What We Do in the Shadows‘ Energy Vampire Is the Perfect Monster for 2019
Mark Proksch's energy vampire is a big mood.
If you haven’t been watching FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, then you’re missing out on one of the funniest, most original shows on television right now. Based on the 2014 cult horror comedy film from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the series moves the vampire mockumentary to the States, where it follows four vampires sharing a house in Staten Island. The TV show introduces a brand new type of vampire into the mix, “energy vampire” Colin Robinson, who is quite timely for our era.
The series focuses on the three main vampires, Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo Cravensworth (Matt Berry), and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), all of whom deliver hilarious performances. But it’s Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson, the gang’s resident energy vampire, who really steals the show. Robinson is a psychic or energy vampire, who feeds off of people’s boredom or anger. Robinson’s powers extend to humans and vampires alike, and he has the ability to daywalk, which allows him to hold a job and pay the rent.
Robinson’s hunting ground is a typical office workplace, where he gradually annoys his co-workers until they pass out. The thing is, we all know energy vampires —in our workplaces, our families, everywhere. Robinson’s dullness taps into a universal experience of being bored or aggravated to tears by an oblivious person.
Robinson is also a big mood for 2019, as the relentless news cycle continues to grind us down and turn our brains to mush. Between the news, longer work days, and more time spent online and on social media, more and more of us are feeling drained. And it’s not just our energy that’s been zapped.
In episode three, “Werewolf Feud,” Robinson confronts another form of energy vampire: Vanessa Bayer’s emotional vampire, Evie Russell. Russell feeds off of the emotional attention and pity, which makes her the perfect partner in crime for Robinson. Both vampires are a fun and original take on the classic monster that effortlessly brings them into the modern era.
The details in Proksch’s performance really makes Robinson soar, whether he’s promising to email someone a Slate article about the millennial housing crisis, or describing a municipal zoning town hall as “a smorgasbord of banality and despair.” Much of the show’s humor comes from the vampires dealing with day-to-day issues, whether its nosy neighbors or accidentally getting captured by animal control.
Robinson’s vampire however, reminds us of the day-to-day mundanity of horrors we all live through, whether it’s the guy at the office who won’t stop sharpening his pencil, or the person can’t take a hint about ending a conversation. Energy vampires are among us, and damn are they scary.
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