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Man Seeking Woman
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Man Seeking Woman is a surreal comedy about a man looking for love. The show's vibe is generally sweet and lovable, thanks to Hollywood's go-to hapless underdog, Jay Baruchel, but sexual situations abound. Characters use an app to search for nearby sexual partners, the looks of potential dates are rated ("fat, fat, ugly, fat"), and female characters often are presented less sympathetically than their male counterparts. Absurd moments include a party hosted by the real, 126-year-old Adolf Hitler and a date with an actual troll. There's lots of unbleeped cursing including "hell" and "s--t," plus jokes about female body parts. Comic violence is common; even the opening credits depict a cartoon decapitation with dripping blood. The show's quirky angle sets it apart from many "goofy guy looking for love" shows, but it's definitely for mature teens only.
What's the story?
In the absurd comedy MAN SEEKING WOMAN, Josh Greenburg (Jay Baruchel) has just parted from his longtime girlfriend Maggie (Maya Erskine) and is interested in finding someone new. Bolstered with advice from his ladies'-man pal Mike (Eric Andre) and sister Liz (Britt Lower), Josh is willing to try it all. He looks for love using a mobile app, accepts a blind date with a real-life Scandinavian troll (she's just moved to Chicago to run her nonprofit and lives under a bridge, naturally), and weathers attacks from sex aliens when he finally finds a decent woman to hook up with.
Is it any good?
Jay Baruchel, who's always been the kind of adorable underdog people want to root for on-screen, is the perfect actor to maroon in the bizarro plot twists Man Seeking Woman throws at the audience. He's relatable and believable even when he's having an exorcism performed on his apartment to get rid of his ex-girlfriend's psychic influence or sending a woman a text so clumsy he's routed to the Center for Important Emergencies. His comic skill and warmth give the audience a solid anchor to hold onto throughout the deep weirdness.
If only Josh's female counterparts were given as much attention. The main flaw of this funny show is that it sets up Josh as "Our Hero" and the women he encounters as simply "Types." Yes, it's hilarious when his "Crazy Ex" Maggie tells Josh that her "relationship with Dolphy" (literally an 126-year-old Hitler) isn't any of his business, but when we're treated to so much of Josh's backstory and inner life, it doesn't sit quite right to have female characters be such tropes -- in one case, literally a mute, hairy, gray troll from the forests of Norway. The whole "What's the deal with women?" theme has already been played out many times on television; the show is slightly less fresh for dragging it out, even though the ultraweird execution certainly gives it an edge. Fewer stereotypes and a continued dose of absurdity could help Man Seeking Woman strike the perfect comedic balance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why so many shows and movies center on a character looking for love. Why is love such a common topic for comedies? Why do you think this character is having such a difficult time?
Is the audience supposed to like Josh? What about the women he dates? How can you tell?