TV Recap: Man Seeking Woman

Written by Matthew Kelly

MAN SEEKING WOMAN - Key Art

Check out Pop-Break’s interview with series star Jay Baruchel.

Man Seeking Woman Plot:

A naive romantic (Jay Baruchel) goes on a desperate quest for love when his longtime girlfriend dumps him.

Did you like 500 Days of Summer but think it was not surreal enough? Did you watch Scott Pilgrim vs The World and wish The World was able to beat up on Scott a little more. Well FXX has a show for you.

Man Seeking Woman tells the story of Josh (Baruchel), a recently single twenty something trying to get back into the dating world. He is being led in different directions by his sister and his best friend, neither of which seem incredibly helpful. On top of that, he also has to deal with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend who Josh believes to be the worst person ever. It is hard to imagine what to expect from this long-term, considering how surprising the pilot was and that is really refreshing. I imagine future episode will include commentary on the awkwardness of double dating, the complications of meeting parents, and a lot of sex stuff. The fun comes from the fact that Man Seeking Woman can chose to go in almost any direction it chooses and it will be unlike any other relationship comedy to date.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FXX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FXX

Baruchel is excellent as Josh Greenberg. Throughout the episode you both feel very sorry for him and believe every bad thing that happens is completely his own fault. He just has one of those faces. He is also able to travel from crazy situation to crazy situation without it seeming too strange. He will give the occasional look that says “Obviously trolls exist, but I don’t know about dating this troll” and the episode hinges upon Jay selling the premise but maintaining a high level of relatability.

The direction is something that is easy to miss, but really sets the show apart from anything else on television. Honestly, it seems more deliberate than most films. Once you realize that Jonathan Krisel’s past experience includes Saturday Night Live’s Digital Shorts, you really start to recognize that style in play. The editing is quick keeps everything fresh. The show moves at a brisk pace. There is a lot of repetition that feels reminiscent of Edgar Wright’s work. A picture will go in the trash. Then later, when things have changed, it will be taken out of the trash. Then later, things moving in a completely different direction, the picture is back in the trash again. It’s great.

You have to give much of the credit to the really excellent writing that SNL alum Simon Rich was able to pull off. Any show that features the line “Hitler ain’t got shit on you, dude” is okay by me. The very idea that the more absurd scenes hinge upon is flawless and I am surprised no one has thought of anything like it before (besides kind of 500 Days of Summer and Scott Pilgrim). And while Rich is willing to approach relationships with an honesty that may seem uncomfortable at times, at least he’s being honest. Maybe Josh is being a jerk, but Man Seeking Woman is not trying to pretend he’s anything else.

Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FXX
Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/FXX

I have a feeling the supporting characters are going to really pay off as the show progresses. Eric Andre, while almost too likeable to play a complete tool, is able to ad lib a couple of lines that are really funny on the second watch. Britt Fowler only stays for a while but plays a very reserved answer to Andre’s Mike. Vanessa Bayer is one of the most consistently funny cast members on SNL. While she didn’t have a ton to do this week, there is no way she isn’t going to do some great work going forward.

All in all, this is a show to watch. This isn’t one of those shows that you watch because you want to see how everything works out. You watch it because you want to see how it all falls apart and while almost everything else is up in the air, that part is inevitable.

Rating: 8/10

Man Seeking Woman airs Wednesday nights on FXX.

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Matthew Nando Kelly is a very cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Aside from TV reviews, he writes about film, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando

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Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.