Bored is a Web Video series by New Zealand comedy troupe Viva La Dirt League. Presented in a Work Com format, the show follows the misadventures of a group of employees at a gaming electronics store, and mostly focuses on awkward workplace interactions and nightmare retail scenarios in the new millenium, with plenty of nerd culture references sprinkled in.
Bored is Viva La Dirt League's longest-running continuous production, being their first attempt at new ongoing content after changing their format from music video parodies, and ran for a while with only two main cast members (Rowan Bettjeman and Alan Morrison) after the dissolution of the original troupe. The show got off to a bit of a slow start, performing respectably but not spectacularly, only taking off in popularity (by the group's own admission) with the meteoric rise of sister show Epic NPC Man (which coincided with the arrival of third cast member Adam King). Bored is now considered a classic in its own right, and it is considered a mark of true fandom to list this as one's favorite VLDL show.
Fun Fact: The electronics store where the show takes place, PlayTech, is a real electronics store in Auckland. The troupe is friends with the owner and uses the shop as a standing set in exchange for utilizing the store's name and branding as Product Placement.
A playlist of all episodes can be found here.
Bored sports the following tropes:
- Accidental Innuendo: invoked in episode "Bigger", wherein Rowan and Alan argue over whose is bigger; turns out Ellie has the biggest (mouse pad).
- Accidental Misnaming: Rowan does this to everyone else in (appropriately enough) "Wrong Name".
- The Alleged Boss: In the initial episodes Rowan was technically Alan's boss, but he used to act more like his co-worker in equal conditions and friend than as a boss, this reaches the point that Alan sometimes had to remind Rowan that he is manager.
- Ascended Meme: The show has tackled popular internet memes such as "mansplaining", "Karen" and "I Don't Work Here Lady".
- Art Shift / Roger Rabbit Effect: One episode features the main cast re-imagined as cartoon characters, complete with toon physics. Rowan is not convinced.
- There was another animated episode, but it didn't focus on the main characters or setting.
- Bad Boss: Rowan is arrogant, self-absorbed, rude, insensitive, stubborn and unobservant. He avoids being a Pointy-Haired Boss (barely) because some episodes show he actually does know what he's doing (even though other times he's completely clueless).
- Berserk Button: Do not drop PlayTech property (such as spoons or pens) in Rowan's presence.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Alan is nominally the Only Sane Man, but if you push him too far he'll snap. He has killed (by the actor's count) at least three people inside the store over the course of the series.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Rowan in "Karan vs Manager" arrives as Karen is about to berate Adam, using his manager authority to fend her off.
- In "Karen wants a showdown" Rowan tries to defeat her again, but is overwhelmed when two other Karens show up. At that moment, Alan walks in with his supermanager white shirt on.
- If an episode focuses on Adam, chances are good that he'll be reduced to tears by the end of it.
- Customer Hamish also serves this role; it's rare to see him leave the store with the items/services he has paid for.
- In his rivalry with Customer Ben, Alan becomes this, though on occasion he strikes back.
- Deliveryman Byron fills this role in "Work Training", wherein the others not only forgot he still works there, they forget he's even in the room with them.
- Cassandra Truth: None of them believe Rowan is actually a model, but he's shown to have a billboard in Times Square note . Another Fun Fact: Rowan Bettjeman actually is an actor and model with a number of professional credits under his belt.
- Rowan has so many they actually devoted an entire episode to pointing it out.Unbelievable. UN-believable.
Pay cuts all around!
Manager privileges, BOI.
Just a sec.
I'm a model.
- Alan tends to insert the word "literally" whenever he's trying to make a point.
- Customer Ben (like all the actor's characters) has "OUT-RAY-GEOUS!"
- Rowan has so many they actually devoted an entire episode to pointing it out.
- Comic Trio: Rowan is the loudmouth Leader, Adam is the sensitive and naive Fool, and Alan is the generally powerless normal guy.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Rowan hands out free samples (i.e. actual merchandise) like he sees in the supermarket. Alan has to explain the relative cost of a supermarket sample vs. PlayTech merchandise.
- Rowan also doesn't quite get the idea of a "compliment sandwich" (i.e. a compliment, followed by a critique, followed by another compliment) — although Adam, the recipient of said "sandwich", isn't actually much better.
- Crazy-Prepared: Rowan writes a set of scripted responses for the sales staff when interacting with customers. Despite using vague and generic phrasing, the scripts prove surprisingly effective when the customer goes off on a personal tangent.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: In some episodes Rowan says something totally ridiculous that turns out to be true.
- Death Is Cheap: There are several episodes where characters are implied to have died, and at least one where this is explicitly the case. They got better.
- Didn't Think This Through: Deliveryman Byron has a few deliveries to make before the end of the day and so wants to get them all done in one trip. Tragically, he underestimates both the number and size of the packages, and struggles to load them on his tiny scooter.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Karen naturally has a deep voice, but in "Karen wants a showdown" her voice gains a reverb bordering on Voice of the Legion.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Once Ellie joins the main cast:
- Rowan is Choleric — the short-tempered, callous, insensitive leader.
- Alan is Melancholic — brooding, reserved, faithful and practical, but with a layer of cynicism. Also, on occasion, very paranoid.
- Adam is Phlegmatic — timid, emotional, introverted and submissive.
- Ellie is Sanguine — extroverted and energetic but sometimes undisciplined.
- The Friend No One Likes: Rowan; the others tolerate him only because he's the boss. The episode "Work Drinks" indicates that the employees often take off for drinks after hours without him, and while he acts cavalier upon learning this, he's shown to be actually quite hurt by it.
- "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": When a thief is trying to steal a Mac and confesses that he is going to use it to play games, Alan appears to beat him, when Rowan thanks him for having stopped the thief, Alan confesses that he did not know he was a thief.
- Humanoid Abomination: In her second appearance, Karen's voice gains a dark reverb, the air in the store grows cold with her arrival, she's capable of splitting herself into three Karens, and after being exorcised by Alan, Rowan and Adam she appears to disintegrate.
- Imagine Spot: Adam tells Rowan off after the latter "offers" to fetch him a coffee and then fails to follow through.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Rowan sometimes seems to show a soft side (such as comforting Ellie over her brother's death), only to be revealed that he is still a jerk. (He forces Ellie to continue playing Monopoly, after the aforementioned scene)
- Karma Houdini: Rowan does not usually suffer consequences for being a bad boss or fooling Hamish.
- Madness Mantra: Rowan just nervously repeats "You're a... girl!" whilst interviewing Ellie for a job.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Deliveryman Byron is tasked by Alan to deliver a package that is wrapped in the shape of a dead body. note
- Mushroom Samba: Rowan, Alan and Adam all accidentally get high at work (from eating, it turns out, Ellie's special brownie), resulting in all manner of special effects and even Medium Awareness.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Among the male workers, Adam is a Nice guy, Rowan is a jerkass, and Alan usually acts nice but with Jerk moments.
- Percussive Maintenance: Rowan's favorite method of computer repair, as shown in the episode "Hit It."
- Pet the Dog: Rowan gets moments like these occasionally (VERY occasionally) just to remind us he's actually human. See, for example, the episode "High Five".
- Product Placement: Not only the PlayTech store (as mentioned in the body), but also certain episodes will feature specific merchandise.
- Prone to Tears: Adam has a gift for fake sobbing.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: If you're going to offer to make Ellie a tea, you DAMN WELL better not add too much milk.
- Revealing Hug / Traitor Shot: Adam's debut episode ends with a twofer.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Adam is the "cry at the drop of a hat" Sensitive Guy while Rowan is the Jerk Jock Manly Man (albeit kind of a nerdy version of one), with Alan falling somewhere in between.
- Sliding Scale of Beauty: Ellie in-universe is considered Common Beauty or Special Average, Rowan and Adam consider her attractive, but she does not usually attract much attention, at least not like other female characters, such as those who are played by Britt.
- The Smurfette Principle: Ellie is the only girl in the cast.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Customer Ben in "In And Out" tries to browse past closing time. Big mistake.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the initial episodes Rowan was relatively friendly, acting more like a co-worker than a boss, eventually becoming the bad boss for which he is best known.
- With Friends Like These...: Adam's "best mate" David, who scams Adam on auto repairs (charging 5K a pop to check the "flux capacitor"), and even comes into the store and robs Adam at forkpoint.
- Whole Plot Reference: The "White Shirt Saga" is a pastiche of The Lord of the Rings.