The newest grifter collection “WeCrashed” casts its gaze on energy couple at centre of failed WeWork

Will Gwyneth be watching?

That was one query that gnawed as I took to previewing all of “WeCrashed,” a shiny, hopped-up eight-part collection beginning Friday on Apple TV Plus. Dipping down on one of the crucial colossal company collapses in latest reminiscence — the $47-billion mirage that was WeWork — it stars Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as Adam and Rebekah Neumann, the bewilderingly yoga-mat-happy couple behind the co-work start-up.

The latter — as followers of the real-life six-degrees saga will recall — is a Paltrow by start (no joke). And the collection itself wastes little time plumbing a number of the psychological footprint of Rebekah being the much less achieved first cuz of Gwyn (a failed actress first cousin as well! One who, at her personal marriage ceremony, has scores of visitors asking, “Is Gwyneth coming?”).

I do know, I do know. A few of you may need grifter fatigue. I get it. “WeCrashed” provides to a groaning buffet currently of collection about serial scammers and/or doubtful tech geniuses. Assume: “Inventing Anna,” the latest examination of pretend heiress Anna Delvey/Sorokin on Netflix; the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos quantity “The Dropout,” courtesy of Hulu and Disney Plus; and “Tremendous Pumped,” the Showtime (and Crave) present about Uber founder Travis Kalanick, to call a number of. However whereas all of these had their smarmy charms — I, for one, by no means undergo from grifter fatigue — this adaptation might be my favorite. I ate it up.

Whereas the others centred their narratives on the Ripley-esque con and/or craven urge for food for acceptance/success, this does all that and in addition casts its gaze firmly on the couple on the coronary heart of it. The corporate is the wedding and the wedding is the story. In different phrases, a pair who indulge one another of their worst respective instincts and, properly, give rope to at least one one other’s delusions.

If the Neumanns jogged my memory of anybody from the display screen, massive or small, it was the Underwoods. The Neumanns is probably not as capital-M Machiavellian because the notorious power-duo from “Home of Playing cards,” however there’s a distinct echo. A Kombucha-drinking, sneaker-clad, hipster-y New York reply to the Underwoods. Hathaway, who’s charming as Rebekah (her most absolutely fashioned efficiency, for my part, since “Rachel Getting Married”) is Claire Underwood — albeit a Claire in high-waisted denims and Argan-oil-tousled locks. Leto, as Adam, is the YOLO reply to Frank Underwood, full with Zoolander strut and an Israeli accent.

As a lot as that is the story of a pair — presently, they’ve six, six! kids collectively — I need to reiterate it’s Rebekah who most intrigued me. Her feelings are so coiled up, so snaked in psychobabble and imaginative and prescient boards and bouts of “manifesting,” she is sort of a Coke can ready to burst. Not that she would ever drink Coke.

Would Adam have come so far as he did — touchdown on the quilt of Forbes, making it to the Time 100 record — with out Rebekah? In response to the treatise offered right here, the reply is a howling no. And never simply because Rebekah’s father supplied the moolah for his or her start-up within the first place.

“She was 100 per cent the CEO of the connection.” What a detailed buddy of Rebekah advised Bustle in a must-read profile, printed in 2020.

Two phrases got here to thoughts the additional I acquired into the collection: poisonous positivity. If there was ever a guide for it, in addition to cautionary story, it’s right here. And it really jogged my memory, in so some ways, of the type of good-vibes-only hashtag-ery we noticed loads of through the pandemic. Rebekah is a kind of individuals who jazz-hands their approach via inside turmoil, their deferred desires and soul-killing jobs, an avoidance technique that makes an attempt to shoo away any inside discomfort however in the end typically causes extra hurt and flattens empathy.

Whereas the stakes are admittedly increased on this story — WeWork crashes as a result of, partially, the couple don’t wish to hear any negativity — it struck me that this story is a part of a much bigger parable: how Adam and Rebekah characterize a rampant tradition of self. Self-aggrandizing. Self-obsessed. Self-involved. Self-assist. All of the selves.

The present, primarily based on a podcast of the identical identify, begins with Adam’s firing by the board and gingerly loops again; the ultimate episode exhibiting the epilogue. The Katy Perry tune “Roar,” a hymn heard all through the manufacturing, typically to splendidly absurdist impact, melts down then to a slowed-down, bittersweet, symphonic model in these remaining minutes.

It’s no spoiler to disclose that it ends with a coup d’état, to my thoughts essentially the most thrilling company battle I’ve seen this aspect of “Succession.” With the Neumanns thrown to the curb, they’re suggested by their high-paid communications advisers to enter a foxhole, no emails, no telephones, no texts, no false strikes. “You aren’t paying us to combat again, you’re paying us to deflect, to cease the bleeding,” a kind of aces tells them.

“You aren’t folks. You’re merchandise. The media bought you as soon as as unicorns, now they are going to promote you as villains.”

You helped! You greater than helped! is what I yelled on the display screen.

Codependency and reciprocity. That’s the story of “WeCrashed,” energy shifting and flowing inside a wedding, just like the pooling of various straits. “You’re small. You haven’t any mild of your individual,” a colleague tells Rebekah at one level, earlier than she ranges up, takes again her affect, even going about beginning her personal college utilizing a few of her signature psychobabble.

Weirdly, too, each of them — as performed by Leto and Hathaway — appear nearly asexual, as another person snarks in an episode. “They don’t have intercourse. They only levitate and their souls f — kin’ meld,” this worker says.

What is rarely unsure, nonetheless? The extent to which Adam and Rebekah clearly noticed themselves as stars of their very own film. Or ought to we are saying eight-part collection?

Shinan Govani is a Toronto-based freelance contributing columnist protecting tradition and society. Comply with him on Twitter: @shinangovani


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