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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Corporate is a workplace comedy that paints a pretty bleak picture of corporate culture. Some jokes center on edgy sexual concepts: An internet meme of a man says he has the "world's smallest penis." A main character jokes about watching "tentacle porn" and receiving "hand jobs." Plotlines center around corporate misdeeds, like an offensive tweet or an unsavory military contract, that might go over kids' heads. Jokes enter other iffy territory, like when a man who's threatened with being fired stands on a high building ledge saying he's going to jump off. Unbleeped language includes "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "bukkake," "dick," and "sucks," but "f--k" is bleeped (and frequently used). Women and people of color have strong, central roles.
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What's the story?
In the workplace comedy CORPORATE, Matt (Matt Ingebretson) and Jake (Jake Weisman) are junior executives in training at multinational corporation Hampton DeVille -- and they're utterly miserable. They're at the mercy of despotic CEO Christian DeVille (Lance Reddick), his executive lickspittles John (Adam Lustick) and Kate (Anne Dudek), who aren't afraid to take credit for everything good Matt and Jake accomplish or to lay blame and consequences on them for anything that goes wrong. Matt and Jake's work life is a never-ending series of disasters, but it's worth it for the health benefits ... right?
Is it any good?
There are a lot of funny things about offices, and this series finds them all: flickering fluorescent lights, logo'd mugs, coworkers who lecture you over the difference between cc'ing or bcc'ing each other. "Does it ever bother you that the corporation we work for is evil?" dead-eyed Matt asks the more optimistic (or perhaps just more resigned) Jake. "Every corporation's evil," shrugs Jake. "We at least get health benefits." Every corporation may be evil, but most don't have a cartoonish villain at the helm -- and Lance Reddick is a gas to watch as he blithely sells junk guns to the CIA, introduces a tablet that's six times the size of an iPad, or plans to decimate the United States with a "hurricane machine."
Meanwhile, Kate and John swan around the office looking for new ways to break Matt's spirit. Upon hearing that Matt's anxiety makes it difficult for him to sleep, John asks "If you can't manage your emotions, Matt, what makes you think you can manage people?" Too harsh? Au contraire, as John and Kate point out, Christian DeVille encourages "confrontational criticism" to the point where there's a motivational poster about it hanging above the cubicles. Hopefully, viewers of Corporate don't work in a place as soul-deadening as Hampton DeVille, but you'll recognize the drab walls, the gray carpet, the co-worker who crashes parties to score free cake -- and this sharp show will make you laugh way harder than "Dilbert" ever could.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Corporate's take on corporate culture and whether it takes creative liberties for the sake of comedy. Does the series glorify working at a big business or poke fun at it? How close does Corporate come to accurately portraying the corporate world?
How has technology affected the way young people think about the future in terms of college and careers? How is today's job market different from the one your parents entered after high school and college?
Do you think the series paints an accurate picture of office behavior? Has corporate culture been exaggerated for the sake of comedy?
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