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tim-robinson-netflix.jpg

The Funniest Fever Dream of 'I Think You Should Leave' Season 3

By Chris Revelle | TV | June 14, 2023 |

By Chris Revelle | TV | June 14, 2023 |


tim-robinson-netflix.jpg

Rejoice, fellow Dan Flashes shoppers for a third season of the delirious and hysterical I Think You Should Leave has dropped on Netflix. Tim Robinson has returned with six more bite-sized episodes of his perfectly demented show and I couldn’t be happier. Especially in a media landscape where comedies seem to be getting longer and cut their comedy with more drama, I appreciate that ITYSL commits full-bore (and then some) to its dizzy comedy while keeping episodes to around 15 mins apiece. Season 3 is another Pandora’s box of high-concept, low-sanity delights.

Over the seasons, Robinson’s show has developed a recognizable game in which sketches typically turn on one delusional character’s misunderstanding or misreading of the room, the vibe, and the world. This gives each sketch a fantastic tension as you look for the weirdo (usually Robinson, but not always) whose escalating emotional state is going to tip the sketch from a seemingly mundane experience to a wild fever dream. The magic is in how evergreen this set-up is in Robinson’s hands, but also those of his cast. He’s assembled a dynamite stable of players including Patti Harrison and Sam Richardson who both show up to tremendous effect in season 3 alongside appearances from Jason Schwartzman and Ayo Edebiri. Far from letting a reliable approach grow stale, ITYSL finds new ways to play with its form and surprise us even in its 3rd season when a lesser show might’ve switched over to autopilot.

The challenge, with all this love I have in my heart for this fabulous comedy of emotional grotesquerie, is in picking a favorite. What’s the best sketch of season 3? It’s extremely hard to choose! Do I pick the Harrison-starring “Surprise Party” where a disgruntled employee takes their frustrations out on their boss? Do I pick the Schwartzman sketch that finds Robinson in a mode I can only describe as “vaguely demonic”? Or maybe “Pic Party” in which Tim Meadows struggles with fun wedding photos? “Eggman Game” also caught my eye for being truly impossible to predict and “Darmine Doggie Door” seared an unforgettable and terrifying image into my brain.

Warning: on the other side of this gif, I talk in spoiler-level detail about my choice for best sketch.
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For me, the funniest fever dream of ITYSL season 3 is “The Driving Crooner.” The sketch reminds me of a favorite from season 2, “Calico Cut Pants” in that Robinson represents a service that some hapless person in his orbit takes him up on, only to learn of strange and sinister details. I chose this sketch because it plays with expectations not just of any given viewer, but of the knowledgeable ITYSL fan. When a co-worker accepts Robinson’s offer to drive them home, they learn that Robinson is a local character called the Driving Crooner. He plays jazzy tunes on the stereo and on the driverside window of his car, there are decals of a hat and a cigar meant to fit into Robinson’s profile while driving and sell the image that there’s a crooner behind the wheel. Seems harmless enough as a gimmick, if a bit weird. However, a mysterious “they” wish Robinson dead for doing this. The details are explained in the usual wild-eyed and cracked-voice mania Robinson is so skilled at and you think, oh that’s the bit. You think the delusion resides in this character’s extremely earnest gimmick and the strange belief that he’s persecuted for it. But no! In a delicious twist, the Driving Crooner is right: a posse of meatheads pull up next to him in their pick-up and they’re out for blood. They’ll kill the Driving Crooner at the first chance they get. Even someone who knows how ITYSL rolls get their expectations turned on their head. It had me winding up on the edge of my seat with the kind of stress-dream-flavored tension that this show does so well and makes so funny.

All 6 episdoes of I Think You Should Leave season 3 are on Netflix and pack all the surreal surprises you could ask for. What’s your pick for the season 3 best sketch?

Chris Revelle shouts into the media void with his pals on Why Did We Watch This?