Why you should be watching I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Sophie Davies | On 14, Jul 2021
Season 3 premieres on 1st June 2023. This review is based on Season 2.
A work meeting that clashes with lunch is disrupted when someone tries to covertly eat a hot dog hidden in their sleeve. An adults-only ghost tour is derailed when a man takes the tour guide’s casual joke that “we can say whatever the hell we want” too far. A party is ruined when it emerges that a Johnny Carson impersonator is allowed to hit guests for the price point at which he’s been hired.
Yes, Netflix’s deranged sketch show I Think You Should Leave is back for its second season. The comedy series, created by Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin, achieved cult success with its first outing in 2019 – even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve probably spotted memes that were born out of it online – and Season 2 delivers plenty more of the offbeat humour that fans have been craving in its absence.
Many sketches in I Think You Should Leave follow a pattern whereby a character does something unusual or unacceptable in a social situation and then denies and/or doubles down on their behaviour. They don’t understand what they’ve done wrong and want to avoid embarrassment, but they only end up embarrassing themselves even more in the process. Whenever a sketch begins in a location like an office, a restaurant or a party, there’s always a sense of expectation as we’re waiting for a character, often played by Tim Robinson, to commit an absurd social faux pas and then deny or defend their actions to the extreme. But despite this formula, I Think You Should Leave never becomes predictable, and its second season proves to be just as inventive and hysterical as its first.
It’s key to the show’s unique appeal that while its sketches might go off into surreal directions, they generally don’t take place in surreal locations. The starting point is often a scenario that we’re familiar with, before someone upends the status quo by behaving in an unexpected way. The outcome is that when you, the viewer, are next in this scenario yourself, you’ll be thinking about I Think You Should Leave, and this is perhaps what makes the show so endlessly quotable and resonant. The next time you hold a friend’s baby and it starts crying, it might cross your mind that the baby knows you “used to be a piece of shit” and doesn’t believe that people can change. The next time you’re held up by an incompetent driver, you might think of Tim Robinson at the wheel of the other car, tearfully asking for sympathy because no, he doesn’t know how to drive actually, and he’s really scared. Or if you happen to have some sort of minor bathroom accident at work, you might find yourself wishing you had CalicoCutPants.com at your disposal.
One standout sketch sees a father tell his young daughter that they can’t get ice cream on their way home, because ice cream stores close when the weather is too cold. Because the father is played by Robinson, you immediately assume that he will be the oddball of the sketch and start wondering what else he will say or do to sell his lie… until the camera pans to another man sitting next to them, played by guest star Bob Odenkirk.
After Robinson winks at this stranger, inviting him to back up the fairly innocent lie, Odenkirk’s character tells the girl that he and her dad are old friends and gets increasingly carried away talking about how he owns every type of classic car (even doubles and triples of some) and definitely doesn’t live in a hotel. Initially weirded out by the strange man, Robinson ends up looking at him sympathetically, backing up all the lies about his life and reassuring him that his model wife is going to recover from the mysterious illness she has. It’s funny but also surprisingly touching, making us actually feel sad for the oddball at the centre of the sketch. The ending of the aforementioned ghost tour sketch has a similar effect, with Robinson getting picked up by his mother after he’s been kicked out of the tour for ruining it and her optimistically asking him if he managed to make any friends.
Patti Harrison, who starred in the Season 1 “new printer” sketch, proves to be the MVP of Season 2. She takes on two roles this time: an investor on a Shark Tank/Dragon’s Den-type show who made her fortune from suing the city after a bizarre accident; and, in one of the season’s best sketches, a woman with a confusing job that somehow involves tables starring in a series of driving safety videos. Paul Walter Hauser makes an equally memorable appearance in a sketch where he joins in with friends making jokes about their wives and immediately regrets it, fondly remembering how his wife supported him when he got a small part in a local play and a guy named Jamie Taco kept stealing his lines.
The show also continues its trend of casting a mix of well-known and lesser-known actors in its guest roles. Following in the footsteps of Ruben Rabasa in Season 1’s car focus group sketch, there’s Biff Wiff as Santa Claus, who’s the lead in a new action movie but doesn’t want his other job, ie. Christmas, to be mentioned during press interviews, and Richard Wharton as a man who features in a Claire’s ear piercing video, designed to make customers feel at ease, and takes it in a very dark direction.
With just six 15-minute episodes per season, sketches never outstay their welcome and Season 2 has an impressively high hit rate, to the extent that there are too many hits to cover here. (Coffin Flop! Karl Havoc! Dan Flashes! Tammy Craps!) If the show’s unique brand of humour tickled you in its first outing, there’s just as much to enjoy in Season 2 and you’ll no doubt find yourself quoting it for years to come.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.