This is why you don’t go around calling every show that tries to tell jokes “slice of life”. I’ll have to assume they suck and ignore them, like I did with Working’s first two seasons.
I ended up watching Working’s third season when it aired on TV because it came on the same lineup as Durarara. (In perhaps the worst mistake of my life, I completely missed the voice actor connections between the two shows.) Plot doesn’t matter for these kinds of shows, right? There’d surely be no problem with watching seasons out of order, or watching only the final season for that matter.
The third season came with an impressive, perhaps unmatched-in-the-genre amount of plot progression, relationship development, and tying up of loose ends. That still wasn’t enough to make me want to watch the first two seasons. On the contrary, it made me assume the first two seasons would be relatively boring. Two years prior I’d watched the tumultuous finale of OreImo without having watched anything else from that series. Nothing in the finale made me think the series up to that point would be interesting, and we’re not even talking about a “slice-of-life” anime here. (Edit: we are. Give me a fucking break.)
I finally decided to give the first two seasons of Working a chance when I was looking for something to watch raw. (I also decided to rewatch Yu Yu Hakusho raw, post forthcoming.)
The second thing you’ll notice about Working is that it has male characters. The author must have been quite conceited to think anyone would care about men on “this” kind of show, but they worked. The fairly balanced male/female cast gave this show a dynamic that other shows in “this” genre couldn’t match. It was especially important since none of the main cast was a consistent home run hitter aside from Yamada.
The scenes weaved together well. That shouldn’t have to be impressive, but “these” kinds of shows often have very clearly marked scenes that abruptly transition. Working’s episodes actually feel like episodes rather than loosely cobbled together skits.
I’d go so far as to say Working is the best of “this” genre. There are plenty of good jokes, and the bad jokes aren’t so bad that fans have to pretend they aren’t jokes. The plot and relationship development in the third season was satisfying the first time and rewarding upon rewatch. Except for a sense of stagnation in the second season, the show never got dull.
Working Season 1: +
Working Season 2: +
Working Season 3: ++ (revised upward on rewatch)