“Meth Head Actor” gives us two different generations of what Workaholics has been. It starts out as the earliest seasons used to, with pot-fueled action starting these characters up for some misadventure. But then “Meth Head Actor” takes a turn towards the latter seasons, as Ders, Blake and Adam go on their own separate stories, aided by an attention-grabbing cameo. The episode tries to give us that old-school charm of the characters hanging out together, but with separate stories that intertwine at important moments. Unfortunately the story at hand just isn’t all that interesting or exciting.
After getting arrested for going into a police office asking to buy tickets to a murder trial with drug paraphernalia all over them, the three are assigned to go to an narcotics anonymous meeting. Each of them obviously takes this in a different way.
The judge asks Adam if he really wants his legacy to be getting arrested for being an idiot. At the narcotics anonymous meeting, he discovers a journalist from Vice looking for someone on meth to write a story about. Instead of being an idiot, Adam decides he’d rather be a meth head on the cover of a magazine and does everything he can to suck up to the writer. On his way out of the meeting, Blake runs into his old drama teacher Mr. Buckey—played by Andy Dick—and tries to inspire him away from drugs and back onto the stage. For Anders, the judge stated he looks like he should be an upstanding citizen, to which Anders uses the AA opportunity to go undercover and try to bust up a drug ring.
These three stories somewhat intersect to help each other, but in the end, “Meth Head Actor” feels like last week’s “Wolves of Rancho,” where the three guys are just sort of an additional element to the story at hand. Mr. Buckley pretends to be a meth dealer to not only get him back into acting, but to help Adam with his Vice story. Meanwhile Ders does get surprisingly deep with Rancho’s biggest drug dealer Zippo (because he lights people on fire, not because his two best friends he lives with gave him that nickname) and ends up ruining another undercover operation in progress.
So far this season, with “Wolves of Rancho” and “Meth Head Actor,” Workaholics seems to be placing these characters into an idea, then in the third act realizing they have to actually do something with the story. Both weeks, my response to the big scene near the end has been “oh, this is what this was all building to?” It’s not so much surprise as it is just a general fizzling out of the idea near the end. At least with “Meth Head Actor,” we get a decent way to tie all of these stories together and a fun little bow at the end, where these three return to the judge saying “you could have wrote us a fine instead of setting off all these stupid shenanigans.”
But as Workaholics ages, the show allows more freedom to the guest stars in allowing them to go crazy, for better and for worse. So far this season, we’ve already had Dane Cook, Liam Hemsworth and now Andy Dick—all of whom have been pretty decent. This does leave our trio feeling a bit like supporting characters in the story of whichever guest star shows up this week, though. This isn’t the first season where Workaholics has allowed this, but it becomes more obvious when the first two episodes of a season have this problem.
The sixth season of Workaholics has kicked off with two decent, enjoyable episodes, but the opening of “Meth Head Actor” can’t help but make me miss the episodes where these three just got high and had adventures together, rather than separately and with celebrity cameos ready to shake things up. Hopefully these first two episodes are exceptions to the rule and not the new go-to for the Workaholics crew, even if they were quite a bit of crazy fun.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.