Of all the shows that use comedic surrealism to realistically explore single life, Man Seeking Woman is my favorite. Over the course of its first four episodes, Man Seeking Woman has evolved from a series with potential to actually reaching and exceeding that potential. Once again, the series is becoming more confident in its brand of humor while each episode is becoming more structurally sound. This week’s episode, Dram, continues the show’s upward trend with another weird, funny, and insightful episode.
Lazing on the couch playing video games, Josh (Jay Baruchel) is wallowing in a squalid apartment with only self-pity to keep him company. Then the soft music rises and his sister, Liz (Britt Lower), enters. She pleads directly to the camera for someone, anyone to come along and date her brother hoping it will coax him out of his funk. Later, Josh appears at Liz’s apartment for a dinner party. Surveying his surroundings, Josh is mortified to learn that he is the lone single person there. That is, of course, until Maude (Maria Thayer), a single co-worker of Liz’s, arrives. From there the dinner takes a turn into uncomfortable territory, as each of the couples around the table apply pressure for the two to couple up. By helping each other escape the pressure of the couples, Josh and Maude build enough of a connection to just hook up. Things get much more complicated when Josh’s mother (Robin Duke) demands information on the new woman in Josh’s life. Soon Josh finds that this relationship may be moving too fast for him, pushing himself past his comfort level. Following the predictably bad advice from his friend Mike (Eric Andre), Josh attempts to weasel his way out of further commitment by taking a dose of dram, an elixir that will force hibernation, which will be used to fake his own death.
Dram is another solid episode from creator Simon Rich and company. This episode touches on some of the more painful aspects of treading the lonely waters of single life – awkward attempts at set ups and parental interrogation for any and all information. These particular dalliances into the show’s surrealist streak aren’t just effectively written, they’re shot in the style of the genres they’re parodying. When Josh and Maude are being hounded by the couples, the segment takes on the motifs of a horror film with hordes of nosy couples replacing the undead. Josh’s interrogation at the hands of his mother takes on the feel of the torture scenes from the Taken series, with the notable exception of looking much, much better.
What really stands out about Man Seeking Woman as a series throughout its first four episodes is how it’s very adept at highlighting what not to do. The entire character of Mike is the last one anybody, including Josh, should be listening to. When Josh does listen to Mike, his already bad situation gets worse. While the show is this weird examination of the dating world, it’s also at its heart very much about common decency, treating people right. That’s not to say that the show is strongly moralistic, just balanced in its portrayal of bad decisions. As the series keeps chugging along, I’m just finding more and more things that I really like about this show. Also, it’s nigh impossible to dislike a show that has Mark McKinney from The Kids in the Hall in it, even if only for just a minute.
Man Seeking Woman is on FXX Wednesdays at 10:30pm and is streaming through the FX Now app.