After a mere two episodes,Â Man Seeking Woman is already my favorite new show of 2015. It immediately reminded me of HBO’sÂ Hello LadiesÂ with its cringe-worthy moments focused around a guy rediscovering his footing in the sea of dating with hopes of finding love; however,Â Man Seeking Woman sets itself apart fromÂ Hello Ladies by being more realistic and relatable for viewers. In the HBO show, Stuart is a well-off entitled jerk sucked into the upper class California culture that feels he is owed attention and a relationship, whereasÂ Man Seeking Woman’s Josh is a humble, average guy lost after being dumped by the only girlfriend he’s ever known. Stuart isn’t wrong in feelingÂ the way he does, andÂ Hello Ladies is fantastic for its ability to put a Larry David-esque Curb Your EnthusiasmÂ typeÂ character unafraid to speak the blunt truth about ituations that feel straight out ofÂ The Inbetweeners,Â but in the end, it’s a lot nicer, and easier, to root for Josh to succeed in these hilariously surreal scenes.
The second episode, titled “Traib,” picks up right where the first left off. Josh successfully secured the phone number of a random girl on the train, giving him hope and confidence. His best friend Mike is over giving him all the necessary pump-up talk required but questions Josh’s constant laims that he is over his ex, Maggie, already. At this point, the episode’s first bizarre sequence begins, as Maggie’s leftover belongings in Josh’s apartment come alive to displayÂ that he is not over her. The entire scene was great, from the horror movie feel with the razor, bra, and other items coming to life to Mike bringing in a (foreign speaking) exorcist to rid Josh’s apartment of its demons. The plan is going well until Josh refuses to give up Mr. Heart, a eerie heart-shaped doll with arms and legs that Maggie won him at a carnival; but when the doll comes to life with razor sharp teeth and latches onto his face similarly to a face-hugger fromÂ Alien, Josh thinks twice and burns everything in his life that is connected to Maggie.
While the first half of “Traib” was good, the episode’s second half was really where I thought things picked up. Josh has begun focusing on texting Laura, the girl he met on the train, to set up a first date and hopefully sleep with her complete the process of getting over Maggie. Josh has one idea of how to text her that includes awkward, cheap, and unfunny jokes, while Mike insists he should send her a nude picture of himself and be straightforward about what he wants. After Josh also consults his sister, Liz on the matter, the second surreal situationÂ begins, and we are thrown into the war room, literally.
Josh, Liz, and Mike are all sitting around a table with dressed military men and a background of computers and screens all waging their ideas of how Josh should format his text. Mike eventually delivers an extremely funny and passionate speech supporting his initial idea to send a nude picture despite admitting it’s probably a terrible idea. Josh finally sends a normal text that is direct and not weird. The military men freak out when he doesn’t get an instant response; the general starts slamming scotch and yelling for Josh to call the date off with another text simply saying “JK.” After much panic from everyone, Laura responds, and Josh has secured his date.
The date is very painful to watch, as Josh is completely distracted by the meal itself and focused on getting this girl back to his apartment, but this strategy leads to his ultimate downfall. The two of them can’t find anything to talk about, and Josh begins to ramble off multiple romantic comedy titles, eventually reaching a point where Laura hasn’t seen or heard of the movies he’s bringing up. His sole focus on sleeping with her distracts him from showing any actual interest in Laura and sends him home for another lonely night.
I really enjoyed the episode as a whole, but the second half was the highlight for me this week. It’s fun to watch Josh’s pursuit for companionship, because as I mentioned before, he’s an average likable guy. However, the surreal sequences in each episode are what make or break this show.Â The entire first sequence was solid. I felt it was a simple but a good way to open up the episode and include a wacky homage to horror films. It wasn’t as clever as the second half of “Traib” but still had me smiling and laughing a little bit.
The war room portion was brilliant and perfectly displayed just how much thought and effort men (and all people) put into sending something as simple as a single text message. Mike’s speech really elevated his character and has me excited to see and hear what he will do throughout the rest of the season becauseÂ Eric AndrÃ©’s delivery was great right from the start. The additional bonuses of things like the general chugging scotch as Josh launches his figurative bomb are clever touches of detail that really fill out these goofy scenes and amplify how goodÂ Man Seeking Woman really is.Â
“Traib” was a nice next step up from the series premiere, “Lizard,” and proves thatÂ Man Seeking Woman has a ton of potential going forward. I can’t wait until we receive an episode that is equally as funny from beginning to end. If Man Seeking WomanÂ can continue to build and capitalize on these weird, well-thought out moments used to personify Josh’s experience of getting back into the dating world,Â the series is guaranteed to have a very successful first season.
[Photo via FXX]