After two 10-episode seasons on Comedy Central, the office comedy "Workaholics" gained enough of a following for the network to double down for Season 3. For new additions to the TelAmeriCorp team (like myself, actually), the show follows the raunchy, unhinged shenanigans of telemarketers Adam DeMamp (Adam DeVine), Blake Henderson (Blake Anderson), and Anders Holmvik (Anders Holm), three best buds who want nothing more than to get smashed and party. Their antics are usually frowned upon by co-workers, including their perpetually furious manager Alice (Maribeth Monroe), her downtrodden assistant Jillian Belk (Jillian Bell), and fellow cold-callers Montez Walker (Erik Griffin), Jet Set (Jet Set Hudson), Waymond (Waymond Lee), and Bill (Billy Stevenson).
When "Workaholics" first started airing, I avoided it. At a glance, it looked like a show that basically existed to glorify its three main characters, like Office Space mashed with a raunchy teen comedy where a trio of guys run wild on property, possessions, and people, while the film (and audience) applaud every step of the way. Still, the praise kept rolling in, and now that I've seen the show, there's no question that this is pure satire. "Workaholics" operates in the same vein as "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," where the humor is dependent on the viewer understanding that these guys are awful idiots. DeVine, Anderson, and Holm (also the co-creators, along with director / actor Kyle Newacheck and a long list of others) constantly and insistently pin the joke on themselves, sacrificing vanity and dignity to make themselves look as terrible as possible.
Other than knowing who the characters are and what their personality traits consist of, there is no obvious serialization to "Workaholics" (not surprising, given the show is basically a live-action cartoon that often ends with some development that would normally have serious consequences, only for the next episode to return to status quo), so newcomers can pretty easily jump right into Season 3. The show's increasing popularity has attracted what I assume are bigger guest stars (including Rumer Willis, Daniel Stern, and William Atherton), and there are a couple of episodes that drastically transform the TelAmeriCorp offices ("A TelAmerican Horror Story", "The Future is Gnar") or take the gang to an entirely new location ("Business Trip"), but the core of the show is still the antics of the three main characters.
The show's best episodes occur when the opportunity to skewer the characters and their limited worldview is strongest. "The Lord's Force" has the boys desperately trying to get tickets to see a group of muscle men breaking boards and concrete in the name of the Lord, hosted by a fiery preacher (Tim Heidecker). When they can't get in, they hang out and wait for their two favorite Force members, only to discover they're closeted gay lovers. The preacher kicks them out of the group and the trio allow the two guys to sleep on their couch, while both the gang and their houseguests wrestle with the revelation about their sexuality. The writing staff of "Workaholics" has no qualms about pushing the buttons of anyone in the audience who might be uncomfortable with male homoeroticism, and it only makes the episode funnier. "Webcam Girl" dives right into the guys' seduction skills, pointedly jabbing their lack of class as all three become infatuated with the same woman.
That said, the fearlessness of the cast is also a big part of the show, and many episodes soar on the basis of physical comedy alone. "Good Mourning" is a masterful exercise in escalating absurdity. The day begins when Adam, Blake, and Ders prank on a co-worker who turns out to be dead, then takes a turn for the worse when Ders picks Blake as his wingman when meeting his Russian pen pals. This leads to a series of fights between Adam and his two friends as they pretend to have loved their dead co-worker more, in order to impress the girls. "In Line" is set on the night of a big video game launch, with Adam and Blake trying to grab a copy of the game, while Ders puts the move on a sexy goth girl (Angela Trimbur). Through a series of complications, this leads to Ders and the guys' drug dealer, Kyle (Newacheck) in bed together, feeling each other up, a landmark moment in the history of awkward touching. Monroe and Bell get plenty of chances to shine, too, in "Business Trip" (everyone drops acid in the hopes of re-signing a power player) and "Hungry Like the Wolf Dog" (the gang road trips to try a delicious breakfast burrito), respectively.
DeVine, Anderson, Holm, and Newacheck, along with the rest of the writing staff, constantly push the envelope in terms of being edgy or disgusting, and there are inevitably a few misfires. Even within the context of idiot characters, the joke during the credits of "Webcam Girl" crosses a line, and the fully intentional gross-out nature of "Booger Nights" is literally hard to watch. Still, "Workaholics" is a surprisingly sharp show that not only consistently subverts expectations, but commits to doing so with an admirable enthusiasm and energy.
"Workaholics": Season 3 won't dazzle anyone with its cover art, but I appreciate that someone made the effort to keep the design basically identical to the previous "Season 1 and 2 Combo Doggy" release in terms of fonts and layout. The two-disc set is packed into a standard, eco-friendly Blu-Ray case (the kind with holes punched into it), and there is no insert.
The Video and Audio
Comedy Central's 1.78:1 1080p AVC presentation of "Workaholics": Season Three looks just great roughly 95% of the time. Most of the show takes place in the brightly-lit office or other daytime locations, and these scenes have a measure of depth, strong clarity, and vivid colors. When the show occasionally dips into a nighttime or dark scene, however, some minor issues do arise: heavy noise, flat contrast, and the occasional instance of banding. Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio is similar, yet opposite, with a few remarkable moments where the subwoofer kicks in. The rest of the time, the track holds the fort, providing crisp replication of music cues and the dialogue. I doubt either aspect of the presentation will either a) surprise anyone picking up the Blu-Ray, or b) disappoint any of them. A Dolby Digital 2.0 track and English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing are also included.
The extras kick off with a couple of reels of additional footage outtakes (9:31, HD) are surprisingly non-traditional -- these are more like little behind-the-scenes moments rather than actual crack-ups during lines and the like. Alternate Takes (9:05, HD) are a little underwhelming, with long stretches of the finished show surrounding the additional riffs. Three "episodes" of "The Other Cubicle" (2:51, 2:32, and 2:52, HD) are included, spotlighting the antics of Montez, Jet Set, Waymond, and Bill. These brief little sketches should certainly amuse anyone who enjoys the show itself, and they don't wear out their welcome, although it's possible the best joke in the whole trio is just what Jet Set is wearing in the third episode. Video features conclude with a "My Queen" music video (2:58, HD). If you've ever wanted to see Montez all oiled up, well, here's your chance.
The disc is rounded out by audio "drunk"mentary on every episode, featuring Devine, Holm, Anderson, and Newacheck laughing and chatting over the show. As advertised, the guys are drunkenly riffing on the show rather than really getting into any behind-the-scenes details, so these commentaries are mostly chaotic gag-fests. It's a style that suits the show, but may not necessarily hold up over the course of 20 episodes.
This set is a little lighter on the extras than the previous set, but the star here is the show itself. These 20 episodes include some big laughs, and fans shouldn't hesitate to pick it up. Recommended.
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