New Mike Judge Comedy Clobbers Woke NPR Know-It-Alls

A new animated series that clobbers NPR with its own woke-stick lists three co-creators, but the fingerprints of one of them, Mike Judge, are all over this show.

Attacking woke culture was a hallmark of that greatest of all TV sitcoms -- animated or live action -- “King of the Hill,” which aired for 13 unforgettable seasons on Fox (1997-2010).

It was a masterpiece co-created by Judge, whose other satirical masterworks include the movies “Office Space” (1999) and “Idiocracy” (2006).

This new show -- titled “In The Know” and premiering Thursday on Peacock -- takes up the same cudgel in its depiction of the New York office of National Public Radio as a woke minefield where every utterance erupts in conflict over words and categories.



The show is built around a fictional NPR interview show called “In The Know,” hosted by a self-centered dimwit masquerading as an earnest know-it-all.

The character is a man with a woman’s name -- Lauren Caspian (pictured above) -- voiced by actor Zach Woods, who is one of the show’s co-creators. 

In the office, everyone’s worst critic is staff researcher and fact-checker Fabian (voiced by Caitlin Reilly), who I would say is probably a woman, but I do not want to get into trouble for that.

“I was just attacked on the subway!” says Fabian to Lauren one morning in the office break room, starting a typical conversation.

“Good God, what happened?” asks Lauren.

“Some meathead’s aftershave triggered one of my migraines!” she answers. “The way this country treats the neuro-sensitive makes me want to firebomb a Bath and Body Works!”

The statement has all the traits common among the woke generation -- self-righteousness, the blaming of others, an exaggerated description of a situation and its cause and effect, the application of the buzzword “triggered,” and violent ideation.

Later, an argument ensues over how to categorize the homeless. The reason is that Lauren, thinking it would be a generous, virtue-signaling gesture, invited a homeless street person up to the office to use the only bathroom -- a small, single-person facility.

The problem is that the man has decided to stay there indefinitely with the door locked, leading to acute discomfort for the staff, and a discussion about the ethics of forcing him to come out and leave.

It starts when Barb (voiced by J. Smith-Cameron) -- the well-meaning, 50-plus co-executive producer of “In The Know” -- refers to him as a “homeless gentleman.”

“Barb! That is hate speech! He is an unhoused person!” exclaims Lauren.

“Actually,” says Fabian, “the preferred term is ‘person who is currently without housing!’ ”

The show portrays the NPR New York office as an idiocracy with shades of “The Office.” That classic show was adapted for American TV by Greg Daniels, who co-created “King of the Hill” and is also a co-creator of “In The Know.”

The other co-creator of “In The Know,” Zach Woods, is also an actor best known for two shows -- “The Office” and “Silicon Valley,” also co-created by Judge.

In the radio show within a show, Lauren interviews real-life guests who appear as their non-animated selves on a video screen. These scenes are hilarious, and give the impression that at least some of the dialogue is improvised.

In Episode One, the two guests are model Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford and husband Rande Gerber, and Jonathan Van Ness of “Queer Eye” on Netflix. 

They both do very well in the episode, fielding out-of-left field curveballs from Lauren -- who, not surprisingly, is a terrible interviewer.

Perhaps this show’s best feature is its writing. The high quality of the script in Episode One actually made it thrilling to listen to.

Also notable is the decision on the part of the show’s creators to address NPR directly and by name, instead of simply coming up with a fictional name for a national public radio service.

Maybe NPR even approved of the show sight unseen, and if so, they erred. 

“In The Know” starts streaming Thursday, January 25, on Peacock.

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