Episode & Script Structure

Script from “Old Man Ders” (Season 2, Episode 5)

Edit: (3/19/13) I have been breaking down the structure like crazy. The show works mostly in a 4-act structure (separated by commercials) with a few exceptions. This episode uses the 4 act structure, but I will leave this post up (even though incorrect) for the additional information.

I’ve never analyzed a television show like I have for Workaholics. After doing a little research and learning some of the basics of screen writing for television, I’ve been able to dissect episodes, scene-by-scene, and understand the process by which these ideas become scripts then the final product. The time and effort put into these 21-22 minutes episodes is almost mind blowing (for me at least).

Workaholics as a whole follows the adventures of Anders, Adam, and Blake as they combine work & play at home and the office and then usually one or two completely new scenes and settings per episode. I’ve broken down several episodes for the purpose of learning about the screenwriting process and a solid example from the show comes from the episode “Temp-Tress” (Season 2, Episode 3).

Television sitcoms usually contain 1 main storyline (“A” Storyline) throughout the 3-act episode and two more subplots (“B” & “C” Storylines) and Workaholics is no exception. This show usually contains around 18-20 individual scenes/settings with the “A” storyline usually present in some way in every scene. The “B” and “C” storylines are added to create some type of humor and conflict and eventually ties into the main storyline. These sub-storylines usually take up around 8-10 scenes with the main storyline present in the some of the scenes as well.  Let’s breakdown the episode:


Episode summary: When the guys plan to host WrestleMania at their house, they come across a major problem when Adam breaks the TV and they need a new one.  The guys compete with the office in a sales contest to win a refrigerator with a TV monitor on the door but that becomes a problem when the new temp is too hot for the guys to concentrate.

Storyline “A”:  The guy’s quest to win a new TV for their living room.

Storyline “B”: The guy’s fight for Naomi’s (temp) attention and love.

Storyline “C”: Jillian (office secretary) tries to become best friends with the new temp.

This episode mainly takes place inside the Telamericorp office with the exception of the opening and closing scenes at their house. I can breakdown the scenes and storylines by acts:


Scenes: Home (living room, roof), The Office (conference room, their cubicle, Naomi’s cubicle, break room, Alice’s office)

Storylines: A (4/10 scenes), B (4/10 scenes), C (3/10 scenes)


Scenes: Office (Alice’s office, parking lot {car}, guy’s cubicle)

Storylines: A (4/5 scenes), B (4/5 scenes), C (1/5 scenes)


Scenes: Office (guy’s cubicle, Montez’s cubicle, Alice’s office {outside}, parking lot) Home (living room)

Storylines: A (6/6 scenes), B (1/6 scenes), C (1/6 scenes)


3 responses

  1. Just a quick addendum to this though I know it’s an old post. Workaholics generally works in a 4 Act structure. Cold Open 4 acts, no tag. They use a 3 act structure occasionally but it’s mostly 4. Especially, this episode. I have the network draft.

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