Issue 3 – Office Space: 1999

January 2022

Let’s make a TV show mashup. Take the 70s sci-fi show Space: 1999 and The Office and create something new. This issue contains cards with images from Space: 1999 along with some dialog from both shows. Arrange them into a story (like a movie storyboard) and film your creation with your phone. By the way, if you’ve never seen Space: 1999 you can watch the first episode on YouTube.

Wait, why?

Well, besides being a fun exercise, everything really is mashup (or remix). I’ve had the idea for a Space: 1999 / The Office thing for a long time. Once while watching Space: 1999 it occurred to me that they basically worked in a big open office which reminded me of The Office—especially with the way that Commander Koenig roams around like Michael Scott. And what should the moon people being doing in this mashup version? A paper company probably doesn’t make sense. Maybe it should be tech related (I work in tech). What if they all had to keep doing their jobs even after the moon is sent hurtling across the galaxy? This makes me think of the movie Office Space! And then, of course, that it should be called Office Space: 1999.

I started working on various ideas over the years but never completed anything. Mainly I think that Mike Judge (who created Office Space) pretty expertly skewered the tech world and its peculiar version of capitalism in the series Silicon Valley.

Fast forward a few years and, as always, remixes and mashups are on my mind. If you’re reading this, you’ve seen my “Verdi+” thing. I find it hilarious that half the streaming services are something+. So when I was trying to figure out how to send/tell people about artwork in 2020 and landed on a newsletter (sign up!) I called it Verdi+ and made it look like the Disney+ logo because it rhymes and because my actual handwriting is fairly similar (I borrowed the dot over the I).

So after exploring things that influenced me as a kid (including Space: 1999) in issue 2, I thought I might write an Office Space: 1999 script for issue 3. But before I got too far with that I hit upon this new idea. I was emailing Larry Wolf about a zine he’d sent me—Moments—and how it seemed like a film when it was unfolded.

A print with multiple images of a hand against a black background. The hand appears to be changing position across successive images.
Larry Wolf, Moments (2021)

That, I told him, reminded me of a project that another friend worked on years ago. It was a combined audio and printed piece. The part I remembered most was this:

Conversation Three by Tineke De Meyer and Duncan Speakman

I thought maybe I could create a kind of game where you lined up different scenes and played some audio and then turned it into a movie with your phone like I’d just done with my friend’s work. It’s basically Five Card Nancy + video. It’s also, I think, close to the restriction of using the same panels over and over again in Dinosaur Comics (which was an inspiration for my Talkbot series). And that’s where this issue came from.

Here are the Office Space: 1999 episodes that we’ve made so far.

If you’d like to make an episode, head over to the extras page and download the files to edit a video on your computer. Then send me a copy please!