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Will Ashton

Why ‘Man Seeking Woman’ is the essential millennial show

‘Man Seeking Woman’ is must-see millennial television.

“Essential viewing” is a term I despise. How can one possess the right to determine what one needs to see? That said, however, I firmly believe FXX’s new sitcom Man Seeking Woman is quintessential watching for this millennial generation.

Nary a false step in its run — an extraordinarily rare feat for new comedy series — this bizarre but highly inspired and heartfelt program is packed to the brim with wit, charm and comedic originality. Based on the book The Last Girlfriend on Earth by creator and former SNL writer Simon Rich, Man Seeking Woman has a fairly traditional plot. Josh (Jay Baruchel), a newly single New Yorker in his late 20s, is getting back in the dating scene with his bro best friend, Mike (Eric Andre), as he gets over his ex, Maggie (Maya Erskine).

I know, what’s so special about that? The plot sounds like the newest mumblecore flick at Sundance. But when you throw in subplots like Maggie rebounding Josh for a still-alive Adolf Hitler (Bill Hader), our main character going on a date with a literal troll and Josh and Mike going on a friend’s destination wedding in Hell, you find yourself watching the most briskly-produced, sharply written, high-concept comedy show of the new decade.

FXX already renewed Man Seeking Woman for a second season, so this is not a call to arms to demand it stays on the air. Rather, I believe this is, quite possibly, the most telling, insightful and relatable new show to come for our generation. How can I consider a series where a man loses his genitals at a club this broadly accessible? Let me explain.

It’s redundant at this point to note how we live in the golden age of television. Anyone even mildly in-tune with pop culture understands TV is the rave of the entertainment world right now, and rightfully so. Cable networks and new broadcasters like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu distribute and create the best shows not just on the tube right now, but ever.

I won’t argue Man Seeking Woman is on the same caliber as Breaking Bad or Louie — at least not yet. I will say,though, it’s the first of our millennial-catered programs to not only understand our new-founded, tech-suave relationship lives fully, but also translate the tribulations and emotions of the moment in fashions both surreal and down-to-Earth. In doing so, however, it never wallows in its self-indulgent tendencies and instead always brings in the laughs. This is where so many of these shows flounder, and Man Seeking Woman excels.

As much as I enjoy Girls, even Lena Dunham’s show wrongly sacrifices its acute comedy in favor of petty melodrama. And any show on VH1 or MTV will never get anything right at all, besides Beavis and Butthead. But through wondrously odd visual metaphors and highly creative set pieces, Rich’s show never has its eye off the prize.

Every moment of Man Seeking Woman says something that people in their 20s can relate to. Even if it’s Josh disgruntlements with a purple, Japanese penis monster, one can understand how it pertains to a girlfriend’s unusually close male friend. Or how, when Josh’s sister Liz (Britt Lower) gets set up on a date with her old camp buddy/robot Chip, one relates to the static blandness of dates gone awry.

Point is, not only is it funny, clever and balls-to-the-wall crazy, but it also speaks wholeheartedly about the 20-something experience. As Man Seeking Woman just wrapped up its 10-episode first season Wednesday night, I highly recommend you take this moment — if you haven’t already — to catch up on FXX’s new show.

Yes, I know you already have a lot on your TV watch list. But I doubt you’ll see another show on television this year or ever again where a man’s hand breaks up with him.

 

Will Ashton is a senior studying journalism and a staff writer for TheCelebrityCafe.com. Email him at wa054010@ohio.edu or find him on

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