“Night At The Dudeseum” turns the guys loose in a museum, which is as good a premise as any for Adam, Blake, and Ders to wreak some havoc. Sadly, the mayhem never builds, despite the presence of Viking relics, dinosaur costumes, selfie sticks, a stolen peace pipe, weed for the stolen peace pipe, a harried curator, and a particularly noxious fart “from the deep butthole.” All those things and more of the same are de rigueur for an episode of Workaholics, especially one where the guys branch out into the world outside TelAmeriCorp, and there’s nothing wrong with them as such. (Workaholics was essentially launched from scatological humor.) It’s just that, this time out, it’s a lot of busyness without enough laughs.
Some accuse critics (well, me) of “thinking too much” about a show like Workaholics, suggesting that a show about three goofuses whose only pursuits involve weed, booze, not working, and (usually theoretical) women, but I maintain that there’s as much to say about a successful lowbrow comedy as there is about great TV drama. (Except I’m going to have to use the word “fart” a lot more in the former, as you’ll see.) There have been plenty of attempts to build a show around crude jerks that have been lousy and uninteresting, and I’d have had trouble filling a review of, say, Dads or Work It on a weekly basis. But Workaholics, at its best, is constructed with a sneaky amount of care, and while “Night At The Dudeseum” approximates the show’s raison d’être—with the guys combined childishness and stupidity digging them deeper into a silly situation—there’s a groaning effort to the proceedings.
Much like Adam’s long-delayed fart. (See—I told you they were coming.) The episode starts out, like many good ones do, with the guys on their roof. Rather, this time it’s just Blake and Adam, as they’ve rigged up an impressively elaborate contraption (“a roof Goldberg machine” according to Blake, since it’s on the roof, and… you get it) involving, from what I can tell, a marble, the chimney, a Mousetrap game, a fan, pinwheels, a mannequin, bongwater, the Mentos-and-Coke trick, a bowling ball, and various other components intended to wow Ders. That the machine is set up from the wrong perspective to do that (“We should have done this in the front yard,” realizes Adam, as most of the action takes place out of Ders’ sight line), and that the whole enterprise is all intended to be a lead-up to a hilarious, concluding fart from Adam (who can’t muster one when the time comes) is the sort of elaborately dumb but inventive shenanigans that sums up the guys perverse charm. Unlike that contraption, however, whose design flaws are part of the joke, “Night At The Dudeseum”’s frantic moving pieces are intended to pay off, but mostly don’t.
Not that there aren’t some laughs—there are funny actors playing funny characters, their riffing interplay picking up slack where the episode leaves it. As much as the show revels in Adam DeVine’s grinning, manic shtick, his weird little asides are just as funny, here insulting Blake for doubting his lock-picking skills with the comeback “You have a small dick and you carry bobby pins, that’s who you are as a person,” which partakes of Adam’s penchant for couching insults as incontrovertible fact, in order to deflect any anger. In the same scene—where Adam bypasses the museum’s shockingly lax security to obtain what he sees as a Native American pot pipe—Blake’s response, “Let me step back because you’re probably going to get killed by lasers or something,” is another example of the guys’ ability to underplay a laugh. And Ders’ desperate attempts to convince the guys that his “Ders Day” outing to see the “Vikings Of Scandinavia” exhibit isn’t as lame as they claim by reframing it as a caper to steal Erik the Red’s helmet (he purchases one at the gift shop) is a solid excuse for all the shenanigans to come.
But, rewatching the episode, there’s a lot more striving for laughs than laughs. The whole Jurassic Park conceit (a pair of disgruntled dinosaur performers take umbrage at the guys’ interloping) is the sort of big, wacky swing that doesn’t come to much in practice. (The pair’s Jim/Brian Henson subterfuge is worth a chuckle.) The same goes for the recurring bit where the guys keep hiding in the museum’s dioramas, inevitably winding up in compromising poses—it’s too calculatedly crude to be amusing. Rizwan Manji’s prissy, hyperactive assistant museum director scuttles after the guys energetically, but doesn’t add much to the comedy, even when Adam’s long-repressed fart allows the guys to escape from his clutches. At least Adam, Blake, and Ders end up “squashing their beef” and ordering one of everything on the Chili’s menu, thanks to Ders’ gift card, fueling up for next week’s nonsense.
- “You’d better hope there’s a Chili’s To Go in this bitch.”
- Adam gradually reveals/remembers that his mom’s boyfriend (in Adam’s pronunciation, a Dr. JerryLarryBarry) molested him. The guys bury the knowledge with customary short attention spans. And Chili’s.
- “I thought these things were CGI.” “That doesn’t make sense, Adam.”
- Maybe it’s because I’m on both beats, but this episode cribs two ideas right from the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia playbook, and it was distracting. The idea that the guys each have a day where the rest of the gang has to do whatever he says? And the runner about them needing to “squash their beefs,” complete with food jokes about squash and beef? Let’s go “homage” on this one and move on, I guess.
- Review “fart” count: 5.