Working hard or hardly working?
ARMY OF ME () - May 21, 2011 - 12:00am

When it comes to workplace sitcoms, there are those, like The Office and 30 Rock , that start off shaky but eventually keep viewers — and critics — laughing for seasons.

There are also shows you either get or you don’t, like Parks & Recreation ; and those that seem pretty promising but are actually exquisitely unfunny, like Outsourced . Then there’s Workaholics.

Generational touchstones like Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba and Nickelodeon’s Double Dare are just some of the sitcom’s pop culture references.

Produced by Comedy Central — home to The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and the long-running South Park – the scripted, single-camera series is about Blake (Blake Anderson), Adam (Adam Devine), and Anders (Anders Holm), a trio of slacker college grads in a generic cube farm. The twentysomethings, along with the show’s director Kyle Newacheck, are part of an obscure collective of Los Angeles-based sketch performers called Mail Order Comedy. All that could change, of course, if Workaholics manages to resonate with its target demographic.

With references to sexting, pot and growing up in the ’90s, the month-old program — it debuted in April — is awesomely quotable to anyone relatively new to the 9-to-5 treadmill. In my estimation, no other TV comedy has snuck in generational touchstones like Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba and Nickelodeon’s Double Dare into its script quite as effortlessly and ninja-like as Workaholics. (Hey, it coaxed ex-Double Dare host Marc Summers into making a cameo.) It’s because Blake, Adam and Anders are both its masterminds and its stars. They have taken elements of people you know, amplified them, and crafted well-acted man-child archetypes out of them. Bottom line: it’s relatable.

The low-budget charm fits in nicely with the time in one’s life that Workaholics represents: that limbo period between college and full-on adult life. Had it been slicker, the show would have lost its cred; if it were scruffier, however, it would’ve been annoying. I guess it’s fair to say that it takes a light look at the harsh reality for most twentysomethings in entry-level positions, from the struggle to make rent to the dilemma of not really knowing what to do with one’s life.

Truth be told, after downloading the first couple episodes, I was reluctant to sit through them despite the thumbs-up from discerning friends. I was expecting a half-assed sitcom about lame stoners, but I’m glad I was wrong. In the Venn diagram of comedy, Workaholics is in that intersection between an SNL digital short and a Judd Apatow movie. It does bring on more belly laughs as it goes along, so it clearly has potential.

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