Here’s the thing about dating: We’re all doing the same damn thing. We get smitten over and over again with one person after another. We try new experiences with them, take our friends for granted for them and once it’s all over, fall into the depths of heartbreak for them. There’s only so many romantic comedy shows that can really capture the elements of dating in a particular day and age, and the ones that stick have to do something unique. FX’s sorely underrated gem Man Seeking Woman understands this better than practically any other show on the market right now, opting to show us the toils of love in the most surreal and exaggerated ways it can think of. With everything from penises lost at a bar to time traveling pills, it’s brought us some pretty wonderful scenarios, and if the first episode of season two is any indication, it hasn’t missed a beat.
This episode was all about the divisions relationships cause between friends. Josh (Jay Baruchel) has found himself with a new lady named Kelly (Sarah Gadon). This comes to the great dismay of Mike (Eric Andre), who’s informed of this by a pair of military messengers. Mike misses the long gone days of “guys night” fueled by Crazy Wings and The Blade Trilogy, which haven’t been the same since Josh has been seeing her. Mike attempts to rally everyone in Josh’s life to protest this relationship, but ultimately the divorce of bros (shown in a literal divorce negation) weighs in Josh’s favor.
This show is often more successful in either its larger set piece gags, or the silly little interactions between the characters. This one was definitely the latter, but the moments that scored really worked. Perhaps the best moment here is towards the end, when it is revealed that Josh and Mike have a fully grown daughter that was conceived by them “both jizzing in the same toilet that was struck by lightning.” (This show is really freaking weird guys.) The sheer deadpan delivery by both Baruchel and Andre as they worked out this domestic issue in a surprisingly mature way was an absolute home run. Not to mention, her going to college was a perfect way of resetting the table for future episodes that will undoubtably never mention her again.
By contrast, Josh and Kelly’s trip to a cabin where she and her friends have awakened a troupe of undead lumberjacks fell a little flat. While the contrast served by her spending time with her friends was certainly well done, nothing about it was particularly funny. The creature gags in this show are often not quite as entertaining as the creators seem to think they are, and this was one of the lamest ones yet. In fact, Kelly as a whole was a bit of a bore compared to Josh’s previous girlfriends, but considering that we potentially have nine to go, it’s not a huge deal.
While certainly not the funniest episode by a long shot, Man Seeking Woman returned with a charming and lovably cooky premiere that reminded me why I fell in love with the show in the first place. Hopefully the upcoming episodes will embrace the smaller scale gags that really sell this absurd world. I have no doubts though, as the pilot of the first season was a little lacking by comparison to its successors as well.