Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Workaholics and Delayed Adolescence

Workaholics and Delayed Adolescence

             Workaholics is a Comedy Central sitcom that first aired in 2011 and has become an increasingly popular show, now in its fourth season with a fifth ordered to be filmed.  The show revolves around three best friends: Blake, Adam and Ders, and has to do with the three characters transitioning from college life into the real world after their dropout from college.  Their transition is a rather slow process, as the characters are commonly shown doing things associated with college life like drinking, partying and pulling pranks.  The show relates to my generation and the current generation of college students in many ways, specifically in the way Comedy Central uses social media to take the show from a weekly-aired program to a popular household name.  It also brings significance to the current reality many college kids face after they graduate.  Although the show is designed as a raunchy comedy, its underlying message can still relate to our culture and generation.   
            Social media is increasingly present and has had an enormous impact on our society.  Workaholics is one of the first shows to utilize that concept into marketing their show.  Part of what makes the show so popular is their endless pop culture references and reoccurring catch phrases.  Workaholics integrate these reoccurring phrases into Twitter hashtags that are specific to a given episode.  All three of the main characters, who are also the executive producers, have large followings on Twitter (Blake 775K, Adam 624K, Ders 519K) and interact with fans by tweeting out information about the upcoming episode each week, and also live tweeting during episodes.  The show itself has its own account and has 278 thousand followers on Twitter and 1.1 million fans on their Facebook page, both of which are updated weekly at minimum.  Their Twitter account tweets the show’s most popular catch phrases and one-liners, which keeps the show popular and easily referenced among its followers.  One example is the #GETWEIRD hashtag, which is one of their most popular catch phrases.  Blake, Adam and Ders, who are the creators as well as main stars of the show live by this GETWEIRD mantra, realizing that often there is no line between funny and stupid, so they take care not to let the weird get killed off during their process (Wilson).  And indeed, their process seems to be working.   By utilizing social media and their large popularity on this platform, Workaholics has been able to connect with fans of our generation in a way that most shows aren’t able to because of the attention the show garners outside of its Wednesday night timeslot. 
            Another significant way the show relates to our generation is through the way it represents real life conflicts and situations and how viewers can identify with the situations happening in any given episode.  Viewers rarely get the sense that they’ve seen a certain episode play out before because of the sharp writing and unexpected plot twists (Wilson).  The show represents a growing trend in our culture and society, relating to the concept of delayed adolescence.  According to Dr. Arnett, in the past half century what most people experience during the years from age eighteen to twenty-nine has changed dramatically in industrialized societies.  Instead of entering marriage and parenthood in their very early twenties, most people now postpone these transitions until at least their late twenties, and spend their late teens through their mid-twenties in self-focused exploration as they try out different possibilities in love and work (Arnett).  Workaholics allows people that fall into this category to relate to some of the situations they are going through in terms of transitioning from college to the real world.  Further, not only do viewers relate to the show’s three main characters, there seems to be a magnetic force drawing young males towards a life of delayed adolescence and away from the stereotypical white picket fence marriage, which is what the show portrays. 
            After its third season ran during the summer of 2012, Workaholics averaged 2 million total viewers and was the highest rated timeslot across all television among men ages 18-24 (Workaholics).  The show and it’s producers have created an almost cult following among men in this age group because it directly relates to the things these young men are going through.  Not just men either, but all people in this age group can relate to some of the things that take place in Workaholics.  According to The Arizona State University Press, everyone can relate to worrying about one of your best friends moving out (Season 1, Episode 9), feeling nervous around the hot new co-worker (Season 2, Episode 3), or pretending to be something your not in order to appear more successful around your parents (Season 3, Episode 6).  These issues come off as being comical and raunchy on the surface of the show’s plotline, but viewers can really identify with what the characters are going through with their own real life issues. 
            While Workaholics has had many impacts on our generation, with further seasons still waiting to be filmed, it will prove interesting to see how the show and it’s portrayal of delayed adolescence further impacts young males and their outlook on post college life.  With today’s society yielding less marriages and far less successful marriages then had once occurred, delayed adolescence and it’s prominence through television and social media may in fact be a factor. 
                 Works Cited

Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen. “Emerging Adulthood.” 2006.  Web. 31 March 2014.
Chergosky, Shane. “Fully Torqued, ‘Workaholics’ is a show for our generation.” The
State Press. 12 September 2012.  Web.
Wilson, Denis. “The Creators of “Workaholics” on keeping the stupid and weird in
            your creative process.  Co. Create: Fast Company.  6 August 2012.  Web. 31
            March 2014.
"Workaholics" Continue To Climb The Corporate Ladder As COMEDY CENTRAL®

Orders Fourth And Fifth Seasons.”  PR Newswire. 5 January 2013.   Web. 31 March 2014.


  1. While I agree with your argument that Workaholics represents college--post-college life, I think that the extent of the shows' influence resonates more a lot with a younger demographic (middle(late)-high school-aged people). Personally I watch and view Workaholics as an active viewer; Adam, Blake, and Anders fuck around with culturally relevant material, phrases, etc. And I love it for the most part, the season 4 opener that dealt with EDM and ecstasy was hilarious, and a relaxing critique of EDM-culture seen through the eyes of the main characters. My objection comes from personal experience via my younger brother (14) and his friends who adopt the same "get weird" mentality, but lack an active interpretation of the show. So they-being below the target demographic-seem to 'love' the show through the same lens as a passive viewer. So I guess my biggest concern resonates around the show's demographic AND the reality as to WHO is watching the show. In terms of social media and the #getweird hash tag, I feel like the tag is questionable if not controversial across age demographics on its' own. I'm rambling but as someone who 'fits' the demographic of the show, I completely get what you mean. I think this is a great analysis for a demographically orientated show and social media, but personally I think there's a 'youth' component that could be addressed as well. Great writing, I would recommend that you include an image or two, as well as a YouTube clip (maybe 'best of Workaholics(?)) in the future.

  2. Good essay. Just a few things. I think your argument could be stronger. This could start off with your thesis- I wasn't really clear on that. Is social media and delayed adolescence and a representation of our culture all part of your thesis? I think it can be narrowed so you can really hone in on some key examples in episodes. Maybe mention delayed adolescence earlier since that is your main argument and you don't mention it till later on in your essay. I completely agree with your thoughts throughout and you make some good points just keep it narrower so you could be more specific and clear.

  3. I think your essay makes a great point in a sense that this show is allowing people to see that as they graduate college and they do not follow the typical norm of a man getting a job, getting married and having a family because the world really does not work like that anymore. It is more difficult to find a job and without the job stability the marriage and the family inevitably come later in life. This show allows young adults to realize they are not failures if they do not fit into that norm and they can embrace this time in their life. Also, it is a fact that people are getting married and having children in life later anyways so you have to do something fun before you settle down you do not get this kind of youth and freedom ever again!

  4. From Sammi Jo: I definitely agree that delayed adolescence is becoming standard, especially in America. You mention that viewers connect with the show and the themes portrayed, but do you think it's possible that shows like Workaholics influence teens to believe delayed adolescence is acceptable and the new norm? Maybe it's the messages in the TV shows that are so widely viewed that create this new life style, and then we connect more with it.

  5. While i definitely agree with the fact that this is the reality a good amount of people (what seems like mostly men) face post-graduation. I do think your argument could have been a little stronger, it just seemed a little repetitive. You have great information and sources your points just need more expansion to really get your point across.

  6. I thought you had a really interesting topic! It is very interesting how social media is being used these days, especially to capture audiences in the late teens and early twenties. To make your argument stronger I would consider elaborating on how exactly Workaholics influences this delayed adolescence. I would also make the connection stronger between social media and this idea of delayed adolescence. How does social media add to that? Overall, you had some great ideas and great sources! Good Work!


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