Man Seeking Woman Season 2 Episode 2 Review: “Feather”

Man Seeking Woman

My favorite thing about Man Seeking Woman is its uniqueness; there truly isn’t any other show like it on television. It’s a comedy that utilizes completely surreal situations to accurately portray the heightened emotions we all feel as we struggle with the ups and downs of the dating world, and if that sounds ambitious, that’s because it is. Man Seeking Woman is one of the most ambitious shows on TV; sometimes that ambition leads to wonderfully funny and insightful episodes, while other times it can cause the show to lose its sense of character and emotion in its desire to do something original.

For the most part, “Feather” is the funny and insightful version of Man Seeking Woman. Josh’s intimacy struggles with Claire allow for the show to be insanely wacky, as Man Seeking Woman embraces its zaniness with the talking condom and the “Kyle”; however, the comedy never loses sight of what the main issue is: Josh’s insecurity. Both the talking condom, who keeps pressuring Josh to sleep with Claire before he goes past his expiration date, and the “Kyle” reflect his ever-present self-consciousness. He’s not sure which moment is the right one to make a move, so he needs the condom’s advice, and the “Kyle” is literally a manifestation of his  overwhelming fear and feelings of inadequacy, which begin to overtake him when he can’t satisfy Claire in bed.

The first two-thirds of “Feather” are Man Seeking Woman firing on all cylinders. The talking condom (who sprouts angel wings and flies up to heaven after Josh finally uses him) is one of the weirdest and most hilarious gags the series has ever given us. Meanwhile, the “Kyle” serves as a great, heightened representation of what we all worry about when we can’t give our partner what they need (whether it be physically or emotionally) in a relationship. What if he or she could simply go to a store and find something or someone to replace us? It’s a terrifying thought, and Man Seeking Woman has its fun with the “Kyle” (his constant nudity, his accent, the top hat he wears at the end of the episode) without ever shortchanging Josh’s experience. His disgust and frustration is real and palpable and relatable, and amidst all the jokes, there’s some great insight here into a universal fear that almost all people experience at one point or another.

Where “Feather” loses me a little bit is in its final act, when Claire is revealed to be “Not Joshero Sexual,” a sexual orientation that simply means that she’s not attracted to Josh. Personally, I find this to be a clever idea with some pretty poor execution, as the humor never reaches the riotous levels of the first two storylines, and we lose the close, thoughtful insight into Josh’s emotions that we had earlier in the episode, as those moments are traded in for jokes about the porn on Claire’s computer and an entire “Not Joshero Sexual” pride parade.

Still though, it’s an admirable effort from Man Seeking Woman, as the series attempts to deconstruct the BS idea that is “the friend zone” in a way that only a show like it can. In fact, those final moments between Josh and Claire, when they make plans to attend a horror movie marathon together as friends, almost redeem the rest of the third act for me. Unfortunately, the events here make “Feather” feel too stuffed; the ambitious nature of Man Seeking Woman causes the episode to become a little crowded and cluttered before Josh and Claire’s conversation, but it’s only a minor issue in what is otherwise another superb episode of one of TV’s funniest and smartest comedies. I can’t wait to see what kind of craziness the writers have in store for us next week.

Other thoughts:

  • I didn’t mention it above, but the opening scene of this episode, where Josh makes a girl die from boredom, is fantastic. Even though most of it has been shown in trailers for this season, the surprise of Mike almost dying as well, only to be saved by the doctor, was hilarious.
  • I still can’t get over the talking condom and how amazing he was. I want him to come back.
  • After the condom gets his angel wings and begins flying up to heaven, he says “Loretta, I’m coming home,” and that one stupid line makes the absurd scene even better.
  • Wishing Kyle and his top hat all the best in Sydney!
  • “You make an old condom smile.”
  • Blaise is on vacation this week, which is why I’m filling in for him on tonight’s episode, but he’ll be back reviewing Man Seeking Woman next week. I really, really like this show, and it was fun to have the chance to write about it. I hope you all enjoyed my thoughts!

[Photo credit: Michael Gibson/FX]

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