Up until this point, Man Seeking Woman has remained focused on the trials and tribulations of Josh Greenberg’s love life. But this week Man Seeking Woman took a welcomed departure from its normal routine. Instead of maintaining Josh, played by Jay Baruchel, as the central focus, this week’s episode, Teacup, places its focus entirely on Josh’s sister Liz, played by Britt Lower. Liz’s story in this episode is very much a mirror to Josh’s story in the series’ first episode Lizard.
Despite making substantial progress in her professional life, Liz’s personal life is about to take a turn for the worst when she breaks up with her long-time boyfriend Leo. After doing her best to hold herself together, a solitary cloud of rain follows her, like it did for Josh, as her former love drives away. Liz tries to keep herself occupied, spending time with a friend who is hosting a birthday party for her young daughter. When Liz goes out to talk with the children, she is appalled to learn that all but one of the young girls are already married. They give her a lengthy talk about meeting the right man and getting settled down before getting too old. Haunted by the conversation, Liz accompanies a couple of coworkers as they head out for a night on the town. Of all the single men at the bar, Liz is able to find each of their flaws – which range from the Paleo Diet to saying “San Fran.” Realizing that her criteria for a man is near-impossible, Liz decides to make her own perfect man. Her hair now emblazoned with a lone white streak ala the Bride of Frankenstein, Liz pieces together her perfect creation with the help of Igor (Matt Lucas). But Liz’s creation isn’t exactly perfect for her – he’s gay. Dejected from failure, Liz agrees to go on a date with Chip, the son of a childhood neighbor who just happens to be a robot. Though Liz thinks the date went well, after a very brief sexual encounter, Chip leaves immediately, spewing every possible excuse to get out there as fast as possible.
Aside from two very brief scenes, series star Jay Baruchel is barely in this episode. And that’s perfectly fine – which, by the way, is not meant as a snide remark about Baruchel, who does immense work in holding the show together. It’s nice that creator Simon Rich along with writer Sofia Alvarez and director Tim Kirkby aren’t afraid to change things around and switch up the perspective. Until Teacup, Liz has been a force of stability, using her well-balanced personal and professional life as a means to demean Josh’s many failings. Now we’ve been introduced to another side of Liz, one where she’s worried about the future and dealing with uncertainty. Britt Lower brings to the show a wonderful balance in portraying a successful, confident woman at work who struggles with finding that same success in love.
Teacup isn’t necessarily among the funniest of Man Seeking Woman’s episodes, but it opens up a new realm of possibilities for its characters moving forward. It’s a step away from being a show that is dominated by the male perspective, and trying a departure like this early in the show’s life is very encouraging. This is a series that has been unpredictable since its first episode, and by making Liz a much more prominent character with her own set of strengths and weaknesses they’ve greatly expanded the canvas their working on.
Man Seeking Woman is on FXX Wednesdays at 10:30pm and is streaming through the FX Now app.