Podcast, the democratisation of radio. Anybody with a microphone, a computer and an internet connection (necessities today) can reach the masses the world over. But as with any creative endeavour, it takes a lot of skill and effort to make it a success, yet with competing life pressures. In 2018, the tale of one such attempt at starting a successful podcasting company was chronicled into a sitcom starring one Zach Braff, a comedy about balance and believing in yourself, a tale suitable for streaming, called Alex Inc.
When 37-year-old podcast creator Alex Schuman feels like he’s in a rut with his job. He quits his job and invests most of his savings into starting his own company, with a devoted producer and his brother as his only employees. The series follows the hectic demands of all these competing draws for attention, the ones in work and the ones at home. As Alex doubts, he’s making the right choice.
Alex Inc is a charming, almost to a fault, as the inspiring story is based on real events, but it plays so fast and loose with the facts to tell its own thing. For instance, I don’t know why for instance Alex’s wife here is of Indian descent and in reality, she’s Iranian. But Tiya Sircar, currently on the acclaimed The Good Place, is a good counter to Alex’s (played by Scrubs star Zach Braff) antics. The show also spends some time with Alex’s children, and they have their own relationships and activities to deal with. These usually help reinforce the message that Alex is trying to get to grips with the day’s episode.
The office space that Alex calls his own is a shared communal lot with a load of other businesses. I didn’t know this was an option. But it helps with the quirky feel of the show itself. The relationship between Alex’s brother, played by Scorsese veteran Michael Imperioli and Alex’s obsequious producer is a constant source of comedy, as their competing styles and tool sets clash. It heightens the working atmosphere that’s filled with both competition and comradery. But the show isn’t entirely a workplace comedy as a lot of the action also takes place at home, as the pressure of Alex’s start-up starts to inflict its toll on his family life and vice versa.
Alex Inc only lasted a season, but it’s familiar-feeling charming take on a new technology felt refreshing. It’s a charming feel-good story about following your dreams, yes, it’s a little safe in places, yes, it’s a little predictable but its also a lot of fun too. But even with all the advantages Alex has in the show, starting a business can be challenging as does raising a family, as does doing both of those at once. There’s no doubt about it, Alex Inc. is worthy of a binge-watch/listen in the podcast player of your choice.
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