Review: Wedding Bells Ring in Hell on ‘Man Seeking Woman’

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Everyone loves a wedding, right? Oh, except, of course, for single people in menial jobs who have to watch their friends with careers parade their professional and personal successes around, likely to the Chicken Dance or some awful song that only survives because of wedding DJs. What better place to have such an event than Hell, which is exactly where Man Seeking Woman places its wedding for this week’s episode Stain. Unlike last week’s episode, which seemed tame and disjointed, Stain has the show doing what it does best – using the weird and fantastical to tell a relatable story.

Having secluded himself in the shadows with only video games to keep him company, Josh (Jay Baruchel) has hit a new low in his persistent state of dejection. As only he can do, Josh’s best friend Mike (Eric Andre) convinces him to attend the wedding of Ben and Becky with the assurance that Maggie (Maya Erskine), Josh’s ex, won’t be attending. Before traveling down to the pits of Hell, Josh and Mike must secure holy armaments to protect themselves from the various demons down there, though the swords proves to be well out of Josh’s price range. Following their long decent into Hell, Josh and Mike are surprised to encounter Maggie in the lobby with her new boyfriend Graham (Miles Fisher), who is as handsome as he is successful. Because the show loves to pummel Josh, he is assigned to share a table with his ex and her new boyfriend. Already in a low spot, Josh is further humiliated when Graham asks about Josh’s job, making Josh state his low pay rate for all to hear. Things get even more humiliating as Graham saves Josh from the attack of a demon, played here by Brett Gelman.

What Stain gets right is properly presenting the annoyances of attending a wedding in the show’s signature fashion. It’s one thing to travel great distances to explore new places for fun. It’s a whole other thing to have to travel great distances to wear an ill-fitting suit, make small talk about matters that make you insecure while everyone around you is celebrating. And yet here is Josh forced to be in close proximity to the woman who broke his heart and the man who has replaced him. Meanwhile, everyone at the table is telling jokes, laughing, and drinking. The only person uncomfortable in Hell is Josh. Like a number of moments throughout the show’s inaugural season, I’ve sat exactly where Josh is sitting.

Written by series creator Simon Rich and Ian Maxtone-Graham, a former writer for The Simpsons, Stain has Man Seeking Woman returning to form after last week’s Gavel. It’s another episode that turns the weird up to 11 while still maintaining its relatability. While it’s a very difficult balancing act, Rich and company have been able to pull it off for the most part, and they certainly did here.

Man Seeking Woman is on FXX Wednesdays at 10:30pm and is streaming through the FX Now app.

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