The New Season of 'I Think You Should Leave' Has More Comedic Fury Than Ever — But That Might Not Be A Good Thing
Two cars screech to a halt in the trailer for Season Three of Tim Robinson’s hilarious I Think You Should Leave. Robinson, as always, is in a panic for no discernible reason. “Stop, stop!” he screeches at the other car’s driver. “I’M DOING SOMETHING!”
Robinson is never funnier than when life’s smallest irritations — even the ones that don’t chafe the rest of us — send him into an apocalyptic rage. In the season premiere, dropping today on Netflix, he’s at it again as a bombastic TV pundit who checks his phone when losing arguments, a seminar participant who hates being told what to do, a reality dating show participant who loves to zip-line and a designated driver with an unusual car. These absurdist caricatures, almost always surrounded by Normals straight from our own boring reality, have nothing in common. Nothing, that is, except for Robinson’s signature meltdowns.
And if there’s a nagging issue with I Think You Should Leave’s latest, it’s that every sketch employs the same underlying premise. A mundane situation is disturbed, usually by Robinson’s anxiety-ridden Everyman completely and utterly losing his shit. When it’s not Robinson, it’s a Robinson stand-in, like Fred Armisen trying to earn his kids’ respect by beating up other boys who dis him or a seminar participant who out-rages Robinson’s own inappropriate fury.
Any of these sketches taken on their own would be funnier than most anything Robinson’s old employer, Saturday Night Live, dishes out on a weekly basis. But back-to-back-to-back, I Think You Should Leave sketches in the season premiere fall into a comic rhythm that’s all too familiar. Comedy relies on surprise, and too often, we know just where these sketches are going.
That’s where I Think You Should Leave’s relative brevity is a definite strength. While SNL’s network constraints force it to churn out 90 minutes of live comedy every week, ITYSL’s first episode of Season Three clocks in at just under 16 minutes before the credits roll. That’s not a criticism. There’s nothing worse than a sketch comedy bit that doesn’t know when to call it quits, and Robinson and crew are masters at selling a ridiculous premise and then getting out before it wears out its welcome.
But as the season progresses, here’s hoping Robinson can paint with more colors from his comedy palette. Anger is fine, it just shouldn’t be every sketch’s climax. We know the show is capable of other kinds of weirdo nonsense, like the brilliant “Focus Group” sketch from Season One.
Irate delirium is funny, but sometimes we just want to see Paul marry his mother-in-law.