Such speedy exposition entails some heavy-handedness as we meet pompous patriarch David (Simon Chook, The Inbetweeners), long-suffering spouse Fiona (Kate O’Flynn), their anxious teenager Rachel (Amy James-Kelly, Three Households) and apocalypse-hungry younger son Aaron (Harry Connor). The result’s a string of understandably disturbing particulars about cult life – the violent deaths they anticipate non-believers to undergo, and the non secular Order’s oppressiveness, excessive misogyny and cruel shunning of anybody who steps out of line – which makes viewers surprise: how will the present make such darkish material humorous?
In any case, true crime followers know all too effectively that actual life cults don’t are likely to have comfortable endings, particularly for ladies. Podcasts like My Favourite Homicide usually inform the story of well-known cults (MFM even have merch that includes their catchphrase ‘You’re in a cult, name your Dad’), they usually often finish in violence, ceaselessly together with deranged male cult leaders brutally murdering girls, such because the Anthill Kids, Synanon and the Solar Temple.
So, in an age the place mindless violence towards girls isn’t out of the headlines, a sitcom a few cult must tread rigorously and ideally keep away from ridiculing the victims greater than the perpetrators.
Everybody Else Burns’ David is definitely a determine of ridicule: your typical stuck-up, smug bore, a typical and amusing character trope in household sitcoms. Solely right here, he’s additionally a stern non secular patriarch, deciding what his household does, who they see and the way they spend their cash. He delights in utilizing ‘the David worry issue’ to terrorise daughter Rachel when she desires to – shock horror – apply for college. He destroys the household TV and refuses his spouse’s pleas to switch it, and when she lastly finds a profession she enjoys (basically promoting crap on the web), he’s so insecure about her newfound autonomy he intentionally causes energy cuts as a ‘signal from God to cease’.
Whereas his character does mellow throughout the sequence, even with Simon Chook’s appreciable comedy abilities it nonetheless nearly feels distasteful to make gentle of such sinister examples of coercive management when it’s a really unfunny actuality for too many ladies everywhere in the world.
Perhaps the discomfort with Everybody Else Burns comes from the truth that David remains to be holding all the facility. In equally cult-themed sitcom The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the primary scene sees the 4 ‘Mole Girls’ free of their bunker after 15 years of captivity, and their tormentor – the evil-but-ridiculous Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) – immediately loses his energy, so his many atrocities might be seen from a place of relative security.