remember that one?  Halfway Home, the prison-meets-real-world premise with Oscar from The Office.  Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire?  The only point of that show was that I had a new nickname for Frankie Rodriguez.  For this reason, it was hard to get too excited about Workaholics as the season progressed, marching towards its probable inevitable Comedy Central doom.  It was a sign though, that it wasn’t just me, when some executives there deemed Workaholics worthy of receiving the coveted second season.

I feel like this is true for about third of this list, but I started watching the show at least partially ironically.  Not ironically in the sense that I thought it would be horrible, more in a way that was several layers of anti-humor away ironically in that, upon the appearance of Workaholics commercials it was pretty much decided I was watching whether it ended up being good or not.  One such commercial featured a character asks one of the main characters, named Anders, if his name is Finnish, to which he replies, “No, sir – I’m just getting started.”  Not brilliant stuff, I know.  But it’s kind of funny.

Luckily, it actually ended up being pretty good, or at least there were funny parts in the first few episodes, enough so to keep me watching.  It’s not a sketch show, but it has some of a sketch show feel (think Michael and Michael Have Issues if you actually remember that Comedy Central show). There are three main characters and they work in a call center and do a bunch of stupid and/or ridiculous things in every episode.  Even better, as the season went forward, the episodes actually got significantly stronger – the consistency rate of laughs was higher.  The characters got themselves into sticky situations, such as ending up at a meeting of the Juggalos, and, to their advantage, unlike what happens in some sketch shows where the emphasis is on wacky plots and not characterization (as it should be, for the most part), the characters feel at least a little bit different.   You couldn’t simply switch their plots around in every episode.

Why it’s this high:  When it hits, it captures dumb funny as good as any show on TV – best moment perhaps – one character threatening a larger guy invading a party –  he says, “If we do this there’ll be two hits… me punching you in the face. and Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba playing in the background”

Why it’s not higher:  It’s tough on sketch-type shows – you get your hit and your occasional miss.

Best episode of most recent season:  “To Friend a Predator”  – just the premise alone is darkly funny and the episode delivers on it – the guys take it upon themselves to bait and take down a local child molester, only to find out he’s a really cool guy to hang out with.

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