Three episodes of the first season of “Man Seeking Woman” were provided for review purposes prior to broadcast.
After watching three episodes of the new FXX comedy Man Seeking Woman (which premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m.), I’m not entirely enthused about tuning in again. That sounds harsh, and it is, but seeing as the show is intended to be a comedy, and I didn’t laugh once, it doesn’t appear that I’m the kind of viewer that Man Seeking Woman, with its quirky employment of magical realism, is trying to attract.
Centering on Josh (Jay Baruchel), a twentysomething guy who is tossed back into the terrifying world of Tinder and blind dates after a long-term relationship (with Maggie, played by Maya Erskine) ends, Man Seeking Woman presents dating in the modern age as a potentially life-threatening enterprise, as well as a certainly humiliating one.
In one episode, set up with a Scandinavian girl by his successful older sister (Britt Lower), Josh arrives at the table to find a grotesque troll named Gorbachaka, who consumes a rose he buys for her and eventually sinks her teeth into his leg after a perceived insult (all the while, his sister criticizes him for not being a gentleman and showing Gorbachaka a good evening).
Anything, and I mean anything, goes in the wacky universe established by former SNL writer Simon Rich. It’s like Wilfred to the nth degree, a surreal series that shoots for laughs by putting Josh in absolutely ridiculous situations and letting him try to rationalize his way out of them. Unlike the appealing teaser, though, in which an attempt to woo a girl at the park goes horrifically wrong when a flesh-and-blood Cupid misses with his arrow, most of these situations grow tiresome rather quickly.
It’s hard to judge, though, whether the series has actually failed in what it set out to do. “It’s the truth, even if it didn’t happen,” Ken Kesey famously wrote in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Man Seeking Woman aligns itself with that statement, attempting to get to the heart of dating in the modern age by putting its protagonist into fantastical scenarios that convey the world from his unfiltered perspective. It’s weird and fantastical, but in the world of Man Seeking Woman, the completely ridiculous is made utterly mundane.