Man Seeking Woman
10:30 p.m. Wednesday, FXX
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The opening scene of the new comedy “Man Seeking Woman” replicates the start of the classic TV version of “The Odd Couple”: A man is sent packing by his partner who has clearly reached the end of her rope.
From that point on, though, “Man” follows its own wacky and surreal course as Josh Greenberg (Jay Baruchel) walks down an otherwise sunny street getting drenched by his own personal overhead rain cloud, dodging a few pigeons plummeting to their deaths along the way.
Things get weirder from there in the half-hour sitcom premiering Wednesday on FXX, the edgier younger sibling of FX.
It’s not just pigeons plummeting in “Man Seeking Woman.” Josh’s life spirals earthward as well after the breakup with Maggie (Maya Erskine). Months go by. His best friend, Mike Bunk (Eric Andre), tries to break him out of his lethargy and get him back into the dating world. His overachiever sister, Liz (Britt Lower) sets him up on a blind date with a troll. That isn’t a nasty epithet. His date is a real, lives-under-a-bridge troll.
It doesn’t go well.
Later Josh goes to Maggie’s apartment for a party, foolishly believing that her invitation means they will get back together. He’s dismayed to find that Maggie is already seeing someone – an older man, as it turns out, much, much older – and it’s pretty serious. His name is Adolf Hitler (guest star Bill Hader) and he still likes Wagner. Jews like Josh? Not so much.
Briefly – or for a while, depending on how un-hip you are – you wait for the revelation that this is all some dream sequence, or for some other tenuous lifeline to the real world.
The show was created by Simon Rich, one of columnist Frank’s wunderkind sons and a former writer for “Saturday Night Live” whose creator, Lorne Michaels, is “Man/Woman’s” executive producer. You probably would have figured out the “SNL” connection anyway from the list of guest stars: Vanessa Bayer, Hader, Fred Armisen.
In the long run, what makes the show itself work is the cast, especially Baruchel and Andre.
The whole sad-sack-looking-for-love thing has been a staple of film and TV for years. The unknown is whether, over time, this whole conceit becomes too precious. Where will it go from the two episodes FXX sent to critics?
FXX is still somewhat of a boutique channel. FX has moved some of its shows there in the past in an effort to draw a bigger audience.
“Man Seeking Woman” may just be enough to seed a bigger audience for FXX, especially a younger audience, suicidal pigeons notwithstanding.