Try to make sense of Bartlett, a new musical comedy about Silicon Valley

I’d like to explain something, anything, about the trailer you’re about to watch, but I’m truly at a loss here. Like a fever dream filled with manic celebrities and dashed promises, so too descends Bartlett, a musical comedy in which people allegedly sing about Silicon Valley. Also Lin-Manuel Miranda is there for some reason.

The six-part streaming comedy series, headed to Vimeo, will *squints at press release* tackle “timely subjects including office politics, gender, race equality and workplace romance” through the lens of advertising executives in Silicon Valley. It takes place over the course of a single day, following “advertising agency bad boy” Roger Newhouse, played by Anthony Veneziale, a producer / writer / actor for PBS’s revival of The Electric Company.

According to the summary of the show, guy plans to quit his job, guy’s plan goes awry and also involves him being dumped by his successful tech-exec girlfriend, guy attempts to reclaim his own personal agency, guy expresses his complicated emotions largely through sudden musical moments, a la Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. According to this 2.5-minute teaser for the show, though, this show is apparently a random assemblage of unrelated confrontations, VR gags, mockery of startup culture, and virtually no music. There is a small amount of rapping, and an unfortunately not-small percentage of shots in which Roger is not wearing pants.

Why advertise your show as a musical and skimp on the music? Why advertise your show as a comedy and skimp on the jokes? Was this trailer assembled via an algorithm in the earliest stages of machine learning? Or is the no-pants thing just a clue that this is all a feverish anxiety dream? I have no idea. There are lots of other clips on Vimeo if you want to explore further, and there’s more Lin-Manuel Miranda, if that’s what you’re here for. Bartlett premieres January 30th on Vimeo.

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