Story Pile: Inside Job

I guess it’s hard to recommend Inside Job. I mean not in the broadest way, where I can just say ‘it’s a funny adult comedy that doesn’t seem to venerate being a selfish asshole, and it looks like a lot of them these days, with the same general level of competence.’ It’s you know, the way that Rick and Morty pissed on its aesthetic to mark its territory and now any animation that puts in too much effort or has lines that are too clean winds up being seen as ‘like that.’

I don’t know if Inside Job is like that, because I haven’t seen Rick and Morty past the opening of the first episode. Didn’t jam with it, and instead watched other stuff I found more engaging instead. Like Inside Job!

No, what makes it hard to recommend is, and, like, reader – can I call you reader? – sure, okay, reader, the thing is, this is a shortish TV series that draws on modern mythologies of the conspiracy theory griftscape in which I grew up. It uses the ongoing behaviour of an overachieving conspiracy theorist father who doesn’t respect his kid as a plot point. One character idolises toys and franchises from the 80s because it lets him pretend he has an idealised family life that was fun. Oh, and the main character, Reagan, feels like an export of one of my friend’s OCs so closely that she uses Reagan gifs for reactions.

The series doesn’t feature a long form sequence of a character beating a priest to death or a thesis about how game play lets us choose our identities, but like, it’s otherwise hits pretty close to me individually.

Okay, like, it’s a great show! And when I say that it’s just as a sort of puzzle-box version of ‘I liked the experience of watching this show’ so you don’t feel you need to untether that and pick through all the possible permutations of what that might mean by me liking the show so instead we stamp on these labels like ‘good’ or ‘great,’ since I mean, I do think I can give you that ballpark of a generality of how good media is, how, you know, you can’t just necessarily think that media is ‘good’ in and of itself, but when I say ‘it’s good’ you know pretty much what I mean by that, within some bumpers. It’s not going to drop a random slur or something into the conversation, right, and of course, as a conspiracy theory based piece of media there’s going to be a heaping help of Let’s Be Very Clear This Isn’t About The Jews in all the jokes and the structures around those jokes.

It brings in Jeff Bezos for a cameo, then makes him look like a big dumb shithead, which sure, that’s some ‘acceptable billionaire targets’ and it doesn’t matter really, like it’s not praxis or anything but it is nice to watch a mainstream show that goes ‘you know, yeah, billionaires suck and we don’t need to invent one as an example.’ That’s in an episode that makes fun of how much Flat Earthers suck, and I think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity that it doesn’t make a point of how religious Flat Earthers tend to be,

Wait, you didn’t know that?

Oh yeah, like even the most science-brained of flat earthers typically, even for a diffuse group like them, you scratch the surface and you find frustrated catholics and antisemetic fundamentalist christians (but I repeat myself) just waiting underneath, all mad that a literal interpretation of certain phrases in the Bible doesn’t actually coincide with reality (because hey, that happens).

Uh anyway where was I,

Oh yeah like, there’s stuff about James Bond? And how that whole story, like, the whole point of James Bond as the movies depict him, is counter-conspiracy against conspiracy? Right? Like doom lasers and secret bases and all that stuff, that’s conspiracy theory guff, and James Bond is a government counter-conspiracy operative. He can do all sorts of goofy stuff, go where he wants, all his toys and tools? Same thing, conspiracy theory ‘hey, we have this tech we just can’t let the public have it yet.

And then, since he’s part of that space, Inside Job has episodes about what an absolute ass James Bond would be to interact with! It’s pretty funny, especially in the ways it draws parallels between rivalries and relationships and how, y’know, when you – when you – I mean, if you draw them down to their base parts, a lot of how we talk about and engage with relationships, romantic ones, tends to be built out of a language that’s used for conflict and harm. Pretty fucked up when you think about it, but like, not made as a hard point. It’s pretty cool, I liked that episode a lot too.

It was almost as good as how the episode about the 1980s seems really different to those people who grew up promised what they offered and never got it versus all the people who were excluded even from that promise. I mean I didn’t get all of it, because I was too young in the eighties and mostly spent my nineties in a cult that meant I uh, didn’t learn much about 80s culture, but still! It even has a great outburst, too!

Uh what else

What else…

Oh, Alex Hirsch is in it and he’s really funny for his few short scenes.

Like, I don’t know, I feel like all you really need to know about Inside Job is either that it exists, because Netflix haven’t done a good job of making sure anyone knows about it, or you already knew it existed but were afraid it was Just Another One Of Those Shows, and I’ll admit it, it is a show where a woman shouts SUCK MY DICK! at her coworkers before going to contemplate how much easier her work would be if she could just control all of their neurons. It’s not like it’s not wearing its Millenial Edgy But Not That Edgy interests on its sleeve or nothing. But you saw a pitch like conspiracy theory based adult cartoon comedy focusing on an autistic girl who rules and you probably started looking for a torrent before reading the rest of the article, or you were never going to.