The Bizarre World Of Dream Corp LLC Explained

Dream Corp LLC season 2 has just returned to Adult Swim, deepening the show's mythology. The absurdist mixed-media comedy from creator Daniel Stessen and producers Stephen Merchant, John Krasinski, Kahlea Baldwin and Allyson Seeger launched its first six-episode season in 2016 and has already been greenlit for a third.

For the uninitiated, Dream Corp LLC is a surreal workplace comedy that takes place in a rundown dream analysis center operated by less than ethical scientists and employees. Each 11-minute episode usually revolves around a patient seeking the unique dream therapy offered by Dr. Roberts (Jon Gries) and his very, very questionable team. In most cases, the patients are sedated into a dream state and hooked up to machinery that allows the team to record their dreams and join in when necessary. The dream sequences are rendered in rotoscope, making Dream Corp LLC the first show on Adult Swim to utilize that type of animation. Stessen made waves a few years ago with his ethereal short The Gold Sparrow which also utilized rotoscoping, and he’s skillfully employed it on this show to represent dreamlike states that are departed from reality, but not so much so that the viewer or the patient feels particularly lost. Just lost enough, in fact. Once the dreams are analyzed, Dr. Roberts and his team prescribe appropriate therapy, and often shockingly, patients leave the center for the better.

Related: Dream Corp LLC Season 2 Cast Guide

The above is about as straightforward an explanation as one can give about Dream Corp LLC and its mythology without betraying the intentional absurdity that’s so crucial to its uniqueness. While most episodes do follow a procedural format, within that structure characters indulge in the same barely explicable weirdness that’s reminiscent of shows like Tim & Eric which has since become a hallmark of the network. Nick Rutherford plays Patient 88, a former patient who’s offered a job after coming in for a treatment he ultimately can’t pay for. He serves as a de facto straight man, and audience proxy both enduring his co-workers’ strange habits and attempting to make sense of the enigmatic world he now inhabits. His experiences vary wildly from finding potential soulmates while participating in patient dream sequences to getting stabbed in the neck by an elderly patient (June Squibb) while Dr. Roberts is distracted.

Like a lot of avant-garde, absurdist art, Dream Corp LLC employs a highly unconventional methodology to bring to new life familiar themes of loneliness, friendship and the search for acceptance. So despite the disruptive nature of the presentation, it still manages to achieve some incredibly human moments, even as patients pee their pants the minute they go under. If you find yourself making comparisons to The Office, don't be alarmed – Patient 88 is intentionally (and darkly) reminiscent of John Krasinski’s eternally annoyed and amused Jim Halpert, his co-workers (Mark Proksch, Ahmed Bharoocha, Stephen Merchant and Megan Ferguson) are as similarly antagonistic and kind as the Dunder-Mifflin crew, and Dr. Roberts exhibits the same mix of support and toxicity that Michael Scott balanced. Dream Corp LLC feels like an island of misfit toys that occasionally find their way to fixing other toys, while also maintaining some humorously flexible ethics.

Dream Corp LLC's second season has ballooned to a luxurious 14 episodes, the first five episodes screened promise a more in-depth look at the Dream Corp community, and while there’s less rotoscoping, what is there has a noticeably increased production value and the results are nothing short of spectacular. The second season also promises to stretch beyond the procedural format that governed the first, featuring episodes that focus on patient aftercare, industrial espionage and a revelatory drug trip 88 endures after eating a pickle that’s been brined in enough illicit substances to send him into a coma. Despite the fact that so much of Dream Corp LLC might feel random for the sake of randomness, at its core it’s a story about people trying to find their way, by hook, by crook or by very, very questionable science.

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