Corporate Season 3 Premiere, “Pickles 4 Breakfast”

We’re back! With a very funny episode!

Streaming Wars! Hampton DeView– the new streaming service from Hampton DeVille– is doing dog-shit numbers because all of their content is crap, so they’re trying to land rights to an Emmy-winner. Meanwhile, Society Tomorrow— the Prestige sci-fi show everyone is hooked on that fills pretty much the same role in this universe that Game of Thrones did in ours– is airing its series finale, and everyone (except Jake) is a huge fan. Everyone agrees the ending sucked (except Grace, who gets shingles from pretending it did), so Hampton DeVille buys the rights so they can remake the ending, repeatedly trying to go the most fan-service route possible, until Christian takes over the project. Of course, in the end, all of their ideas suck, too, until Christian finally comes up with the solution: Endless sequels, prequels, “spinoffs based on characters who can’t carry a show,” and more! The content machine never ends. The whole thing is a pretty good spoof of content algorithms, fan culture, and, well, Game of Thrones.

That machine never ending is something we learn in Jake’s plot; he goes to babysit his niece so he can fill her head with all his cool pop culture ideas, but all she wants to watch is “Pickles 4 Breakfast,” a kid’s show on Hampton DeView that is very, intentionally, reminiscent of those creepy algorithm-generated YouTube children’s videos. Jake investigates and discovers the show– and much of Hampton DeView’s content– is created by “Stravinsky,” a content-generating algorithm created by a startup (I couldn’t figure out who the actress was, and she doesn’t seem to be parodying anyone specific). This is the future.

Some other notes:

-Jake meets the Thumbnail Guy, played by Johnny Pemberton, who explains that a good thumbnail is all it takes to draw a viewer in to something tailored for them, and then it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad or what it even is, because they’ll keep watching.

-Lots owed to 30 Rock in this episode’s joke construction. One example, Christian lamenting Hampton DeView’s crappy streaming offerings: “It’s a war, and we’re fighting with sticks and stones! …which nobody is watching!”

-In the Thumbnail Guy scene, we see the Sticks & Stones thumbnail, as well as a few other dumb/hilarious ones: Killer Human: The Untold Story of a Human Who Killed: An Exclusive MiniseriesTerrible Town: Season 3Shiksa: The Forgotten CatFootball Causes Brain Damage; and Jew Pope. (Christian, later: “I hear that’s one of the better pope shows.”)

-And yet another 30 Rock-type joke: Matt and Christian being simpatico in odd ways (Society Tomorrow, Freddie Prinze Jr.) is very reminiscent of Jack and Tracy.

-John on how bad the Society Tomorrow finale was: “Last night, my parents called me for the first time since 9/11.”

-Barron is in charge of reviewing “the data” (Society Tomorrow fan redditors and posters of even worse places– “Anywhere you can get illegal pornography,” as Barron says)– and it causes his eyes to start bleeding, so much so that the next scene we see him in, they’re bandaged.

-Barron’s description of said data: “It’s an indictment of humanity on par with how we treated Britney Spears.” Funny because I don’t remember any mass media referencing Spears’ situation like that, but also because it keeps up the runner of Barron’s fixation on women pop singers.

-Some lines from Stravinsky’s algorithmically generated dance single: “Slap my face with your thicc butt don’t stop til I get pregnant”; “Stuff your drugs up in my mouth like I’m a sexy squirrel.”

-The children’s party Jake attends at the end is appropriately horrifying.

-The graphic-fucking scene the Hampton DeVille team pitches for the Society Tomorrow rewrite is appropriately hilarious.

What did you think?

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