I think the big problem for me is the reliance on special/physical effects for gags which was never a thing in the first two seasons. The vampire teeth when people find out Chase is turning 18, the assistants literally disappearing at the party and then reappearing when they say something Brooke finds interesting…it just feels tonally off for a show that was pretty grounded in reality (despite a couple of obviously ridiculous moments) until now.
The absurdist stuff worked better when it was an exception to the rule VS being the main source of humor. It just feels... off. One thing the show did so well before was balance being relatable and grounded with being ridiculously over-the-top. But this season so far (I've only watched 1 & 2) feels like it's just over-the-top. The bigger issue is that the ridiculous gags just aren't landing. Like, the entire sequence of the theater being sold and becoming a Starbucks right before the movie starts, to Cary not being able to get his Hulu password and the entire party leaving... it just wasn't funny.
I'm still having a very good time with this season. That being said, as someone deeply seeped into the NYC/theatre culture scene, the brilliance of the first two seasons was the way the "absurd" moments frankly weren't absurd at all, they were startlingly accurate and only slightly exaggerated. Right now the absurdist stuff seems to be that way just for absurdist's sake. That's not an inherently bad thing, and I am still finding the humor in a lot of it, but tonally there's definitely a shift between this season and the previous two.
I will consider this episode a success for the amount of shirtless Josh Segarra.
Jokes aside, it was half-decent. Cary's storyline was dumb as shit and another example of how the absurdist humour isn't working, but the Brooke and Pat stuff was fine enough. Brooke walking down the street all chipper and then pausing to add "#blacklivesmatter" to her Instagram bio was the first genuinely funny moment of the season for me.
This season is still entertaining, but the quality just isn't there this go-around. The humor is beyond 30 Rock-levels of absurd at this point, which I just don't think works in this universe, and characters are all borderline insufferable. But as mentioned, the level of eye candy remains top tier, so I'm grateful for that.
Also, I know a group of gays who are Cameron Colby to an exact 't', so I think the performance is pitch perfect - and oddly, one of the most grounded in this series.