Babies. Let’s start with the assumption that it’s a cold hard world out there and day to day you and I and everyone is faced with just an extraordinary amount of situations. Situations you’d rather not deal with, situations that scare you, situations that make you feel like King Shit of Fuck-The-World Mountain.
Fair premise? Okay. Well, we here at Tube Top Television happen to believe that that’s sort of exactly why TV and movies and a large part of the internet (and books?!) exist—to be there for you when the rest of the world is a toilet store and you just want someone or something to Get how you effing Feel.
Add to that the notion of an old timey doctor—because everyone loves old timey doctors!—and you’ve got our new column: Mediapothecary, prescribing things for you to watch, just when you need to watch them. Because as Gerbach (Baumwig?) tells us, “sometimes it’s good to do the things you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do them.”
So, in honor of fresh starts, new things, and commitments, here’s a bunch of things for when you QUIT YOUR JOB.
1. Office Space. Obvious, I know, but let’s be real about the amount of commiseration this 89 minute one-two-punch of bitter workplace ennui and Jennifer Anniston in a stupid outfit has to offer.
Between the amazing montage of Ron Livingston’s acts of everyday lifehacking set to “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta,” to Gary Cole’s performance as evil bossman/human coffee mug Bill Lumbergh, to Milt’s Dantean descent into Hell in pursuit of his everlasting Swingline™, this movie is like an angry, sarcastic snuggie that just wants to hold you while you complain about your day.
Watch this movie and think about how none of your old bosses realize it is BASED ON THEM.
2. Mini prescription: the trailer for The Wolf of Wallstreet: a reminder about what happens when you take your job too seriously (you make millions of dollars and drink on boats.)
3. Stranger Than Fiction. Remember when this movie came out and it had all the ingredients of a bad movie: SNL cast member in a dramedy, Spoon song recently popularized by “The O.C.” in the trailer, Queen Latifah. But then you saw it with your Mom to prove that you didn’t think she was too uncool to go out with on a Saturday and she picked that movie because she likes Dustin Hoffman and then it was amazing? Just me?
Doesn’t change the fact: this movie is worthwhile. Set aside the magic surrealism plot, the soothing quality of Emma Thompson’s fancy narrator voice, even the fact that Buster Bluth is in it a little bit, and the business this movie has to say about JOBS is pretty compelling.
You’ve got Will Ferrell, whose pencil pushing taxman job is so pitilessly awful that the sound of him filing (in what appears to be the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but with manila folders) is compared to “the waves crashing in a deep and endless ocean.” Then there’s magic Maggie Gyllenhaal, badass tattooed baker/anarchist which, let’s face it, what person in their twenties would not rather be crafting artisanal muffins and screaming about global injustice instead of whatever stupid shit it is they’re actually paid to do? (I figure if you’ve read this far into the column I pretty much have a self-selecting audience…)
Then of course there’s Emma Thompson who’s living the anguished brilliance writer’s dream, clearly giving zero fucks for anything except her art (especially if that thing happens to be the demands of her employer), Queen Latifah who declares herself to be superhumanly good at her super weird job that probably actually exists and doesn’t that make you furious, and my main squeeze D-Hoffs, whose cushy professor job comes with a room full of books, an entire class about the phrase “Little did he know,” and a part-time gig lifeguarding the rec center pool. Read: heaven.
And Buster Bluth who wants to go to adult space camp because obviously.
My point is that this movie maybe seems a little saccharine for all you super coolkid hepcat types, but it’s actually really good and will make you feel great about your decision to vacate “the deep endless ocean” of your dumb job.
4. Mini prescription: “Working for the Man” by Roy Orbison. I BET YOU NEVER KNEW HE WAS SO WEIRD.
5. Extras. This show never stops being good. And for the recently jobless, it works as a salve on a couple of different levels. This British sitcom, brought to our shores by the benevolent mothership HBO, follows the life of Andy Milman, professional film extra. In his work, Andy comes gets to meet a huge range of A-list celebrities. But, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joint, every A-lister on the show plays a backwards, noxious, dumb-as-a-box-of-hair version of themselves. Daniel Radcliffe is a teenage horndog deadset on proving he’s a grown-up, Kate Winslet is an Oscar-hungry monster, and Sir Ian McKellen does this.
There’s only two seasons (plus a Christmas special) of this beautiful, cringey, perfect show, so you can blow through the whole thing before you land your next career-defining gig.
Basking in Extras means at once fantasizing about doing whatever it takes to pursue that job you actually do want, and also maliciously fantasizing about how ridiculous and awful all the other people who’ve already succeeded at it are. In essence, it’s a show about Keeping Your Dream Alive, but also being able to recognize how people are pretty much always the worst.