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Podcast / Our Fair City

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"HartLife: All the Life You'll Ever Need"

Our Fair City is an online Audio Play/Podcast set in a future dystopian version of Hartford, CT. Following a climate-change-related disaster, humanity is now confined to subterranean cities. HartLife, an insurance company, now runs the lives of all "policies" in the city. Lightning rigs high above the city gather energy from thunderstorms, mad scientists walk the earth, and adorably monstrous Molepeople dig tunnels deep underground to expand the city's habitable space.

Framed as "true dramatizations of our city's glorious history," Our Fair City is equal parts camp, sci-fi horror, and folk tale. So listen, and remember.

The series can be downloaded for free online here:

See also Unwell, the production team's next podcast, with which Our Fair City shares a few voice actors.


This podcast provides examples of:

  • Black Comedy: The series would be a lot more horrifying if not for the Narrator's blase attitude and the humor. Considering that it's unleashed a Zombie Apocalypse, the utter collapse of society in Hartford (twice!) and giant carnivorous ants, that's saying a lot.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Andrew Snidge, though he gets more competent as the series progresses.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The Department, a webcomic published online between the fourth and fifth seasons. Three volumes of additional tie-in comics have been published in print.
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  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Averted with Vice-President Davenport. He may be a complete Jerkass employed by a completely immoral company, but he isn't corrupt.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Though Neal's main mission is to find Allison, he tries to help nearly everyone he encounters on his search.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Erin, Vice-President Davenport's daughter and Torture Technician.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Allison hits it hard by season 7. Watching your lover die, watching several apocalyptic events threaten the Tower, nearly being a party to mass murder/terrorism, and being in the middle of one of said apocalyptic events which seems to be the one that finally ends it all will do this to you.
  • Fantastic Racism: It would probably be easier to count the human characters who aren't complete jerks to the Molepeople.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Dr. Emily Caligari never says please. Moleperson or not no one is safe from being yelled at.
  • Heel Realization: Vice-President Davenport has one after seeing the consequences of his forcing the Switcher to cut off power to a hospital.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The majority of the show's Future Slang is based on corporate jargon.
  • Hope Spot: Occurs at the end of Season 7, episode 17. Alison, after trying to make a life outside the company and failing, along with losing Neal, and being stranded in the tundra... leaves the grounds of Hartford, going beyond the furthest listening post of HartLife. To go by HartLife's own claims, there's nothing out there, and the Narrator solemnly declares that she is dead in all meaningful ways, beyond the reach of the company, beyond the edge of the world. Except not really - there's a staticky radio message at the end, with Alison claiming that she found 'something' Outside.
  • I Call It "Vera": Neal's beloved shovel, Betsey.
  • I Have No Son!: Inverted with Nathan, who, upon discovering that his mother is alive(ish) and acting as a Parental Substitute for Andrew, declares that he no longer has a mother... and then attacks her with a shovel.
  • Losing Your Head: Elizabeth Rourke. TWICE.
  • Mad Scientist: Appears to be a prerequisite for nearly every scientist on the show. Dr. West and Dr. Caligari are the two most noteworthy examples.
  • Not Hyperbole: In one season 8 episode, Caligari derisively claims that the Managers do nothing but take laps in the company pool while others work on things of actual importance. By the end, it turns out she wasn't kidding.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Simon instead calls them "The Woken".
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: HartLife seems to *run* on this
  • Older Than They Look: To Neal's surprise, Loamy the Moleperson is old enough to have had children.
  • Parody Sue: Neal Henderson is basically a Tall Tale hero in a post-apocalyptic setting - inexplicably superhuman, able to shrug off anything, the worst you can say is that he's a bit oblivious. It might be insufferable if it wasn't so funny.
  • Pint-Size Powerhouse: MolePeople are no more than three feet in height, but they're strong enough to lift ten humans, or bring the tunnels crashing down on them if those humans do anything impolite.
  • Plague Zombie: Averted. Dr. West's reanimated corpses reproduce asexually.
  • Sanity Slippage: A slight yet noticeable case for the Narrator - he gets somewhat more unhinged with each update.
  • Servant Race: The MolePeople, to the point where saying "no" to a human is a serious taboo that apparently none of them have tried. Their creator Dr. Moro came to regret this decision, and when Loamy becomes the first to say no, he expresses great pride.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The narrator often verges on this.
  • Shout-Out: The leading scientists all have public-domain names that line up with their fields of study: Dr. Emily Caligari, Dr. Herbert West (who once mentions having a friend named Victor), and Dr. Montgomery Moro.
  • Unreliable Narrator: As a representative of HartLife, the narrator often goes to great lengths to point out how the typically admirable acts of the heroes are against corporate policy and should therefore be discouraged, if not outright condemned! That, and going by the timeline, lots of his broadcasts were made during a violent uprising in Hartlife that he failed to mention.
  • Wham Episode: Three of them stand out
    • Season 7, Episode 17 ends with Allison having hit the Despair Event Horizon hard, and leaving Hartford for good. The narrator suggests that she's dead... Except, as proven by the end of the episode, she's not. She's found something outside the company, and the episode ends on an unexpectedly hopeful note that goes against what the narrator suggests.
    • Season 7, Episode 19: After years of listeners getting used to the narrator's pro-company spin on events, with some of them even falling into Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy and thinking that Hartlife wins and the various rebels are Doomed by Canon... it turns out they're not. It ends with Andrew, Herbert, Elizabeth, and Caligari busting through the narrator's door and taking him hostage, suggesting that Hart Life's been in a more dire situation than we realized.
    • Season 8: Hart Life is gone, the Tower completely abandoned.


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