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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Colin goes mad with very boring power on a businesslike What We Do In The Shadows

Illustration for article titled Colin goes mad with very boring power on a businesslike iWhat We Do In The Shadows/i
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In honor of Colin Robinson becoming the most terrifying and all-powerful supernatural being in the What We Do In The Shadows universe, a query: What’s the most boring job you’ve ever had? Mine was a part-time gig where I called people who had ordered barcode equipment online to confirm their order details. (I don’t know why this was necessary, either.) If I got the machine, I had to call again every day until someone picked up and said, “um, yes, we did enter our shipping address correctly.” And since by 2013 caller ID was standard and no one was picking up calls from unknown numbers anymore, this meant I spent most of my days cycling through the same list of phone numbers, leaving messages I knew no one was listening to.

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The guy who sat next to me found out I liked comedy and would recite jokes from Jim Gaffigan specials verbatim, his face frozen with anticipation of my forced wheezes of laughter. Anything I might want to waste the afternoon looking at on the internet was blocked on the office computers. My only joy in life was when someone would order pizza and I could swipe leftovers from the kitchen; half the time it was Papa John’s, though, and that was always a letdown. Come to think of it, maybe this company was run by an energy vampire. It was certainly draining—so much so that I got fired after about three months when I just stopped doing anything at all.

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Mark Proksch has been doing some great work boring the shit out of his roommates and neighbors alike as a supporting player this season, so it was about time for him to have a showcase episode like “Colin’s Promotion.” In terms of Colin-at-work storylines, last season’s pairing of Mark Proksch with emotional vampire Vanessa Bayer in “Werewolf Feud” may have had a bit more comedic pizzaz, simply because Mark Proksch and Bayer played off of each other so well. But in terms of writing, this episode was overflowing with little passive-aggressive gestures, like Colin’s conference-call terrorism and aggressive throat-clearing, that really capture what a unique hell office work can be. Shana Gohd, the story editor who graduates to writing on this episode (congrats Shana!) has definitely worked in an office.

Colin’s backstory is in flux—we only recently found out he’s hundreds of years old, a statement a that’s supported by his comment that “coworkers die, but vampire roommates are forever,” as well as Laszlo’s assertion that “he came with the house.” It also turns out Colin can fly, do the hair trick from The Craft, grow a giant head, make his eyeballs glow white-hot, and suck out the vampires’ life force until they begin to—well, begin to look their age—when he’s juiced up enough on human boredom. He’s just discovering all of this now after being promoted for no discernible reason whatsoever (another true-to-life detail), which means that Colin’s never had even this petty level of authority in all of his centuries of existence. Or perhaps supervising child laborers at a 19th-century mill was more stimulating? More opportunity for fatal accidents, at least.

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Colin’s rise to boring power makes up the majority of this week’s episode, with a running bit about the vampires rearranging their art collection seeming more like a sidebar than a fully formed subplot. Both of these elements had some laugh-out-loud funny lines; I quite enjoyed both Nandor’s awkward eulogy and Nadja’s warbling throat-singing at the graveside of the three Colins, for example, and Mark Proksch’s sneaky spying on his subordinates was often hilarious. That being said, neither was the liveliest premise in What We Do In The Shadows history—quite literally when Colin started draining his housemates’ energy as revenge for ignoring him, leading to multiple scenes of the cast mumbling and laying supine on overstuffed antique couches. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the beast, when the beast is named Colin Robinson.


Stray Observations

  • This week’s episode was the one I got to see being filmed on a set visit. It was super fun, obviously. You can read more here, but one illuminating detail for this recap: Colin asking his new co-worker, “do you like conservative AM radio?” at the end of the episode is based on a real co-worker of Mark Proksch’s from a pre-fame temp gig.
  • Competing with the Ocean’s franchise collectibles from the Superb Owl episode for this season’s most random pop-culture reference: The Will & Grace mug on Colin’s desk.
  • “More like Pablo Pic-asshole.” A cheeky pun, and also a nod to what a misogynist asshole Picasso was in real life. Gotta love those art history jokes!
  • The real Guernica is intact and on display in Madrid, by the way.
  • Laszlo and Nadja seem to be having a bit of a second (third? 56th?) honeymoon after resolving the marital strife of the season-one finale.
  • Speaking of: “Get your hand off my wife’s ample—but firm!—back-side” wins this week’s award for Matt Berry Line Reading of the Week, although, “why subject us to this hell” was close.
  • “I finally figured out what the company does. It’s playground design and marketing. Or landmine design and manufacture. One of those.”
  • Not a lot of Guillermo in this episode, but him delightedly clasping his hands together when the vampires share their feelings was adorable.
  • I tried to look up what a Texas Instruments Paint Pro (at least, I think that was the gadget Colin says he used to make the portrait of himself and his roomies) was, and stumbled onto perhaps the most boring corner of all of YouTube. It’s almost as if I was led there on purpose. *Cue X-Files theme*

[Correction: The original version of this recap misspelled Mark Proksch’s name. It has been corrected, with apologies.]

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