In the first episode of its third season, Man Seeking Woman could be starting to reveal the true nature of its seemingly random structure. Season one was a series of independent vignettes that put the trials of 21st-century dating into completely absurdist terms. A literal realization of the fantasies that the revolving door of 20-something relationships brings on. Season 2 began as more of the same, but halfway through it took on a more serialized format as Josh (Jay Baruchel) finally found a relationship he could grasp onto for a while. This time, the show seems intent on carrying a relationship arc through the entire run, maturing the format as its protagonist grows older. However, even with this more focused narrative, the gonzo humor that has made Man Seeking Woman so lovable has come back in full force.
Lucy (Katie Findlay), Josh’s new squeeze, is actually presented as the protagonist of this episode. We start by seeing her endure a string of bad luck that we can all relate to. After all, who hasn’t been mauled by a cougar at work? However, things start to look up when she meets Josh on an online date and almost immediately makes him a regular in her apartment. This frustrates the living hell out of her three roommates, so naturally, they go on national television to announce that Josh has been deported from the home. This gag could have easily come off as needlessly preachy, but it was delivered perfectly. We had broader moments with Josh crawling through an underground tunnel to get some snuggle time, but the sharpest moments came from the little lines of dialogue such as when the male roommate described his boyfriend as staying on a “three-day sex visa.” These writers also have an acute sense for when a joke is going on too long. This could have easily been dragged out for the entire episode, but right when it was starting to get stale, Lucy moved in with Josh, and we were on to something else.
Here’s where we get some possible insight into what we’ll be dealing with over these next nine episodes. Lucy, while infatuated with Josh, is also obsessed with how other people see her. She sees Josh’s apartment as a run-down halfway house, with decaying walls and endless carpet stains. When her friends want to see the place, she panics, donning a hazmat suit as she melts some of Josh’s nerdier possessions. The biggest sacrifice was a Futon which Josh adores despite its disgusting condition. Lucy becomes so hyper-focused, that when one of her friends shows up early, she kidnaps her with Josh and attempts a straight up mob murder. By the end, Josh’s apartment may be clean, but he feels as though it is not longer his, leaving in a huff.
We catch up with Mike (Eric Andre) who insists that he loves Josh for who he is, whisking him away to a secret boys club colony in South America called Mike Town. Mike has something of a Che Guevara role here, with all of the guys who feel rejected by their girlfriends worshiping him. It’s a funny bit, and honestly, it could’ve gone on a little longer. I could’ve lost a bit of the immigration stuff to see just what the hell they were doing on that island. It may not be as political, but it would’ve served the story more. As it stands, Lucy tracks him down, apologizing for being selfish, and wins Josh over.
This seems to be a story of compromise filtered through Man Seeking Woman’s insane world. Lucy, despite her flaws, is rather likable so far. Findlay and Baruchel have an adorkable chemistry that seems like it could be an actual relationship. Josh has come a long way indeed from dating a troll and a car. If this season is serialized all the way through, it provides a great deal of potential to explore territory that this show hasn’t really entered yet. The possibility of seeing their take on more serious elements like engagement, marriage, or children is rather enticing, and could very well save the show from running out of steam too early. Above all else, I’m just glad Josh has found a break, even in this cooky comic strip world.