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  • Riley
    Oct 11th, 2010

    Man Seeking Woman is the Best Show That You Did Not Know Existed
    By Riley Chow, Gold Derby


    The first season of Man Seeking Woman aired on FXX a few months
    ago.  It was
    the definition of “under the radar” with 0.2 million viewers, which is a shame because it was just about
    the funniest thing on television this past year.

    A surreal half-hour comedy that plays loose with its narrative, the
    absurdist style of Man Seeking Woman will admittedly not be for everyone, but it
    is nothing if not unique.  This is one
    where the less you know, the better, so suffice it to say that two episodes is
    all that it takes for a full understanding.

    On the surface, Man Seeking Woman is a dating comedy grounded by a
    reliable performance from Jay Baruchel (This is the End) in the well-meaning and awkward everyman
    role that he often inhabits.  Based on a book of short stories by Simon
    Rich, a sketch series was the more obvious route for adaptation, given that the
    shorts only connect thematically and also given Rich’s background as the
    second-youngest writer ever on Saturday Night Live.  Instead, Rich assembled a dream team to bring
    his book to television as a sitcom with sketch tendencies.

    Lorne Michaels is executive producer now to both Saturday Night Live and Man
    Seeking Woman
    and he brings an assortment of former and current staffers from
    the former to guest star.  Jonathan
    Krisel from Portlandia is lead director; Ian Maxtone-Graham is on the writing
    staff after two decades on The Simpsons, as is Robert Padnick, who was
    WGA-nominated for his writing debut: “PDA”, the funniest episode of the later
    seasons of The Office.

    Of course, the two episodes submitted for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
    are the two by Sofia Alvarez—her first screenplays.  She shares credit with Rich on one; the other
    is the season’s penultimate episode, in which the show cleverly reinvents
    itself to flesh out the overachieving sister played by Britt Lower (Unforgettable) and give her
    all that one could ever ask for in an Emmy submission for Outstanding
    Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.  The title sequence
    is even rearranged as “Woman Seeking Man” to mark the occasion.

    Main Title Design is unfortunately the only aspect of this hilarious and
    innovative series that stands a chance at Emmy recognition, as that category is
    consistently kind to programs that are snubbed everywhere else.  Drawn in black-and-white outlines reminiscent
    of 2010’s Emmy-winning Bored to Death sequence, the titles perfectly
    capture the spirit of the show by giving simple dating icons a fantastical

    This is a show that deserves double-digit nominations when factoring in
    the below-the-line races.  Reflecting the
    sketch sensibilities, episodes frequently feature entirely new locales
    with creatively dressed sets and characters; this is a rare sitcom with visual
    flair.  Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) was inexplicably cast
    as an old man in the pilot when a real old man would have sufficed; if the
    Oscars could overcome whatever bias that they had against Bad Grandpa to
    recognize that makeup, the Emmys owe the prosthetics team of Man Seeking Woman
    a nomination.

    Hailed as “TV’s smartest new comedy” by The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon,
    “always engrossing and smart” by Yahoo’s Ken Tucker and “refreshingly new
    and bafflingly different” by Newsday’s
    Verne Gay, among other raves, FX has sent all ten episodes to Emmy voters, so hopefully, they take note.

    Sep 17th, 2013

    This is a really interesting show with a premise that is being refreshed every other episode of the first season.

    The pilot remains in my mind as a fine example of writing that points out the meaning of passive aggressiveness in our relationships.

    Teacup (109) is the magnum-opus of the show, in my opinion and deserves the article itself, Riley.Good job!

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    Oct 11th, 2010

    I told you all to watch Review last year and my new underappreciated comedy recommendation is Man Seeking Woman!  It is admittedly not as strong as Review, but I do prefer it to any drama that I have seen this past season.

    The second episode “Traib” was my favourite of the season because of the text deliberation scene that guest starred a hilarious Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica.  It was what I and Os suggested to helmetz for him to watch in the “Please Help an Emmy Voter” thread, but it looks like FX did not submit it.  “Teacup” is kind of the magnum opus of the show because it was more or less the other nine episodes compressed into one for the change in perspective, but I kind of feel weird supporting it because it is such a break from format that the main character of the show only cameos at the beginning and end of it.  Their other writing submission “Dram” is a funny episode, but it strikes me as too weird for a first-time viewer.  I spoke to Jay Baruchel a couple of days ago and his favourite episode is actually “Branzino”.  That interview will be posted in a few days and it was possibly my most fun one yet.  It must have been our connection as skinny young pale Canadian guys with dark hair.

    That user Os also said in the “Winner Tapes From Actors That Won’t Be Nominated” thread that Baruchel could win, but I think that that is a bit of a stretch.  It feels like he is just playing himself, so he just barely makes my top six for his category.  I really do feel that this deserves ten nominations though: series, writing, directing, lead actor, supporting actress, costume design, picture editing, production design, prosthetic makeup and title design.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Oct 11th, 2010

    Did anyone ever take my advice here?  The second season is more than half over and it is falling short of the first season, although it still has moments of greatness like in this year’s “Woman Seeking Man” episode with Santa Claus.  Last week’s “Honey” has been the season’s most consistent and creative entry, somehow going from equating Josh’s wooing of his coworker with a nationwide run for president to Fred Armisen as a gluten-intolerant Jesus to an extended flashback about Josh’s father’s bear-like hibernation and kidnapping into the circus.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 15th, 2013

    I adore this show and its creativity. I didn’t really understand it the first few episodes and unfortunately dropped it out of forgetting to set the Tivo but I caught up on some of season one and am watching season two in full and it really is excellent

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