TV Review: Comedy Central’s ‘Workaholics’ Will Give Viewers a Serious Hangover
CHICAGO – You know those slacker frat boys who barely make it to class in the morning and aren’t just hungover but still drunk when the lecture starts? Do you think they just turn that off when they enter the work world? We all know (or were or still are) those guys who find a way to balance their serious drinking and pot-smoking with making a living. Comedy Central has made a show about those guys called “Workaholics,” premiering tonight, April 6th, 2011, at 9:30pm CST.
TV Rating: 3.0/5.0
Created by and starring internet troupe Mail Order Comedy (Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and Adam DeVine), “Workaholics” naturally brings back echoes of “Office Space” but more often feels like the National Lampoon series of straight-to-DVD comedies that are heavily focused on sex, drugs, and getting totally wasted. Imagine one of those college-set comedies that takes place the year after graduation and you won’t be far off the mark. “Workaholics” would be better if it were a bit smarter, a bit less focused on bodily functions and intense intoxication, but it hits a few undeniably funny beats and could develop into something consistent with a bit of work on the writing. The three men are talented enough to pull it off with a bit of what their characters hate the most — work
Photo credit: Comedy Central
The dreaded four-letter-word is really a means to an end for Adam, Blake, and Anders (more often referred to as “Ders”). The three not only work together in one giant cubicle but also live together, play beer pong together, prank each other, etc. They are frat boys who have replaced classes they don’t care about with a job they don’t care about. It’s actually a pretty clever idea for a sitcom and the three leads are likable enough to nearly make the inconsistent writing work.
Photo credit: Comedy Central
The problem with the writing on the first three episodes of “Workaholics” sent for review is two-fold. One, watching drunk and stoned guys can only be entertaining for so long before you wish you were wasted yourself. You know that totally lit guy at the party? He’s funny for a few minutes, not a whole sitcom, and he’s a lot less funny if you’re sober. I hate to suggest bad behavior to our sensitive readers — but “Workaholics” will work best if you’re a little intoxicated yourself. We rarely get to know these guys at all outside of their borderline addictive partying and goofy activities. The three young men have pretty damn good comic timing, but it’s all centered around being totally wasted.
The other part of the problem with the writing on “Workaholics” is that it’s almost entirely centered on bodily functions and male body parts. The show opens with a texted picture of a penis and it doesn’t really elevate itself from there. The boys sit on the roof and watch a piece of Adam’s crap wrapped in a dollar to scream and laugh when people pick it up. The first episode centers around piss. The second episode centers around puking. The third episode features a recurring joke about accidentally seeing a cock. To say this is low-level humor would be an understatement.
And yet, it can sometimes take smart people to write characters this dumb. There are moments when one can tell that Adam, Blake, and Anders are acting — that they’re smart writers satirizing dumb, drunk behavior. In particular, Blake Anderson has memorable comic timing (a play on the “two hits” line in the second episode cracked me up). And Holm seems to be the one developing the most actual character as the most uptight and narcissistic of the group. I liked a bit about him being more interested in riding in an Escalade than the hot girls actually in the car. For now, Adam DeVine annoys me. It can be difficult to separate character and actor but Adam is the first one I would kick out of the car were I designated driver for the night.
I may not have had regular beer pong competitions or lived in what is basically a frat house post-graduation but I still remember those years of the early twenties when it wasn’t quite so easy to turn off the switch from the fun days of senior year of college. It’s ripe territory for comedy. The writing on “Workaholics” needs to branch out from bodily functions and get a little smarter for the show to be truly memorable but it’s a decent laugh in the middle of a long work week.