Comedy Central // 2011 // 440 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // July 11th, 2012
"One wild, fully torqued experience."
For the average workaday person in an office, the daily grind of memos and meetings is not very pleasant. Sure, some people love their jobs, and some offices are better than others, but even the most enthusiastic office drone will likely admit that they'd rather be somewhere else than the office most of the time. I'm sure the situation must be even worse for those fresh out of college. Leaving behind the (relative) freedom of class and parties for the day-in-day-out life of an office worker can be daunting, especially since those fresh out of college are most likely to be treated the worst in the office. Workaholics hopes to spin some comedy gold out of that premise, though the results often sink like lead.
In Workaholics: Seasons 1 & 2 Combo Doggy (Blu-ray), three friends work as telemarketers and also share a house. They're not quite ready to leave behind the wild parties and crazy shenanigans of college for the life of cube rats. Instead, they spend each episode scheming how to avoid work during the day and achieve greater parties at night.
Stick a fork in the office comedy, it's done. Whether you love the genre or hate it, between Office Space and The Office (whether U.S. or U.K.), the current foibles in the cubicle farm have been skewered to death. We need either a new office culture (which will likely take years to develop) or a totally new comedy perspective. Workaholics, then, is already operating at a disadvantage, coming to light in a genre already saturated with great works.
Workaholics, though, isn't really that show. It's not an office comedy proper. Instead, it kind of sort of apes shows like Reno 911!; it's not trying to be an uncomfortably realistic look at office politics a la The Office, but instead a farcical mix of different nutty characters and insane situations.
That, ultimately, is what sinks Workaholics. If it were just a workmanlike approach to the office comedy, I could almost respect it as the scrappy little guy taking on the behemoth of other shows. Instead, Workaholics gets near-sketch comedy with some of its crazy situations. What it tries to be is an office comedy, a stoner comedy, and a gross-out comedy all at once. It doesn't succeed at any of them particularly well.
Taken separately, each one of these might have been effective, but the show is such a mishmash, that it feels like a desperate bid to win the audience over for just a moment. By throwing so much at the wall comedy-wise, the show is hoping that something will stick. It's true that some moments do land, but nearly often enough to make the show worth watching.
The whole genre schizophrenia of the show also leads to a weird game of kind of comedy arms race. Because each episode races to be the craziest, or the wackiest, or the grossest episode ever, there comes a point at which either they literally can't show something gross (because even Comedy Central has standards) or the gag they pull just isn't as funny as the previous one. Because each episode tries to outdo the next, it becomes tired very quickly.
Even taking all these caveats into account, Workaholics might have won some points back by featuring interesting or worthwhile characters. Nope, none of that here. These guys are all slacker or stoner types. While their superficial difference are obvious, at bottom they're just a bunch of guys who refuse to grow up. Annoying and immature is fine for one character in a comedy series, but making the three leads all the same does nothing for the show.
Somebody out there must like Workaholics, because this is an excellent two-disc set of the first two seasons of the show. Each season gets its own disc, with ten episodes per disc. The 1.78:1 AVC-encoded transfers on this set are generally solid. They perfectly replicate the flat, slightly digital-looking single-camera style of the show. That means detail is pretty strong, colors are bright, and black levels are sometimes a bit washed out. With that said, the show looks fine and only nitpickers will find fault with the presentation of this kind of comedy. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track is overkill for this kind of comedy, but it's great for what it is. The dialogue comes through clean and clear in the center, while the surrounds are reserved for ambient effects in the home or office. It's not a show-off track, but it serves the show.
The extras are tailor-made for fans of the show. The bulk of the extra consist of deleted and extended scenes. Both discs feature about 15 minutes of deleted or extended scenes. Disc One also features a short bit on the show's premiere and nine additional "Digital Original" moments and three "shart stories" (If you don't know what that means, it's probably better for you). Disc Two includes some bloopers and a short featurette focusing on the writer's room for the show.
Maybe I was too sober for Workaholics? Maybe I watched too many in a row instead of catching a random episode on late-night TV? I'm sure there are some people out there who will love the idea of a mashup between stoner, gross-out, and office comedies. I'm not that guy, and I don't think that Workaholics is that great a show, but it's getting at least another season, so somebody must love it.
This is a weird release to recommend: the show's first season was available only on DVD, so fans that picked that up will also have to have a duplicate if they also want to pick up the second season on Blu-ray. For those unfamiliar with the show, this is a great way to get both seasons in a single package, so a rental is convenient. Though I can't really recommend the show itself, if it sounds like your kind of thing, then this Blu-ray set is the way to own it.
Because of the attention lavished on this Blu-ray set, Workaholics is
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 440 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Bonus Shorts