'Miracle Workers' Episode 3 sees a medieval Steve Jobs introducing the disruptive 'hole' in the shit business

The shadow of Steve Jobs hangs heavy on this episode as Prince Chauncley tries out his iPod-like bard who belts out the most popular tunes


                            'Miracle Workers' Episode 3 sees a medieval Steve Jobs introducing the disruptive 'hole'  in the shit business
Daniel Radcliffe and Karan Soni in 'Miracle Worker: Dark Ages' (Warner Media/Stanislav Honzík)

The best part about 'Miracle Workers' this season has been the way showrunner Simon Rich puts in some well-delivered digs about our current times. So we get why Eddie Shitshoveler (Steve Buscemi) is so excited about the "ShitCon" coming to town, showcasing the latest and greatest developments in the 'shit shoveling' industry. "There is info booth, demos, and networking," says Eddie, showing his daughter, Al (Geraldine Vishwanathan), around the convention.

Al, after her stint as a doctor, is back to shit shoveling and is proud when several people at the convention say great things about her dad. But alas, she is soon to be disappointed. The main event opens with a Steve Jobs-like "disrupter", dressed in all-black, taking the stage and spitting slogans like "break the chains" before introducing a "simple yet revolutionary" innovation that will make shoveling obsolete - "a hole in the ground". In case the specifics were unclear, he explains that people just have to shit in the hole and they won't have to shovel anything. Granted it's the Toilet 1.0 but hey the iPhone 11 took time to achieve as did the first modern plumbing, right?

As Eddie tells Al, it is easy for the young to change, not so much for old people like him. So his fear of "technology" is understandable. But when he puts snakes into the clients' holes to make them hire him again, it is less forgivable. Al excitedly talks about "adapting" to the new technology. But Eddie, a traditionalist at heart who even had problems with Al's small suggestions, is piqued by this whole hole business.

"What's wrong with just shitting on the floor and then paying someone to take it away a few days later?" he moans. The jokes are funny but even more stark is the depiction of how labor has to reinvent their business models each time there is "creative destruction". Seeing Al give him the cold shoulder, Eddie decides to expand his business to "hole maintenance", the first business to offer annual maintenance contracts to legitimately expand his business instead of being scared of change. 

 The shadow of Steve Jobs hangs heavy on this episode as Prince Chauncley tries out his iPod-like bard who belts out the most popular tunes, while the prince "skips" songs or pauses them on his road trip. He is accompanying peasant-turned-lord Vexler, who has little patience for the "Party, Party, Party" song. Once they reach the enemy camp to sign a peace treaty with the Valdrogians. the episode turns into a deft study of class hierarchies and the way privilege plays a part in determining who gets to make mistakes and who doesn't.

Prince Chauncley immediately gets all buddy-buddy with the Valdrogian prince because they move in the same circles. Poor Lord Vexler, however, is the ambitious peasant who worked his way up the hard way by being an overachieving underling for King Cragnoor (Peter Serafinowicz). He, however, has no idea about upper-class life. He is the square in the cool crowd and it is this very ignorance of fine living that prompts him to commit a diplomatic blunder. 

Just like that the war is back again. As Lord Vexler moans about losing his place in court or worse, being made a peasant again, Prince Chauncley realizes his privilege. So when it comes to taking the blame for the debacle, the prince interrupts Vexler and tells his father, the king, that he dropped through and rubbed the treaty on his bare ass.

The king is disappointed in him again but the prince is no stranger to that. Instead, he basks in Lord Vexler's grateful glance. It is a pity he isn't a disrupter like the "hole" inventor or else he would have inadvertently introduced toilet paper in the Dark Ages itself.

'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages' airs Tuesdays on TBS at 10:30/9:30c.

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