“She will continue to haunt you as long as you still love her.”
Communication is everything, right? Especially on a show like Man Seeking Woman, which is so concerned with making human connections and bonding for life. We all want someone to read (or not read) “Infinite Jest” with and quote Jerry Maguire to. We all want that sort of woman who has nice eyes—the kind you want to stare longingly at or cum right into. So for something that so many shows about dating either take for granted or blow all out of proportion, Man Seeking Woman goes the latter route, but in such a beautiful, different sort of way.
To kick all of this off though, Josh tries to move on past Maggie, despite the idea of her still haunting him. And not just figuratively. At first it’s simply in her name echoing through Josh’s vacuous apartment, but then literally her remaining items begin floating and gravitating towards him. Regardless of Josh getting back out there in the dating world, it’s all going to be pointless unless he can move on past Maggie. And naturally, on a show like this, that means hiring an exorcist to stop Maggie and all of her lingering possessions from haunting him.
Watching Mike (Eric Andre) translate on the fly what the exorcist is saying is some great comic fodder, but seeing them both scream at Josh in tandem is even better. Everyone is giving some great, tense performances, as if actual demons are in their home rather than stuffed hearts and pink razors. Just as much humor is coming from the acting as there is from the special effects and surrealism that’s going on.
Surprisingly, this exorcism material with Maggie haunting Josh only consumes the first act of the episode, quickly solving the problem and moving on with Josh’s love life. What follows is some inspired problem solving as Josh and Mike with a full-out military staff are transported to a War Room as they try to break down the science of the perfect text message to get Josh forward here. The sequence was already smart and hitting all the right Dr. Strangelove buttons, but then Mike launches into a lengthy, specific dick pic manifesto, going through all of the variables and why he is right in his approach. It’s a real piece.
This right here is exactly why this show works so well. A simple sequence with Josh and Mike going over text etiquette listlessly on the couch would be boring and what every single other dating show is doing. Here though, we treat it like it’s nuclear launch codes being handled. Shots are taken before decisions are made with the results broadcasting across the world. This is how to subvert conventions. This is how to make a fresh show. Two episodes in, the series already has such a distinct voice established. It’s actually exciting to think about simple, mundane dating topics and how this show is going to twist them around. That’s a rare trait to have.
When Josh is on his date (which happens to be with a beyond bubbly Vanessa Bayer), he finds the only thing that comes up are unrealistic romantic comedies—fabricated stories to embellish love as they attempt to do the same on their date. And when things end up not going well, he’s stuck explaining his disappointment to the head violin player. This is as intimate a moment as Josh gets, and even then, it’s with someone who is one fraction of a quartet.
He’s only got a piece of the whole.