While Adam, Blake and Anders have grown far more mature in this fifth season than ever before, I’d also say that this season has easily been the most heartwarming for these three. Somehow they’ve finally found the right mixture of childish pranks and focus on friendship and camaraderie, a perfectly calibrated combo that’s rarely infused this show prior to this season. “The Slum”—a rare episode written by Adam Devine—is able to take Adam, the most difficult of the three main characters, and turn him into a sympathetic sad-sack with low self-esteem that you can actually root for.
Adam is by far the roughest character consistently on Workaholics, mostly because he’s the easiest to go over-the-top and get incredibly frustrating very easy. In “The Slump,” we see Adam as his exact opposite: Sadam CryMamp. After three months as the best salesman at the office, Adam loses his title, his Top Gun hat and the $40 Bass Pro gift card that the position awards, after the company discovered his incredibly racist phone characters. After being called a fat phony, Adam DeMamp beomes Sadam CryMamp, the depressed version of Adam, who was last seen after Entourage got cancelled, making Adam avoid taking a shower for three months.
Sadam is actually a nice change for Adam, who is usually so high-energy. I’s great to get some deviation from his most distinguishing trait. It’s also strangely nice to know that Adam actually cares about his job, so much so that the slightest insulting of his career causes him to go into a severe depression. Usually the office is just seen as another place for these three to screw around, but between this and last week’s episode, maybe their jobs mean more to them than it would seem.
Speaking of caring, it’s always great to see these friends caring for each other and helping them when they’re down. I think with this season, these three are finally seeing just how much they mean to each other, which is a topic Devine also tried to tell in the last episode he wrote, season four’s “Friendship Anniversary.”
In “The Slump,” Blake and Anders start off by pretending to be an interested caller—named Mr. Dick Blownoff—to boost Adam’s attitude and his sales. While their secondary goal is to get Adam interested in going to the Rancho Land Booze Cruise—where the boat is a bus—Adam’s new connection with Mr. Blownoff leads him to invite the imaginary character instead. To keep up appearances, Karl hooks them up with an actor, Ryan Gaul, who trained at the Groundlings under Jim Rash, to be the real Dick.
What has really come out this season is a true friendship and love between these three guys and the show has become much better for it. Instead of focusing episodes on some crazy schemes, we’ve seen the show more interested in character and the dynamics between these three. While a show like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—maybe the most similar show to Workaholics—doesn’t care that much about being liked, reveling in hatred, Workaholics finds the strength in friendship and frankly being nice. The result has been one of Workaholics’ finest seasons, and as it comes to a close, it’s become their most likable as well.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.