Getting On: Season 1 created by Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, and Joanna Scanlan (BBC Worldwide Productions, Home Box Office, Anima Sola Productions)
Starring Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, and Mel Rodriguez.
Far from the Curse Is Found
In the theological narrative of the fall, God curses humanity in two distinct ways: God makes childbirth incredibly painful and physical labor toilsome.
While drugs have attempted to remove some of the sting from childbirth, the birthing process remains quite the ordeal. Likewise, our work seems to be unrewarding. Many people can’t stand their jobs. In fact, some statistics even suggest that number might even nudge up against 70% of the workforce.
Even if we can’t possibly apply the notion of hard labor and toil to many of our modern office jobs, the unfulfilling nature of work seems to coincide with the “curse” of toil.
This theme provides the bedrock for HBO’s latest dark comedy, Getting On.
The Characters of Geriatric Care
Set in a geriatric extended care portion of a run-of-the-mill California hospital, Getting On offers a focused look at the people tasked with caring for the forgotten and discarded of society.
The job is unforgiving, unrewarding, and tiring to the bone.
Through this window, the viewer observes the inner workings of job politics, struggles to make a living, and the numbing agent of death.
Dr. Jenna James (Laurie Metcalf) runs the ward. Her truculent behavior constantly demeans her nurses even though she is completely clueless to how her influence degrades those around her. A.D.D. to the core, Dr. James flutters around projecting her misery about her position on others while focusing relentlessly on stool samples for her research project.
Nurse Dawn Forchette (Alex Borstein) knows the ropes, having been employed in the geriatric unit the longest. Her experience also comes with a level of indifference to her performance, a fact that causes tensions between her and her superior/maybe-boyfriend Patsy de la Serda (Mel Rodriguez).
Finally, new-to-the-ward nurse Didi Ortley (Niecy Nash) carries the weight of shock and awe the audience would most certainly feel in such a position. Just hoping to pay the rent, Didi does her best to just keep her head above the water as the demands of patients and managers swirl around her.
Most certainly due to its emergence from similar roots, Getting On closely resembles The Office with one distinction. While both shows humorously depict how crazy our work lives are when we really think about it, the characters in Getting On are pretty miserable in their current circumstances.
Even though selling paper doesn’t seem like the greatest career choice, the characters on The Office had a joie de vivre. Not so for Getting On. Geriatric care is soul sucking and the writers of Getting On want you to know it.
Toil: Why Millenials Don’t Mix Well with Work
Which turns us back to the idea of toil. My generation especially reacts allergically to toil. We all have a sense of entitlement about what jobs we should do, how much money we should make, and where we should be on our career path at this point. Where previous generations knew you had to pay your dues before you could cash in, my generation has been told we can be anything we want to be and it seems we all want to be rich without much thought about hard work. This position means most of us look for jobs where we feel our work matters and at the first sign of difficulty, we’re off to the next thing.
In a darkly entertaining manner, Getting On critiques such positions. Work is difficult. Work will tire you to the bone. But, “getting on” is what you have to do.
I recommend checking out this series. Getting On is an intriguing show.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5