Program Critique “Real Time”

I wrote a program critique for Workaholics Season 3, Episode 8 “Real Time” and you can read it here below to check it out.

This episode is different from most other episodes so you should watch and tell me what you think…

After a few “mediocre” episodes in a row during the third season of Workaholics, episode eight, “Real Time”, breaks the streak and becomes one of the most popular episodes of season three. Instead of watching the usual laid-back, office vs. home life problems, “Real Time” is a nice, and funny, change of pace produced by the writers and actors. The episode is shot almost as an action film, cleverly re-enacting scenes from the popular movie from 1994, Speed. While keeping close ties to the workaholics basis of comedy with the one-liners and inaccurate play on words, director Kyle Newacheck took a risk changing many elements of the show, but successfully created one of my personal favorite episodes.

The three main characters in Workaholics are recent college graduates and are having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that their days with college partying are behind them. Anders, Adam, and Blake work their 9 to 5 telemarketing job together and always seem to find a way into trouble, in or out of the office and “Real Time” is no different. This week the boys are drunk on their roof after work when they come up with the idea to give their boss a piece of their mind after she was giving them a rough day at work. Of course drinking in moderation isn’t an option and the guys wind up leaving multiple nasty voicemails to her work phone. When they wake up the next morning, they are still drunk and the episode consist of the guys racing to office by any means of transportation besides driving to delete their messages, and also fighting the arrival of a hangover by continuing to drink alcohol. While this episode is still full of memorable quotes and one-liners, this is also one of the most tense and hardest story driven episodes so far.

The title of the episode, “Real Time”, couldn’t be more fitting to describe how the show is presented to the audience. The concept of “Real Time” means that almost everything that the audience is watching through the 21-minute episode, is exactly what is happening during a 21-minute time span during the show. The episode begins one weekday afternoon after work and as the guys wake up after a night of drinking and possibly getting themselves fired, the concept of real time starts. Anders wakes up in a panic as his phone alarm goes off and he notices how many calls have been made to their boss. For the next 19 minutes, episode viewers witness what is happening in a sped-up version of the next 30-minutes of the character’s lives following Anders waking up on their roof. This is the first time Workaholics has been produced using this strict timeline sequence, but the change of pace worked and became one of the most popular episodes of the season.

As the guys race to the office, driving is not an option because they are all still intoxicated from the night before. As the result, the writers give the audience all new settings as the guys find a new way to work. The guys travel to a liquor store by riding the bus with a group senior citizens which already has unlimited potential to be hilarious. Anders and Blake steal a bike belonging to a teenage girl, or “future babe” as Blake describes her, to get to work as Adam rollerblades and manages to find a way to ride with their boss Alice. These new settings were a comedy gold mine for the creators and actors of the show.

“Real Time” is also filmed and edited similar to an action-movie, which is a brand new concept for the show. While mocking and re-creating scenes from the movie Speed, which is based on saving hostages from a bus that is planted with a bomb, the episode is one of the most tense created so far from the writers. Much of the episode is filmed “on-the-run” as the guys run and camera follows and zooming into a close-up of a character during a dramatic event are new camera movements for the show. A close-up on Anders’s phone is one of the best visual elements of the season as well. As the guys wake up in the room, Anders looks at his phone and a close-up reveals his recent calls list consisting of multiple calls to their boss, Alice Murphy, with the final one started at 2:15 a.m. and call to Rancho Cucamonga Pizza at 1:15 a.m. This close-up also revels that the current time is 8:24 and gives the audience a starting time for the concept of time to begin. The music is of the episode in also much more dramatic than the past including sudden sound effects during dramatic moments and fast paced music played in the background during the race to the office. Mexican music is also played as the guys help load senior citizens to foreshadow the event involving the bus and a Mexican pedestrian crossing the street.

Another element of the episode that adds to the above-average comedy is the use well-known guest stars and connecting audience members to the actor’s real life relationships. As stated earlier, “Real Time” reenacts several scenes from the movie Speed, with the funniest being the use of the same bus driver from the original Speed.  Hawthorne James is the bus driver in the episode and is playing the same role as he did in the movie. Adam also mentions how he is similar to the actor Jason Bateman because they both enjoy rollerblading to work. Although some viewers may be unaware, the main cast of Workaholics is scheduled to appear in the new season of Bateman’s Arrested Development.

The production crew for “Real Time” has created one of the best episodes so far by bringing in the new elements to the storyline. The new camera style effectively created the tense atmosphere and the music and sound effects was the perfect match for what the team was trying to portray. The new settings were comedy gold and using Hawthorne James to “re-play” his bus driver role in a comedy situation was the one the funniest elements of the episode to the viewers who caught on. As the second half of season three is scheduled to premier the beginning of next year, “Real Time” will be one of the top episodes to beat if the writers want to reach a new level of comedy success.

And just for fun: Enjoy this photo from the episode

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