Blockbuster Series Creator Vanessa Ramos Knows It's Funny The Show Is On Netflix

The new series "Blockbuster" just hit Netflix, and if that sentence sounds strange to you, you're not alone. The new sitcom about the world's last Blockbuster store certainly seems like an odd fit for the streaming giant that all but put it out of business, and the team behind the show was acutely aware of the dissonance. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, series creator Vanessa Ramos was asked whether Netflix execs are aware of the irony of a show about their former competitor landing on the streamer.

"They absolutely do," Ramos told the outlet, but she says the folks at Netflix were totally okay with being talked about in the show. "I was so thrilled that they were on our side. It's weirder to not acknowledge it. We have a couple references to it throughout the show." The series follows Timmy (Randall Park), the manager of a Midwest Blockbuster that unceremoniously becomes the franchise's last location in the series premiere. The rest of the season involves the Blockbuster team fighting to stay relevant during the streaming era.

Ramos points out that the show even included some specific references to the streamer's shortcomings. "In the pilot, our customer played by Carl Tart is looking for a movie because the algorithm keeps recommending The Great British Bake Off, and his girlfriend left him for a pastry chef in Manchester," she says. It's a good joke about what Armstrong calls "the downside" of Netflix's recommendation feature. It's also one of a few in the series that comes at the streamer's expense. "They let us take our shots at the algorithm, and we were surprised at how many times we got to call it out," Ramos says.

Blockbuster makes fun of Netflix, but not enough

While it sounds like the writers had some wiggle room when it comes to referencing the show's home platform, I still think "Blockbuster" could have taken more swipes at Netflix. The show's comedy is at times very funny, but it's also often toothless when it comes to commentary on the economic and cultural circumstances that led to Blockbuster's demise. Plus, we live in an era where scathing meta-commentary is the norm; look at the way "Reboot" takes aim at Hulu, for example, or the many ways "30 Rock" mercilessly poked fun at NBC over the years.

Hopefully, if "Blockbuster" returns, it'll be with the okay to go all in on its commentary about Netflix. While the streamer's current woes aren't exactly sitcom material, they do paint a less-than-ideal picture of the company. This year alone, Netflix has scrapped several projects that are already in the works, laid off a significant number of employees from its Tudum website and animation branches, and proposed significant changes to its subscription model. Of course, it might be strange for Blockbuster employees to talk about all of this in detail, but as their success depends on Netflix's blind spots, you'd think the streamer would come up more often.

All of this makes me wonder if we'll see a Netflix sitcom on a different platform, years down the line. At any rate, in the meantime, "Blockbuster" season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.