Fired on Mars is a promising new adult animated workplace-based satire/comedy show from HBO Max with a slew of known names in the cast, but does it stand on its own in a saturated market or will it be another one season wonder? Let’s dive in and have a look.
Jeff Copper has made the big decision to leave earth behind to become a graphic designer on Mars for space startup Mars.ly. His long-time girlfriend is soon to be joining him planet side but for now is working on earth and their long-distance relationship seems to be flowing along nicely. All is going well in the world of Jeff that is until his bosses decide to unceremoniously delete Jeff’s role within the company and leave him stranded within the sprawling yet confining office-based colony. Jeff is left with no way back to earth and with nothing more than a “trust the process” from the powers that be, is forced to reinvent himself hoping to find some way to find a new position on the corporate ladder and some meaning to his situation.
Fired on Mars revolves around Jeff and his struggles to come to terms with his mistreatment while he does his best to find positives in the negative situation he has been handed. It highlights the us and them attitude that anyone that has ever worked in an office environment has surely felt and has that infuriating corporate speak down pat. We’re not given any reason for why they are on Mars, other than a red sky in the background, it is solely a reason to keep this man in a constant state of perpetual fear and mental torture.
Animation is hand drawn in a somewhat mid 90’s animation style that gives it a certain look instantly hooking anyone of that vintage, it’s definitely one of the reasons I was drawn to it. It feels more like a graphic novel and perfectly highlights the drudgery of corporate life.
Unfortunately Fired on Mars misses the point on too much for me to demand more. Jeff is woeful as a main character and I felt pity and disgust towards just how pathetic he is than any amount of empathy for how he is being treated. He is self-absorbed and borderline narcissistic without even realising it. His need to impress causes him to make mistake after mistake but never seems to be learning from it. Voiced by Luke Wilson I was expecting a different sort of character which probably influenced me to begin. Early on I thought this was the beginning of a rebuild of the character but don’t hold your breath.
I don’t like being someone to talk badly about another’s work so let me give you a bit of an overarching idea to better navigate Fired on Mars. This is not in any measure a comedy nor does it take any ideas from other more mainstream adult animation titles. It is an anxiety-inducing drama with many layers to uncover. Jeff’s inability to form meaningful relationships with anyone else in the office is designed to make you look at how these people are acting towards him as a person. The issue for me was these are all terrible people that I would not associate with and yet so is Jeff so I have nothing to hold onto or anyone to root for.
Fired on Mars is going to be very polarising in who watches it but you will know after one episode whether it is for you or not. While there are some small attempts at comedy it is not in your face or really that comical but happens in the background or play off of some nostalgic presence in the scene.
Fired on Mars is being released weekly on Binge here in Australia.
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