At the center of the show are Simon and Zed, best buds who somehow both share both an apartment and a job without getting sick of each other. They’re similar to the good-natured manboys who inhabit much of the Apatow-verse, but a little less cocky and a lot geekier.
The dudes are shaken up by the arrival of a new techie who has the unique quality of not being male. Crushes, video game references, and nerf gun shoot outs ensue.
The series is produced by Kill9 Studios, an independent production house that recently had a niche YouTube hit with Boomers Day Off, an exceptionally funny parody of the zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. The team behind ./shutdown combines both extensive experience in traditional media (series co-creator Michelle Osorio) with expertise from the trenches of IT (studio founder David Gonzales ), and their professionalism is evident in the creative cinematography and a likable cast of characters. The episodes do tend to feel a little long, especailly early in the series, but it’s not a fatal flaw.
The impressively witty script frequently rings true to the early 20’s ungainfully employed lifestyle. There are a couple troubling choices, the first of which is the repeated use of their catchphrase “douche canoe” starting at around episode 7. I’m not saying it’s not a funny word. I’m saying by the fifth time, it starts to lose it’s edge.
A few of the techies also casually refer to another character as a dyke. It’s either a miscalculation or an attempt to portray the boys-clubby atmosphere accurately. It’s clearly not a case of outright homophobia because of the way this plot line eventually develops, but it remains jarring, particularly coming at such an early point in the series.
Those issues aside, ./shutdown is an enjoyable show by nerds, for nerds. The internet is saturated with this genre, but ./shutdown distinguishes itself by the strength of it’s acting, writing, and easy going plot structure.
Like the workplace sitcoms of yore, the appeal of ./shutdown comes from looking in on the camaraderie and interpersonal-drama of a group of co-workers, without having to actually do any work.