Man Seeking Woman starts simply enough: In one of the least eventful or fraught television breakups in a while, Josh Greenberg (Jay Baruchel) shakes the hand of his now ex-girlfriend of four years, Maggie (Maya Erskine), and leaves her apartment carrying his belongings and his pet lizard, Isaac Newton.
Josh is clearly the harder hit of the two, but he puts on a brave face until the series betrays his mood by introducing its first touch of fantasy, a The Truman Show-style individual rain storm that beats down on Josh and sends pigeons to their doom.
Josh soldiers through one-night stands, painful break-ups, a blind date with a troll, time travel, sex aliens, many deaths and a Japanese penis monster named Tanaka on his fantastical journey to find love.
Starring alongside Baruchel are Eric André (The Eric André Show) as Mike, Josh’s confident and daring best friend; Britt Lower (Unforgettable) as Liz, Josh’s intimidating older sister; and Maya Erskine (Betas) as Maggie, the ex-girlfriend Josh can never quite forget.
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Josh has dated his share of trolls, aliens, cars, and even a super hot chick.
Her assertion they’ll be good together and delight at describing their date to a third party is key to the scene’s success, as are the restaurant patrons’ stunned reactions to Josh’s behavior.
The date isn’t terrible because Josh is out with a troll, it’s terrible because he’s apparently out with a troll who can run a non-profit but won’t contribute to the conversation at all and who overreacts to Josh’s poor word choice and physically attacks him as the restaurant patrons continue to eat, unconcerned.
Anyone who’s bitterly watched an ex move on knows Josh’s pain at watching Maggie cavort with Adolf Hitler, and anyone who has put themselves out there expecting rejection knows the elation of actually hearing, “Oh, sure.” This pilot has its flaws, but its whimsical tone and creativity more than make up for most of them.
The opening’s rain storm may effectively tease what’s to come, but it’s Josh’s dinner with Gorbachaka that announces the show’s full intentions.
Rather than try to express that idea in words, why not give teens’ common anxieties and fears life and breath, monsters that can be slayed and cathartically overcome?