I Found My New Favorite Show, and Then It Became a Victim of the Canceled Cartoon Crisis
You’ve probably noticed by now that it’s become “trendy” amongst internet algorithms to repost cartoon clips over and over again. Since most of them are not my style at all (i.e., Family Guy bullshit), I tend to ignore most, if not all of them. But Inside Job caught my attention because its protagonist was a disheveled woman in her early 30s—in other words, my kind of woman.
I started watching it this past weekend, and it became an immediate binge. I was so shocked to like it as much as I did. While it has its clumsy “adult cartoon” moments, it definitely goes above and beyond to stand out. The writing is actually pretty smart and clever, managing to toe the line between topical social commentary and a Clerks-ish sense of humor that kills me. And then, of course, there’s my favorite dead horse to beat: the great mixed-Asian representation (in large part because the show’s creator, Shion Takeuchi, is of a similar background).
So imagine my bewilderment when, upon finishing the show and going to Twitter to see if there was any news on a second season, I see this tweet instead:
… like, are you serious Netflix, you corporate freaks??? You’re nixing something that’s fresh and manages to uplift the genre in a way that’d invite new watchers who are reasonably put off by the current state of adult animation? And not to knock Big Mouth or anything, but it feels like a real rub to give that show yet another season while this newer show isn’t even getting a chance. There’s room for two, you knuckleheads.
With all the recent news about perfectly valid and genre-elevating animated shows getting canceled for arbitrary reasons, this just really pisses me off. Shion is now trying to help her writers and artists find work when they should be working on a new season of their beloved creation, which has been years in the making. And I’m getting really tired of derivative toilet-humor shows—largely created by straight white guys—always leading the charge in this industry, while shows like Inside Job can barely get past their first season.
So you know what, screw it, we’re gonna spend the rest of this article talking about why you should watch Inside Job, because the people who worked on it deserve better.
The premise might seem a little too Rick And Morty for some of you: scientist assholes messing around with their god complexes too much. But where this show really shines is, again, in the writing. The characters are built up slowly and carefully, especially the protagonist Reagan, whom I absolutely adore. Yes, a lot of that is because I see myself in her, à la Poppy Li (mixed kids with interpersonal trauma, rise up!), but she’s ultimately just a fun character to follow. She’s brusque and doesn’t play into popular feminine stereotypes—if anything, she goes against a lot of them, and it’s delightfully in-character.
Other characters that stand out to me are Brett Hand, a “yes man” in remission; and Robotus, a failed robot president who yearns for mass destruction. And, as an aside, I also just love how many Asian people are sprinkled throughout the cast, and how their presence is treated as a normal thing.
In addition to the above, the episodic plots are actually incredibly fun to follow. Zany sci-fi plots usually bore me, but I love how creative and relevant the majority of these episodes are. The “lore-building” of these shadow government factions is done with a mixture of care and overt silliness, which, in my opinion, is the right line to walk when you’re making political jokes in every episode. The second half of the season only serves to improve upon this, mostly due to Reagan’s new entanglement with rival Ron Staedtler (played by TMS darling Adam Scott), which is both tragically delightful and delightfully tragic.
As with Tuca and Bertie, I’m beyond disappointed that we won’t see more Inside Job in the imminent future. Shows like this deserve a chance to stand on two legs without worrying whether the rug will be pulled out from under them—especially when they’re this good. I’ll just end by saying that you should definitely watch Inside Job, and send thoughts of goodwill to all of the people who worked on it.
(featured image: Netflix)
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