Workplace comedies sit at the intersection of an after-school special and a late-night comedy show. They are innovative, creative, and often flout the idiosyncrasies of everyday life in a wide range of work fields. They showcase unusual settings for sitcoms, sketch and character comedies, blending the humor and style of primetime sitcoms with real-life inspiration and ties to everyday workplaces.
Historically, the writing of many workplace comedies has been award-winning, with The office, Parks and RecreationY veep taking home the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series during his show’s run. And it’s not just the writing, these programs share something in common: they are everybody made up of casts of comedians and rising stars.
However, a screen saturday night live The reunion of cast members is not what ensures the success of a comedy in the workplace. A fundamental reason for the widespread achievement of none workplace comedy is your “relatedness.” Every office has a “Dwight,” every city has a “Ron Swanson,” and every retail franchise has customers from Hypermarket. This comedy subgenre dominated award shows and primetime ratings throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, but one by one these shows came to an end with nothing to replace them.
The genre of workplace sitcoms has steadily declined until the announcement of Blockbusteran upcoming Netflix show.
The good fight to save the latest blockbuster
The official synopsis of the show is as follows:
Timmy Yoon (Randall Park) is an analog dreamer living in a 5G world. And after learning he’s running the latest Blockbuster Video in America, Timmy and his staff (including his longtime crush Eliza (Melissa Fumero)) struggle to stay relevant. The only way to be successful is to remind the community of him that they provide something. big corporations can’t: human connection.
Like other shows of this genre, Blockbuster has a trick. Workplace will be Blockbuster’s last remaining retail store, and the ongoing conflict will be their struggle to stay in business and avoid seemingly inevitable obsolescence. Their effort will parallel the real-life struggle to keep Blockbuster afloat in the shift from rentals to streaming services.
Blockbuster is created by Vanessa Ramos (Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crashing, Kenan) with David Caspe (Kenan, Happy Endings, Black Monday) and jackie clarke (superstore, happy endings).
The series stars Randall Park. (Always Be My Maybe, Wandavision, Fresh Off The Boat)melissa fumero (Brooklyn nine and nine)Tyler Alvarez (I have never)Magdalena Arthur (To all the boys I’ve loved before)Olga Merediz (In the heights)JB Smoove (Curb your enthusiasm)and Kamaia Fairburn (Overload and The Underwoods).
Losing (and losing) Blockbuster is a shared experience
While the show takes place inside the famous video rental store, the show’s plot places the last remaining Blockbuster inside a larger setting. The local community, both workers and customers, come together to save the store, a store located inside a desolate shopping mall built in a desolate city. That is Similary when the Pawnee Parks Department came together to save their municipal government from a shutdown in Parks and Recreation.
The difference? Pawnee was a fictional town that audience members were forced to worry about. Throughout the show’s early seasons, extensive character development was given to the locals of Pawnee, as well as an endearing level of charm to the quirks of Pawnee, Indiana. So when it came time to try to save the city government, audience members had every reason to support both the parks department and the city.
The show Blockbuster it is fictional, as is the city and accompanying community in which it takes place. The Blockbuster franchise, however, represents a shared experience for millions of people. As reported by Vice, Dr. Krystine Batcho, a psychology professor at LeMoyne College with an emphasis on nostalgia, put forward a theory as to why millions of people were negligent in closing the international rental giant.
In his theory, it’s not the franchise that everyone is mourning. It’s the cultural developments and shared memories that came hand in hand with Blockbuster.
“People can be nostalgic for an old way of doing things. In a store, people meeting other customers can strike up a conversation, [or] ask for experiences and recommendations. Nostalgia for trips to a video store is probably based, in part, on shared enjoyment with others.[on the pastime of] selecting videos with family or friends after shopping or dining out. Renting videos was often a social experience.”
That’s what this show will bring to the table: references and representation of an era of shared film and television, plus the humor at work that is key in a workplace comedy TV show. Where Blockbuster might not be entirely relatable in its workplace-specific jokes, the retail franchise was hugely important culturally and has now become emblematic of a bygone era of media, cementing itself as part of American pop culture.
The ten-episode first season of Blockbuster It will premiere on Netflix on November 3, 2022.