'Man Seeking Woman' season 1, episode 4 review: 'Dram'

Man Seeking Woman is, for my money, one of the funniest and most original new series on TV right now. That said, however, this week's "Dram" feels like it's borrowing a little too much from its own well. It's still got some great ideas, and as it goes along it comes up with some wonderful comedy set pieces and strong writing. But there's something oddly repetitive about this week's episode that can't make it reach up to its past works.

Don't take this to be me giving up on the show by any means. FXX's new sitcom still keeps me rolling, and there's something worth noting about a TV program who gets inspired by Invasion of the Body Snatchers to explain the woes of getting set up on a blind date. But from its cold-opening centered on Josh's (Jay Baruchel) sister Liz (Britt Lower) creating a public-service announcement to get girls to date her brother to the aforementioned blind date dinner, it comes across as Man Seeking Woman and its showcreator Simon Rich scattering for fresh ideas.

I mean, that kind of public service announcement joke has been done countless times on YouTube and other platforms already. Plus, there's only so many jokes you can make about blind dates, and a lot of them were made already in the pilot However, some great jokes are made during the blind date bit when it initially begins roaring. A sight gag involving a painting is not new, but its execution here is fresh and lively. The editor and performers have strong comedic timing this week, which ultimately helps sell the bottom line, but there's still a sense Man Seeking Woman is beyond this already.

Now that I've laid my criticisms down, I'm happy to say I can finally get to what I actually enjoyed about this episode. After a fairly ho-hum first half, "Dram" really kicks into gear in its second. A torture scene, where Josh's mother holds her son hostage and tortures him with electric shocks until he spill the beans on his potential new girlfriend, his blind date Maude (Maria Thayer), encapsulates everything Man Seeking Woman should be. It's sharp, high-minded, unusual and, oddly enough, extremely relatable. It's the first moment "Dram" really kicks itself back into high-gear.

Equally as inspired and creative is the aftermath of Josh's commitment to Maude, where her super clingy nature causes Josh to go as far as to unintentionally fake his own death. Thanks, once again, to its imaginative writing, — created to Rich and Sofia Alvarez this week — this segment has all the trappings of making Josh look like a complete jerk, yet still makes you relate and root for him to not get burned to death at his own funeral. The fact that I can type a sentence like that once a week is yet another reason why I continue to be enamored with Rich's series.

While "Dram" is ultimately more amusing than it is funny — especially compared to Man Seeking Woman's predecessor episodes — it's still innovative, engaging, heartfelt and super enjoyable. There's a lot to like about Josh's surreal plight towards finding love, and even if the wheels are starting to burn out, there's proof here that Man Seeking Woman has at least some mileage to go before it complete wipes out.

Image courtesy of Peter West/ACE/INFphoto.com

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