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Death Is Just the Beginning: The Undead Anxiety Attack of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’

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Over at the Ringer, I wrote about the wonderful and hilarious What We Do in the Shadows, a show about vampires on the FX network. It’s also about the horrors of process and bureaucracy, and how living with roommates can be the absolute worst. A worthy binge for anyone looking for such a thing!

What if we die, and in the afterlife everything’s the same?

This is, in many ways, the darkly comic nightmare posited by What We Do in the Shadows, FX’s documentary-style comedy that follows the travails of four vampires living together as roommates in a spooky house on Staten Island. As the show wraps up its extremely funny first season on Wednesday night, we have witnessed the superhuman powers of Nadja, Laszlo, Nandor the Relentless, and Colin Robinson. They turn into bats, and flutter off at breakneck speed. They scale walls and hypnotize humans and drain them of their blood in momentary bursts of orgiastic violence. You know, vampire stuff.

They are also socially awkward, romantically and professionally frustrated, baffled by protocol and bureaucracy, and seemingly unable to agree on who is responsible for which household chores. In short, it is a program about the limits of the human experience, even when the human experience extends to an elite faction of the undead. Even in the realm of the supernatural, the forces of banality and inertia trump all. How terrifying is that?

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