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'Inside Job' on Netflix laughs at absurd conspiracy theories


‘Inside Job’ on Netflix laughs at absurd conspiracy theories

ALL of them.

Newsflash: Bigfoot is real! World events are controlled by a secret organization run by a sinister cabal. People –including Avril Lavigne?! — are being cloned for nefarious purposes. The Earth is hollow, and in fact, some very alien looking residents from the inside live among us. The moon landings were faked (sort of). Subliminal messages are being embedded in our entertainment media — beware the Minions’ voices!

This is just a small sampling of the paranormal beliefs and paranoid conspiracy theories (let’s collectively call them “fringe beliefs”) portrayed as being real within the setting of Inside Job, the just-released 10-episode animated series on Netflix, from the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch.

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Of course, Inside Job isn’t the first work of fiction to portray a world where the fringe beliefs are true. The Men in Black movies and, more recently, the TBS series People of Earth and 2020’s Resident Alien, all used the premise that aliens are among us, implying the conspiracy theories of government cover-ups are true. Inside Job doubles down (and then some) on this concept. because in this series, every imaginable fringe belief is real, not just those concerning aliens.

The fringe stuff comes fast and furious, using the technique featured in The Simpsons and Futurama of injecting humor and Easter eggs (which may or may not be related to the unfolding plot) into the foreground action – as well as into the scene’s background. Even someone fairly knowledgeable about fringe beliefs will have a difficult time noticing absolutely everything; there were things I’m sure I didn’t catch.

For example, a bar frequented by the characters has many posters and plaques on the wall. I noticed “Bilderberg,” a conspiracy reference, but I had no clue about several other items. When a character was shown huffing a canister labeled “Chemtrails” to get buzzed, I laughed out loud. The writers certainly know their fringe.

As coincidence would have it (is anything a coincidence?) I, ran across the Inside Job promo when I launched Netflix on the evening the series was released. I’d intended to watch something else, but after viewing the trailer I felt compelled to change plans and check the show out right then and there. But before watching a single episode, I made a post about the show on my Facebook page, The Well-Known Skeptic, to get an idea of what other skeptics thought about it. Here are some of the earliest comments:

  • Brilliant and hilarious!
  • I’m watching it right now. I can’t say I’ve laughed this hard in years.
  • I just watched the first 3 episodes… Loved it. So much giggle.
  • Beyond every conspiracy ever it’s so loaded with pop culture references it’s hard to catch them all. Or even know what they all are. But it’s witty and funny.
  • Just be ready to give it your undivided attention, because the jokes and visual gags come SO often and SO quickly. This is a lot of fun!
  • This is awesome! I’m just wondering how the conspiracy nuts will work this show into their story.

It’s true — Inside Job is absolutely dazzling at lampooning the fringe beliefs that way too many people hold. If you’re someone who recognizes this, I think you’ll get a major kick out of the show. But what if you’re someone who actually believes these things?

Several years ago, I attended a presentation at a local fringe club where the evening’s speaker claimed that the recent U.S. Navy UFO video leaks were part of a planned effort by the government to psychologically prepare its population for the revelation of the truth: aliens-are-here. And it was implied that the Stargate series, and shows like it, were produced in support of this effort. But there was more — I learned of a secret space program which uses vehicles derived from alien technology. Also, our government has access to portals that can instantly transport people to the Moon and Mars. So, of course, we have secret bases on those celestial objects.

Inside Job chemtrails

At the meeting’s end, an attendee said he was outraged because this was proof that the U.S. government has access to amazing alien-derived technology, including medical devices, all of which are kept from the public. Yes, the medical establishment is letting people die of cancer and other supposedly “incurable” diseases because they have not yet been allowed to reveal the truth about aliens! I was probably the only one in the crowd of nearly 50 that wasn’t buying all of this.

My hope is that watching the absurdity of Inside Job will help some of those people reconsider and think, “Maybe aliens didn’t crash at Roswell after all. Maybe QAnon is bullsh*t and there is no Deep State. Maybe COVID is real and the vaccines don’t have microchips!” Wishful thinking, I admit, but one can hope!

AIPT Science is co-presented by AIPT and the New York City Skeptics.

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