You are currently viewing Appetite for Awkwardness: “I Think You Should Leave” Season 3 reviewed

Appetite for Awkwardness: “I Think You Should Leave” Season 3 reviewed

Tim Robinson has done it again in creating a series of jokes that will make people laugh hard, scratch their heads, and/or incorporate them into inside jokes they share with their friends. (If you love “I Think You Should Leave,” that’s part of its love language.) The main headline is that if you enjoyed the previous two seasons, you must treat yourself to more of the crescendoing absurdity that Robinson and co-creator Zach Kanin have very much made their own. If you didn’t like the show, THEN WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE?

Back in 2019, Robinson appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” in which the host summed up the show aptly: “People who will not admit they are wrong.” “I Think You Should Leave,” with six more 20-minute episodes, has hardly changed from such a set-up. And yet these skits prove that it blissfully still works. With Robinson sometimes acting as the most intense or most demure in the room, the series hasn’t engineered a sense of humor but a comedy structure applied to different social hells—work presentations, parties, appearing on game shows, etc. It would feel too familiar or repetitive if the sketches didn’t always break free to the strangest character obsessions a writer’s room could concoct (like with a series-topping bit that shows you what “The Driving Crooner” is).

It’s strange but fitting how this plays out—there are so many disappointing comedy sequels and follow-ups, but “I Think You Should Leave” is continuous in its oddly brilliant ways. Each skit develops like a new chapter from a still-being-written saga about a world where rage is an epidemic, passing on from one character to another in the show. Take here, in which Will Forte plays a snooty man who crawls under a parked van in a driveway and gets his long ponytail stuck. He proceeds to throw a fit, which gets another man with a ponytail across the street all on his high horse. That’s not even the 10th funniest skit of this season, which makes all apparent how on-the-nose it would be if Robinson were to make a joke about someone who thinks the sky is falling.

Like past installments, this series brings in other people who get a chance to be as intense as Robinson can be. If there’s any straining in this season, it’s in people who aren’t as practiced in this degree of screeching chaos. So while we see the likes of Tim Meadows, Tim Heidecker, and Fred Armisen, they look slightly out of their league, and the bits aren’t as strong. Returning heavyweight weirdos like Patti Harrison (with a bizarrely muted sketch) and Conner O’Malley are more immediately on Robinson’s wavelength.

There are so many laugh-out-loud jokes here, so many jarring plot turns, and so many ordinary situations that become creatively perverted. I don’t want to spoil them for you, but more instill confidence about embracing what you’ve loved before, like any time Robinson sells a product, hunched over in front of a green screen. The former “SNL” writer and “Detroiters” star has a golden throat that’s covered in rust, paired with an intense gaze that he can immediately put fire and fear behind. One of the best things that Netflix has ever done is give Robinson his own creative kingdom, all so that he and his peers can rip down the tapestries and scream at the walls.

It’s difficult not to indulge the urge to just list quotes right now. (And plenty of fans may do that in the comments; definitely have at it.) After a critically acclaimed first two seasons, which racked up WGA Award wins in 2020 and 2022 as well as two Emmy noms last year, I Think You Should Leave has returned to us. (All episodes drop May 30 on Netflix.) Are the installments this time around longer? They are not. They average around 15 minutes in length. Are there more of them? Also no—there are, once again, six—but this ends up working: Many fans have found that rewatches are even more rewarding than the initial binge, and these short runtimes, and a general quality-over-quantity approach to the writing, make it easy to find and replay your favorite sketches. It works in the show’s favor, so they have stuck to the formula. As season three character The Driving Crooner would say, “It’s just too good!”