If Heaven were a place that resembled your corporate office, where printer mishaps, stolen lunches and stilted ambitions were the norm, it would look a lot like God, Inc.
This sitdotcom, launched in December 2006 and resembles NBC’s The Office set in a cubicle-packed Heaven. It is the concoction of Los Angeles-based filmmaker Francis Stokes, whose previous efforts include the independent film Harold Buttleman, Daredevil Stuntman, which is available in its entirety online. Stokes is also the co-author of a self-proclaimed “eco-rant” Sludgie, which offers a humorous outlook on environmental issues.
After over a decade trying to break in to showbiz, Francis announced God, Inc. had been purchased by the Sci-Fi Channel for development as a TV show, which has given the series a good deal of press.
In God, Inc., Heaven isn’t run by the angels or even the titular character himself. Things get done courtesy of poor working stiffs recently dispatched from Earth. And though no one has actually seen God, everyone keeps hustling for fear of the unemployment line.
The workers are especially fearful of department head Piper, who is known for swiping chairs and avoiding eye contact with interns. Similar to some new sitcoms, the style is handheld camera with a documentary feel. But this is no mockumentary – despite obvious influences from the Christopher Guest and Ricky Gervais school. No talking heads comment on the comedy, which moves too fast for that. The humor derives from everyday awkward office situations interlaced with straight-faced mentions to things like the Porcupotamus, a foolish cross between the porcupine and hippopotamus that was a rejected animal design from production development.
Episode One finds a new intern in the product development department shown the ropes by her supervisor. In Episode Two the beleaguered Miracles department, which is being downsized, and cannot find the time or manpower to create worthwhile projects. (A war intervention form is over twenty pages and who has time for all that paperwork?) Someone accidently swipes God’s lunch in Episode Three, raising hell throughout the office. The harried culprit must figure out how to return the cream cheese and walnut on raisin bread sandwich back to the office fridge in time.
Watch Episode Four for a prime example of the blend of religious, office and subversive humor that gives God, Inc. its following. When the Product Development Intern cannot find the right printer, she searches the entire office, finding each machine mysteriously named after a pornstar. The heavenly employees don’t seem to notice the blaspemy. After all, to them, it’s only a job.