Even though nothing is official yet, this fifth season of Workaholics—easily the series’ best season—has felt like it’s been building to the end. After a frustratingly childish fourth season, Adam, Anders and Blake hit the fifth season hard with a surprising amount of growth. The trio has become more tolerant, more aware of the effect that their antics have caused and have even questioned their current paths on several occasions. Workaholics used to feel like it was a cartoon that would reset its craziness each week, but now it feels like a show with character development and increasing maturity.
Yet considering how great an improvement this season has been, there still hasn’t been any renewal for Workaholics. Their ratings have hit an all-time low this season and have remained under a million viewers for most of the season. Almost every season prior received renewal for the next season only a week or so after the current season’s premiere. Now, we’re at the end of season five with no news, even though Adam DeVine has said that they’d like to do a few more seasons, it’s not looking so good for the future of the Workaholics. Yet if this is the last we ever see of the Workaholics, “TAC in the Day” is pretty much the perfect way to send these three packing.
After a TelAmeriCorp coworker eats one of the guy’s weed cookies, freaks out and runs through a glass door, Alice has no choice but to finally fire Adam, Blake and Ders. As a last ditch attempt to keep their jobs, they tell the story of how Alice got their job thanks to them, all the way back in 2008. Back then, Anders wanted to be known as Ice Holmvik—cause his raps are so cold—trying his best to mimic Kanye’s look and making his own brand of jeans known as Raw-wegian. Ice was hired at TAC and Blake and Adam just dropped out of college and just sort of started hanging out there as well. Their boss George Burkeman, played by a great Tom Arnold, is an overly optimistic guy that just wants to do his best.
“TAC in the Day” takes the opportunity to answer a bunch of questions that we never even knew we had. For example, we finally get a reason as to why the group hates Montez. Originally, Adam saw him as the funniest guy in the office and wanted Tez to take him on as his funniness mentor. In reality, Montez was just recreating YouTube videos prior to Adam’s acceptance of the internet, making Adam look like a fool.
But most interesting is the evolution of Alice, who has always been the underrated gem of Workaholics. When we first meet her, she’s a complete rebel, sleeping with Mark McGrath, offering to deprogram the guys after their orientation with Burkeman and hanging out with her drug dealer friend Jillian that lives in a ramshackle tent outside the office. She’s basically the dream girl of Adam, Blake and Anders, which sort of makes their affection for her and their slight respect make all the more sense.
Alice offers to sleep with them before she leaves TAC for her new job waitressing at Mimi’s. She can’t take Burkeman anymore and the company’s dental insurance paid for her to get braces, but now they won’t pay for her to get them off, so she’s leaving the company. The three decide to help her get rid of Burkeman so she’ll stick around.
The guy’s plan sort of doesn’t make any sense, which of course doesn’t really matter at all. The guys decide to help Burkeman make a video for the office, which could become viral and make them stars. The video is a straight ripoff of viral videos of the time, from “Lazy Sunday” to Chocolate Rain and the Mini-Mall guy. It especially feels like a ripoff of The Office episode “The Merger,” where Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute made a very similar video as well. Yet despite all the work they do on the video, when the regional manager arrives, the video that plays is actually a porno starring Burkeman and Bill’s wife, who is a pornstar. This doesn’t exactly make sense since the entire episode has the three assuming that Bill is a pornstar known as The Moleman due to a mole on his penis and keep attempting to figure out if it really is him. Yet when they play the video that they’ve clearly used to get Burkeman fired, they’re all shocked to learn that The Moleman is actually Burkeman. Why would they play this video instead if they didn’t already realize that The Moleman was Burkeman?
That doesn’t really matter though, since the real greatness of “TAC in the Day” comes from the episode as an origin story. We see with Burkeman gone, Alice is offered the job of new branch manager, with $72,000 a year and full dental. Almost immediately, the position of power goes to her head, causing her to completely disregard her past self and the bond that she seemed to have formed with the three guys. The flashback ends by creating a perfect loop on the entire series, with Alice promising mandatory drug tests coming soon, which sets up the very first episode of the series. Of course once the flashback is done, this still isn’t enough for Alice to let them keep their jobs, so they remind her that she also had sex with Ders on her desk not so long ago, which ends up being the detail that lets them keep their jobs.
Even if Workaholics does get renewed—and after this season I sort of hope that it does—”TAC in the Day” is a perfect conclusion to the show by revealing more than we ever knew about our characters, adding some depth to these relationships and catching us up with the office prior to what we saw in the series premiere. By going back to the start, “TAC in the Day” feels like a great place to stop.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.