(CTN News) – In Bend, Oregon, there is the last Blockbuster on Earth, next to a Carl’s Jr. and a Chevron station. As with the 9,000 other Blockbusters it has outlasted, it rents out movies both in practice and in appearance.
There are popcorn ceilings and fluorescent lights, as well as distinctive aesthetics from the 1990s. The tone is stridently analog.
In spite of this, the last Blockbuster doubles as a tourist attraction, which is to say that it offers a setting for selfies, TikTok, and cheerful acts of commodification. The store’s own gift shop offers merch such as fanny packs, onesies, and T-shirts that read winky, blockbuster, and chill.
Over the years, Blockbuster has been a success story, a cautionary tale, an awards show, a board game, and a documentary. Now, it’s a sitcom as well. Taking place in a light-fictionalized version of Blockbuster in Bend, Blockbuster is a comedy set in the workplace.
Randall Park plays Timmy Yoon, a long-term Blockbuster employee determined to keep the blue-and-yellow dinosaur alive in this “last Blockbuster” show. Netflix streams it with a film-worthy twist.
Superstore, Abbott Elementary, Parks and Recreation, and other shows that find humor in the frenetic collisions of the workplace are similar in spirit to Blockbuster.
It is also sometimes bleak in the series. Timmy and his employees work for a brand that is out of date, and the sitcom reflects that.
Among the ways it accomplishes this is by taking its characters out of time: Age, in this world, does not suggest forward progress.
There isn’t much to take away from it. Young people who often act like adults and older people who often act like children work at the world’s last Blockbuster.
They are caught in a moment when old bargains and timelines are fading. This anachronism in which they spend their days suggests suspended animation. Their tape keeps rewinding as they try to move forward.
Let’s take Timmy. In the eyes of his employees, he is a father figure. As much as Timmy’s efforts are sentimental, his efforts to save the last Blockbuster are practical. Timmy also referees the latest round of his parents’ 40-year argument at their retirement community, serving as a sort of guardian to them.
He is, however, in other ways distinctly young–his diminutive name reveals this. Two teenagers and he get into a prank war that rapidly escalates. The store is barely holding together despite all his efforts. Rather than being a literal father, he is a middle-aged man who is living an adulthood that is delayed.
His heart also lives in the past: He has a long-standing crush on Eliza (Melissa Fumero), his trusted friend and co-worker.
She gave up a college education (at Harvard, she will mention) and also a young life lived on her own terms in order to marry and have a child with the guy she began dating in high school.
Does blockbuster exist anymore?
At the height of its popularity, there were about 9,000 stores. Now, there is just one. The Last is in Bend, Oregon