Netflix has been in the news quite a bit in recent weeks, following the company’s announcement last month that it lost subscribers in the first quarter, and was expecting to lose even more in the second.
The results were not only bad news for direct shareholders of Netflix. It also led many to question some longtime assumptions many in the tech and entertainment industries have had about streaming and its central role in the future of content delivery.
One thing it’s also done is lead to a round of cost-cutting for Netflix, which the company announced on the earnings call. First on the block were a series of animated shows, including Pearl, a planned series from actress and estranged English royal Meghan Markle.
For a while, there was a bit less clarity about the future of another Netflix show: The sketch comedy series I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson.
The offbeat comedy series has attained a cult following from its first two seasons, which debuted on Netflix in 2019 and 2021. After the second season arrived on Netflix in July of last year, there was no word about whether there will be a third season – until, that is, last Friday, when word came down that the show had in fact been granted a third season by the streaming service.
How did the series avoid the chopping block, at a time when Netflix is clearly cutting costs? Especially when, despite its cult following, ITYSL doesn’t appear to be among Netflix’s most-watched; I don’t remember ever seeing it in the Netflix top ten lists at any point.
On the other hand, I Think You Should Leave doesn’t appear to be especially expensive to produce. It doesn’t feature A-list talent or much in the way of special effects, and unless the design budget for those Dan Flashes shirts is unusually high, the budget for the series probably isn’t particularly back-breaking for Netflix.
Perhaps Netflix wanted to continue to make a hugely influential comedy show for prestige reasons, for the same reason why the streamer will likely still make a slate of movies each year to compete for the Oscars.
Robinson, and fellow ITYSL co-creator Zach Kanin, are making a pilot for another new show, called Computer School, for HBO Max, with the two set to star. But these days, especially in the streaming era, it’s not rare for a star or a creator to star in two shows at once. And ITYSL, with its short, six-episode seasons, will likely still be produced between seasons of the other show.
If the third season of I Think You Should Leave is the last, perhaps it will go the way of Mr. Show with Bob and David, the also off-kilter, and also hugely influential sketch series that ran in the 1990s on HBO, and also had its short duration of four seasons become part of its legend.
Also, like Robinson, Mr. Show co-creator and co-star, Bob Odenkirk worked as a writer on Saturday Night Live and found it a poor fit with his comic sensibility, which he was better able to apply to his own show (and Odenkirk even appeared in the second season of I Think You Should Leave.) Detroiters, the show Robinson starred in and co-created with frequent ITYSL star Sam Richardson, was also a cult hit, albeit one that only lasted two seasons.
However it ends, I Think You Should Leave will almost certainly be remembered as the most important comedy show of its era, one that generations of comedians will cite as a formative influence. But of course, it would be great to have more of it, too.
Perhaps it survived because, like Spectrum, fans told Netflix “no!”