In the not-too-distant future, the world becomes just a little too literal. In Aline Andrade and Michael Rivera’s Enemy of the People, the fictional Zeonn Corporation takes “kissing a*s” for career advancement to its literal extreme.
Written by Kevin Warren, the corporate offices of Zeonn are incredibly tense this morning. Word has gotten around that a supervisor position has opened. The leading candidates for the job are Suzy (Shani Drake) and Tianna (Sarah Jarman). Tianna has the edge as her manager Dana just dropped trow and received a fresh Tianna a*s-kissing.
One’s desire to pucker up is how the corporate world works in the future. But what happens when mailroom clerk, Sly (Reuel Belt), refuses to kiss the a*s of Zeonn’s president? He becomes “enemy of the people” and winds up bound, gagged, and beaten for his principles.
Understand, Enemy of the People is a low-budget independent web series, and we want to see more of these. The filmmakers do a good job of creating an authentic office environment. The acting is good as well. And as the team produces more episodes, the production qualities will improve significantly. That said, some fundamental problems may make it difficult to move from this pilot episode to the second.
“…just dropped trow and received a fresh Tianna a*s-kissing.”
The biggest problem of the series concerns the story and character development. There’s not enough of it, and so Enemy of the People suffers from a lack of depth. What is Zeonn Corporation? What do they do? What business are they in? It may have been mentioned, but clearly, I missed it, and no one in the office appears to be doing anything related to the actual business. It’s a typical office setting with people in cubicles. Maybe the actual business is going to be revealed in future episodes. The problem is you’ve got this single pilot episode to make an impression, yet the sinister corporation comes off as bland.
Regarding characters, it’s the same issue. The protagonists are the likable ones with a moral backbone, but who are they? Why should I like Suzy and Sly and care about their journey? Yes, they do the right thing in this ethically bankrupt company, but why? And what are the consequences of not working at Zeonn? This can be solved with backstory. Why is this position so important to Suzy, to the point where she’s willing to kiss a***s? Why is she so reluctant to actually do it when others are not? Again, probably revealed in future episodes, but first impressions.
There is an intriguing idea behind Enemy of the People. It sets up a dystopian corporate future set against a dark, resistance movement working in the background to take it down. The “a*s kissing” is a funny idea, but if overdone, will it wear out its welcome? But where the series falls short is asking the question, why should I stick around for the next episode?
"…sets up a dystopian corporate future set against a dark, resistance movement working in the background..."