Netflix’s Maniac will be available to stream at the end of the week, but the service is still busy promoting the star-studded series with a bizarre commercial starring Justin Theroux as James Mantleray. Though the series has already garnered a great deal of attention for casting Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in the lead roles, this new spot is entirely focused on Theroux and supporting actors Sonoya Mizuno as Dr. Fujita and Rome Kanda as Dr. Muramoto, both of whom are as painfully awkward in front of the camera as the good Dr. Mantleray.
The video works as ad for Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech, the company offering a mysterious procedure known as U.L.P., a therapeutic process touted by Mantleray as a much faster route to a better, happier you. The Neberdine team doesn’t go into specifics as to what U.L.P. entails, but they do say it can eliminate a number of psychological issues like anxiety, teeth-grinding, PTSD, body dysmorphia, and hypo-active sexual desire. The list goes on and on, apparently, as the ad intimates U.L.P. can take care of a laundry list of problems.
So far, trailers for Maniac have played up its strange, darkly comic tone, suggesting the series more than earns its title. They have also leaned heavily on the stylistic nature of director Cary Fukunaga, who has teamed with writer and creator Patrick Somerville, in adapting the Norwegian series of the same name and translating it for U.S. audiences. This trailer, however, feels like Netflix is just skipping the middleman and delivering the show’s eccentric sensibilities directly into the viewers’ brain. Take a look at the video below:
As far as low-budget advertisements go, this one for Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech looks and feels like it was discovered on a VHS tape stuck in a VCR for the past three decades. The spot itself is also reminiscent of both the ad in the original Ghostbusters movie and the recent commercial for the Starcourt Mall, soon to be seen in season 3 of Netflix’s very own Stranger Things. This suggests either Fukunaga and Somerville were partially influenced by an ‘80s comedy classic or Netflix’s marketing department is just really into the way commercials looked thirty years ago.
Either way, with the first season dropping at the end of the week, viewers won’t have too long to wait to find out what U.L.P. is and all the ways it can potentially go wrong.
Maniac season 1 will stream starting Friday, September 21 on Netflix.