‘Dream Corp LLC’ takes the workplace comedy on a nightmarish trip
Adam Ramos | Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Adult Swim is hitting its stride in a big way. In an industry becoming more and more antiquated, the late-night alt-comedy haven continues to defy industry trends with its eclectic blend of surreal humor and innovative experimentation. The network’s latest addition to the chaotic canon, “Dream Corp LLC,” which premiered this past Sunday, sheds some light on why Adult Swim is becoming a formidable power in late-night television programming.
Do you sometimes wish you could undergo a one-time treatment to mitigate the effects of pesky psychological trauma without the expense and time of traditional therapy, via a haphazard, “Inception”-like medical procedure? On second thought, maybe stick to therapy. Anyway, that’s the premise of “Dream Corp LLC:” a show equal parts workplace comedy and freakish nightmare.
Reminiscent of Rick Sanchez (see “Rick and Morty”), Dr. Roberts (Jon Gries) is the lead “physician” at Dream Corp LLC, but other than his age and mad-scientist aesthetic, his source of his authority is unclear. Comedian Mark Proksch plays Randy Blink, the second-in-command at the “psychotherapeutic facility,” a man who admittedly hasn’t left the facility in 15 years. Rounding out the crew of “dream-analyzing doctors” is the insufferably eager intern and receptionist Joey (Stephanie Allynne), the chloroform wielding nurse, Ahmed (Ahmed Bharoocha) and last but not least, T.E.R.R.Y., an inappropriate-joke-cracking robot voiced by comedy legend Stephen Merchant.
In addition to cracking jokes, Merchant also serves as one of the show’s executive producers, along with fellow “The Office” crew member John Krasinski. The cohesiveness and camaraderie of characters signature of “The Office” is immediately visible in the duo’s latest collaboration. Similarly, “The Office’s” history of scripting side-splitting one-liners for oddball characters like Creed and Dwight shines through in “Dream Corp LLC,” albeit in a bit stranger context.
But much of the comparisons between the two shows end there. “Dream Corp LLC” trades in sappy love moments between office co-workers for depictions of uncomfortable Freudian projections and gruesome depictions of medical malpractices, all adding to the surreal environment of the show.
And while the fingerprints of Krasinski and Merchant are abundant, it is Adult Swim newcomer Daniel Stessen — the show’s creator — who ultimately guides the madness. Switching between live action and animation, Stessen’s work is extremely compelling to watch. Whereas the workplace comedy component is shot in live action, the dream projections are created via rotoscope, adding a dazzlingly psychedelic visual element to the show.
In typical Adult Swim fashion, the show packs a heap of comedy in its just 11-minute runtime — but maybe that’s the secret. What once only had an exclusive cult group of viewers, Adult Swim has managed to claw into the major network late-night viewer competition, thanks in part to programming similar to its latest addition.
Since its inception, Adult Swim has been providing its content creators unmatched freedom to conceive and explore interesting concepts, and it seems their model is beginning to pay off. As traditional methods of content consumption continue to fall to the wayside, Adult Swim is progressively permeating into the mainstream on the back of mainstay shows like “Robot Chicken” as well as more recent hits like “Rick and Morty” and “The Eric André Show.”
Will “Dream Corp LLC” be the latest show to cross over? Maybe, but maybe not. What’s important though is that Adult Swim continues to prove its commitment to taking risks in the name of television innovation. “Dream Corp LLC” may not be your average workplace comedy, but — just like a dream gone bad — it’s worth the ride.