Man Seeking Woman is a unique surrealist romantic comedy TV series, created in 2015 by Saturday Night Live alumn Simon Rich, and based on his book The Last Girlfriend on Earth. If you’re wondering why you should watch this show, here are the reasons:
Josh (Jay Baruchel) is a naive romantic with a low-level job, who wants to find love after his girlfriend dumps him. That synopsis could be any TV show; the greatness of Man Seeking Woman is how it tackles those stories with surrealism and over-the-top logic to show the feelings Josh is going through. In the first episode, his sister Liz (Britt Lower) sets him up on a blind date with a troll. An actual troll who lives under a bridge. When he learns his ex is dating again, he thinks the guy must be the worst person in the world, and he’s right, as she’s now dating Adolf Hitler (in an incredible cameo by Bill Hader).
In the second episode, after he scores a girl’s phone number on the subway, Josh is celebrated and even gets a phone call from President Obama, congratulating him. Those are the kinds of ideas Man Seeking Woman does so well; getting real emotion, and showing the insight that happens in the world of dating, and taking it to its most definitive, surprising conclusion. The show does surreal romance, but also friendship, growing up, and it even has an episode per season dedicated to Liz, and all the double standards that women face in their romantic relationships. As people do in life, the show also evolves during its three seasons, creating new conflicts and stories that show Josh growing up as a person, and as a romantic partner, creating a TV series full of laughs, but also with heart.
About the show, creator Simon Rich told Show Biz Junkies: “The first season, we were really focused on just establishing the rules of the show, establishing the world and its surreal point of view. This year, now that we’ve built the world, and introduced it, we’re mainly focused on character development and trying to flesh out our protagonists and their relationships with one another, and also to put those relationships to the test.”
Simon Rich had the career every writing comedian wants. He went to Harvard, started working as a writer on Saturday Night Live, got short stories in The New Yorker, and published a couple of books with those stories. And he did all of that before turning 30. After he left SNL, she created and ran Men Seeking Woman.
Rich’s surreal humor is what always made him different, tackling generic ideas with his internal logic and making them laugh-out-loud funny with stories and sketches. That’s why he was so good on SNL, where he wrote many times with John Mulaney. This show was his first TV project, but he hasn’t stopped working, as he’s the creator and showrunner of Miracle Workers with Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe, which also uses his surreal ideas. The creator has kept writing short stories and books. The most recent one, New Teeth, centers around being a new dad and includes stories such as the one where a one-year-old kid, becomes a noir detective who must discover who is the new femme fatale (it’s her newborn sister). Whatever he does next for us, Rich has season tickets, as we’ll watch and read everything that comes from his surreal, one-of-a-kind mind.
A show with that many genre-changing ideas wouldn’t work without an incredible cast that was game for everything. Thankfully, the Man Seeking Woman cast was all-in for the challenge and nailed their parts. The show starred Jay Baruchel (This Is the End), Eric André (The Eric Andre Show), Britt Lower (Severance), and in its third season, Katie Findlay (The Killing). Baruchel was the perfect everyman, who is timid and prefers smoking weed at home with his best friend Mike (André), over trying to talk to girls at clubs, and perfectly imbues the pathos, and sometimes pathetic nature of his character.
André was perfect for this, as his sense of humor in The Eric André Show had de same kind of absurd, unique energy. Although he played the best friend, André also had some meaty episodes for himself, especially when, after years of hooking up with any and every woman, he falls in love and starts a relationship. The other most important character is Liz, Josh’s sister, who gives the woman’s point of view. It’s a role that already showed how good Britt Lower could be at mixing genres and finding the truth in the most surreal of feelings. Those are the same abilities that have made her one of the stars of Severance, and we can’t wait for what happens in that show’s second season.
In the last season, Katie Findlay was an important part of the show in a role that we won’t spoil, but that made the series even better, and finding new ways to find the laughs in what happens to Josh and company, making it the best season of all. Not many shows get better with age, but this one did, even with all of their surprising, unexpected stories. About the evolution of the show, creator Simon Rich told IndieWire: “In our second season we tried to expand the world a bit further, but [Season 3] really feels like an ensemble, like we’re really coming at our stories from a variety of perspectives, and I think this show is much richer and rewarding as a result.”
If you love to laugh, surrealism tickles your fancy, and are a romantic at heart, we can’t recommend this series enough. It’s so good that we’re going to start our re-watch right now.