This is a time when many people with established jobs are trying to renegotiate the amount of time they must show up to work each week. In many cases, the response to returning to the office has been, “For the love of God, no.” For the past two years, many Americans have loved avoiding a time-wasting commute, the workplace drama, and interpersonal conflicts that result from being forcibly shackled to a desk with a set group of people every day. Reluctance to rejoin that system is high.
This week, Saturday Night Live addressed this trend by taking the premise of a nightmare office to its ultimate extension. Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman, and Melissa Villaseñor are corporate co-workers seen in the restroom, gossiping about an annoying colleague: Janet. The worst thing about her? She’s so quiet. During carpool, she’ll disappear, then pop up out of the back seat like Chucky, the murderous doll from the horror series Child’s Play.
Guess who’s in the stall behind them? An eavesdropping Chucky (Sarah Sherman), who happens to be another one of their co-workers and takes offense at being equated to the office pariah. He terrorizes and threatens to kill the women right there, but their ultimate fate is worse: They all must participate in a corporate HR session to field his complaint.
“Chucky as coworker” is a solid premise on its own, but this sketch takes things to the next level: Sherman is an exceptional Chucky, Fineman’s character attributes Chucky’s eavesdropping to the company’s unsafe gender-neutral bathroom policy, and Jake Gyllenhaal (especially good as the company’s HR flunky) tells Chucky that the women were wrong to equate him to sucky Janet, and that he belongs at the company because “each of us has a different story,” even as the doll repeatedly stabs his leg. Meanwhile, Janet is in the corner taking notes (and eating overly fragrant food).
Real-life corporate nightmares aren’t too far apart. Who among us hasn’t felt like we’ve been repeatedly shanked in the leg at a meeting (or prayed for strength when dealing with a cubemate’s odiferous food choices)?