The Clothing of I Think You Should Leave
Series: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Created by: Tim Robinson & Zach Kanin
Season 1 Costume Designer: Emily Ting
Season 2 Costume Designer: Monica Chamberlain
We all know that triples is best, so the third season of I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson will premiere on
Corncob TV Netflix just under a week from now on Tuesday, May 30.
I Think You Should Leave often steps beyond the line into absurdity, though its costume designers Emily Ting and Monica Chamberlain have always dressed its characters to realistic perfection, adding a familiar verisimilitude that communicates so much about them in the few minutes we spend with each, whether that’s representing the hoodie culture of millennial-run agencies, a drivers’ ed teacher whose baggy polo probably even predates his instructional videos, and the insufferably pedantic jazz fan Howie (Tim Heidecker) poorly layering an open button-up shirt over a black T-shirt with slightly longer sleeves.
I could go on about the understated brilliance of I Think You Should Leave‘s costume design, but I’ll instead limit my focus to the handful of sketches that have centered around clothing, from ridiculous inventions like a T-shirt designed to be tugged or trousers designed to look pissed-in to men who invest in ludicrously patterned shirts and ill-conceived fedoras.
Episode 2: “Thanks For Thinking They Are Cool”
A Degrassi-type show, River Mountain High, is introduced in the second episode as “sponsored by TC Topps’ TC Tugger shirts, the only shirt with the tugging knob.” You may think the gag ends there, but it’s revealed to be far more than just a non-sequitur when the show’s principal (Tim Robinson) arrives in the midst of a bickering high school couple’s dramatic scene, pulling the celebrated tugging knob of the teal T-shirt layered under his tweed sports coat.
“That’s a cool shirt,” the girl comments, inspiring Principal S. to stutter into a minute-long hagiography that’s only a shade less subtle than the McDonald’s and Coke product placement in MAC and Me. While our principal seems a little uncertain of which nomenclature is the product or the brand, he’s firm on the talking points that—unlike the reviled Snuggies of the early Tumblr era—they’re not a joke meant to be given as a gag gift or worn to bar crawls.
Claire: Do they come in other styles?
Principal S.: (after a long pull from his water bottle) Not really.
And why would they be a gag anyway? After all, surely so many of us can relate to the wear-and-tear of having to tug on our regular shirts when they get trapped on our bellies, but TC Tuggers have these dope little knobs on the front that not only don’t wreck your shirt but also won’t hurt your hand!
Dressed Like a Hot Dog
Episode 5: “I’m Wearing One of Their Belts Right Now”
We’re all trying to find the guy who did this!
Memes have elevated fifth episode’s “hot dog” sketch into one of the most recognizable scenes from I Think You Should Leave, even among people who have never seen (or even heard of) the show. After a hot dog-shaped car—specifically a Volkswagen New Beetle—crashes into a men’s clothing store, we’re all trying to find the guy who did it… and there’s no way it could be the guy dressed like a hot dog, right?
And no, I don’t mean you, Donald. I’m talking about the very vocal guy in the cheap hot dog Halloween costume.
The costume-driven comedy doesn’t stop at Tim Robinson in the hot dog costume or series co-creator Zach Kanin as the unfortunately attired Donald, as our hot dog-dressed interloper announces his plan to “take as many suits as I can grab, get in that random hot dog car—random!—and drive back to Wiener Hall.”
Fun fact: The shirts that Tim’s character attempts to steal en masse have Berlioni labels. This inexpensive Italian manufacturer sells dress shirts on Amazon.
Caleb Went’s Belt
Episode 5: “I’m Wearing One of Their Belts Right Now”
The hot dog sketch cuts to the titular sketch, in which Tim plays the kind of status-obsessed Ferrari driver from the Dangerous Nights crew who would slick his hair back, slop up his steaks, and live for New Year’s Eve, astonished to find himself in the company of Caleb Went (Hudson Thames), an actor, musician, and clothing designer so on trend that Tim is actually wearing a studded leather belt from Caleb’s Angels and Archways clothing line at the dinner.
A starstruck Tim hopes he won’t do anything to embarrass himself and, of course, immediately begins choking. In his growing embarrassment, he hopes to conceal the choking and only makes it worse by trying to eat jalapeño poppers, making an unintelligible toast to friendship “in a tradition!”, and running outside for first responders to provide the Heimlich maneuver in full view of the esteemed Mr. Went.
Fun fact: This may be the lone sketch in which Tim Robinson actually plays a character named Tim.
Stanzo Brand Fedoras
Episode 6: “We Used to Watch This at My Old Work”
The world of I Think You Should Leave finds plenty of fodder deservedly aimed at fedoras also also seen with the Blues Brothers sketch and the obnoxious Howie commenting “nice hat” when handed a gray fedora during the game of Celebrity that he ruins.
In the final episode of the first season, Tim’s Etnies-wearing character is helping friends plan a baby shower when he senses the $200 budget for gift bags could be an opportunity to recoup the costs of a gangster movie which “fell apart ’cause it fucking sucked!” while also offloading some surplus props, from replica Tommy guns to a thousand plastic meatballs that look like little pieces of shit.
Before he lands on either of those ideas, his first contribution is to suggest fifty “Stanzo brand fedoras… in each of the gift bags. They’re Stanzos, they’re nice.” Tim’s tearful tantrum softens the group, who goes from outright refusal to agreeing to purchase a few fedoras out of pity to evidently securing all of the failed mob movie’s excess props, including the stinky Stanzos and fifty black slicked-back hair wigs.
Episode 1: “They said that to me at a dinner.”
The first episode of the second season introduces us to Carmine Laguzio (Tim Robinson), the energetic host of prank show Everything is Upside Down, whose latest bit is to wreck havoc at a local mall while dressed into the bizarre makeup and costume of a character appropriately named Karl Havoc.
Shortly after staggering into Fairfield Mall in Karl’s overdone skin suit, pink fishing shirt, Aztec-printed vest, cargo pants, and sandals, an overheating and panicky Carmine stops somewhere between JC Penney’s and the food court as he realizes “there’s too much fuckin’ shit on me,” suffering such an existential crisis of confidence that he determines he “doesn’t even want to be around anymore.”
Episode 2: “They have a cake shop there Susan where the cakes just look stunning.”
I mean, you walk by a store and you see fifty guys that look just like me fighting over very complicated shirts? You go in. Yes you do, you go in!
Business travel may not always be glamorous, with the packed agendas, bland hotel conference rooms, and jet lag, but there’s always the potential benefit that you’ll find a badass store that’s your exact style, illustrated by the patrons that all look exactly like you… at least until some fucking skunk like Doug outs you for spending your entire per diem on shirts!
For Mike (Tim Robinson), that’s Dan Flashes, located in the Shops at the Creek where shirts can cost upwards of $450 to account for their complicated patterns, with the value directly correlated to how much the lines criss-cross and the patterns overlap. “They have this one shirt that costs $1,000 ’cause the pattern’s so wild. I want that one so bad!”
Unfortunately, not eating—even if the cause is a worthy one, like saving up for high-end Dan Flashes shirts where prices are going up, up, up, and away—will occasionally result in lapses of comprehension, such as Mike misunderstanding that Doug said the patterns weren’t complicated.
Of course, if you can’t afford the price tag of $150 out the door but still want to rock those complicated patterns, there are some replica alternatives available via Amazon… but no guarantees on if the shirt will still be your exact style.
Costume designer Monica Chamberlain explained to Devon Ivie for Vulture that:
Tim wanted it to be something that you wouldn’t be able to find in a store or something you hadn’t really seen before. Not in a cool way, but in a wild way… Every time I gave Tim an idea, he’d be like, “Make it crazier. Let’s add more.” … He talked about being in Palm Springs and there was a menswear store that he saw that sold really ridiculous and crazy-printed tops. He also talked about printed, crazy-patterned dad polos.
Ivie reports that, after taking a few detours away from Flavortown to avoid the shirts devolving into Guy Fieri stereotypes, Chamberlain took some inspiration from a totally tubular screensaver that Microsoft used in the ’90s, transported onto a long-sleeved polo (chosen over the more “common” bowling shirt) by Silvia’s Fabrics in Los Angeles.
“Tim’s character in the sketch doesn’t have the craziest level of Dan Flashes yet,” Chamberlain explains. “He’s still trying to get there. It’s wild, but not all-the-way wild.”
Episode 3: “You sure about that? You sure about that that’s why?”
Interesting things can come out in legal proceedings that aren’t even related to the case being tried. For instance, an investigation into Nortrip employees Bre Hubbell (Jinny Chung) and Vincent Allen (Andrew Michaan) unveils drama not just about insider trading but also about the increasing drama around a stupid hat worn by their colleague Brian (Tim Robinson). As the prosecutor (Gita Reddy) reads from the co-defendants’ text history:
Bre: Did you talk to Dan at Qualstarr?
Vincent: He said they are laying off 300 people next week.
Bre: We need to unload our shares before then.
Vincent: I’m on it.
Bre: Be discreet.
Vincent: Of course.
Bre: Oh my god, did you see Brian’s hat?
Vincent: Oh fuck. Ha ha ha ha.
Behind the prosecutor, a man in an unflattering gray felt trilby with a matching flap extending down over the back of his neck visibly squirms, asking “what the hell?” under his breath.
Bre: He looks so fucking stupid I can’t breathe.
Vincent: What the hell even is it?
Bre: It’s a fedora with safari flaps in the back.
Vincent: Holy shit. He looks so fucking stupid. Talk later. I’ll take care of that thing.
The last sentence evidently made the entire exchange relevant to be read in court, much to Brian’s chagrin… and his publicly recorded humiliation is only beginning, as the next round of texts outline—in embarrassing detail—an incident from later in the workday when the dice-carrying Brian was forced to remove his distracting hat during a meeting. Crying into his hands, Brian tries to defend the hat, citing the fact that “the guy at the store said I’m the only guy he’s ever seen pull it off!” A now-defiant Brian, even after spilling water over his laptop, rises and tries to show off, as Vincent describes:
… I swear to fucking god, he tried to roll the hat down his arm like Fred Astaire, but the back flap got trapped around Rick’s wheelchair, and then it took him forever to get the flap out of the wheelchair.
Not the Blues Brothers
Episode 4: “Everyone just needs to be more in the moment.”
What’s the best way to ease the tension when you’re around a couple that’s arguing? Is it to don sunglasses and a black fedora while dancing to an instrumental mashup of Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” with Booker T. and the M.G.’s “Time is Tight” that had been made for The Blues Brothers? Lisa’s boyfriend (Tim Robinson) seems to think so.
Lisa’s well-meaning boyfriend seems to have miscalculated, as his puzzling performance only makes things worse. The guests are confused, and the dog won’t stop barking, though Lisa’s boyfriend thinks the latter situation can be rectified by assuring the pup that he’s still the same guy, just wearing a new hat, sunglasses, and suit jacket.
Calico Cut Pants
Episode 4: “Everyone just needs to be more in the moment.”
Clocking in around nine minutes, I Think You Should Leave‘s longest sketch to date centers around an embarrassingly real (okay, I’ll own up to it) issue of a little extra pee that might dribble out after using the office urinal, resulting in a few telltale drops seeping through a compromising spot on your khakis.
Our mild-mannered protagonist Jeff (Michael Patrick O’Brien) demurs when a colleague jokes that he “didn’t finish shaking,” but salvation charges in through the unlikely form of his insistent colleague Greg (Tim Robinson) who throws him the digital life raft of CalicoCutPants.com, an “ingenious” website designed by an overwhelmed man named Rick (Conner O’Malley) to help men in similar situations by claiming to sell out-of-stock pants that have been designed to look like the crotch is pee-stained… though they’ve “got nothin’ to do with piss.”
“If Glen thinks that they sell those kinds of pants, he can’t prove that you got piss on your pants or that you just own this kinds of pants… it’s the perfect thing!” Greg explains of CalicoCutPants.com, a completely user-funded operation that relies on reputation over product, citing Supreme as an aligned business models. Greg spins the overly complex CalicoCutPants.com web even more by equating it to PBS, explaining that Jeff has “gotta give” to the site after making use of its services.
Only a man as beautifully in touch with everyday sources of anxiety could have even conceptualized such a sketch, and—HEY, HOLD THAT DOOR! HOLD THAT DOOR!
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the series, currently on Netflix with the third season premiering next week on Tuesday, May 30. And stop eating batteries!