Jordan Peele’s ‘Weird City’ Draws Battle Lines Between the Haves and the Have Nots

YouTube Premium is taking no prisoners with their new anthology series.
Weird City
YouTube Premium
By  · Published on January 10th, 2019

For those thinking Jordan Peele said all he has to say about our society’s crumbling morality in Get Out, I present you his new YouTube Premium show co-produced with Charlie Sanders. Weird City is a science fiction comedy anthology series in which each episode focuses on a denizen of the titular metropolis. There is plenty of rage to go around. As they proved week in and week out on Key & Peele, Peele and Sanders are delivering vicious commentary packaged into each odd, uncomfortable laugh.

What separates Weird City from other dystopian locations is that it is neatly divided by The Line. Here are The Haves vs. The Have Nots. Those that live above The Line are swimming in truffles and Star Trek technology. The folks that live below The Line are sweating it out amongst food trucks and laundromats. Those poor bastards.

Based on the below trailer, it appears that we’ll be getting stories from both sides of the border as well as a few from those that dare to cross The Line. Weaving the tales together is the peculiar Dr. Negari, observing our foolish battles with social media addiction, online dating, and fitness obsession. Heck, the metaphors are not subtle, but who needs subtlety in 2019. We vote for the sledgehammer.

Peele’s involvement and the subject matter were already enticing enough to garner our excitement, but now that we can actually see this massive cast assembled as well as the perverse scenarios that they’ll be filtered through, my enthusiasm for the series has increased exponentially. Plenty of actors are hitching their wagon to the name of Jordan Peele: Awkwafina, Yvette Nicole Brown, Levar Burton, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Sara Gilbert, Ed O’Neill, Cynthy Wu, and Steven Yeun.

Talent craves talent, and Jordan Peele has never been more popular. Already on his docket are the Nazi-hunting period drama and the Lorena Bobbit docuseries over at Amazon, the stop-motion Key & Peele reunionLovecraft Country for HBO, and the Twilight Zone reboot. Plus Candyman, and his terrifying follow-up feature, Us.

On paper, Weird City’s comparisons to The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror seem to make sense. Science Fiction. Check. Social commentary. Check. After watching the trailer, though, the film that immediately sprung to mind was last year’s Sorry To Bother You. Boots Riley’s “comedy” delivered serious laughs with its heroic telemarketer’s fantastical ascension to wealth via his magical white voice power, but the chuckles earned seared the heart. Absurdity is often only funny because it is so damn relatable. Laugh, then get organized.

I recognized that painful comedic experience of Sorry To Bother You as an extension of the laughter earned from Key & Peele. Sketches like “Auction Block” or “Awesome Hitler Story” zeroed in on real-life human atrocity, and picked the scab of wounds white society would happily forget, or worse yet, believe to have resolved. More often than not, Key & Peele forced its audience to confront its hypocrisy.

Weird City is sci-fi Key & Peele. Enjoy the laughter, but remember to reevaluate your life after each episode. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)