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In This Animated Short, Modern Employment Is Both Monstrous and Mundane

Image: Tim Searfoss/YouTube
Image: Tim Searfoss/YouTube

A new animated short film called “The Working Man” features zany machines, angry bosses, and one very bad job.


Created by animator Tim Searfoss, the film is a madcap fable of alienated labor drawn in an expressive sketchy style. The unnamed working man mans a machine in an insane factory full of impossible mechanical flourishes and a labyrinthine infinity to it that reminds me of the futuristic hellscapes of Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack. And while there’s a simple plot at work, it drives home an important idea about the costs of mistreated labor and the ways in which misery, unlike wealth, tends to flow downward.

I’ve not seen any of Searfoss’s work before, but I’m impressed: it blends a very ‘90s cartoon look with a wry, moody expressiveness. Also, he draws a very cute dog.


You can watch the short film below, and find more of Searfoss’s work here.


io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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“...zany machines, angry bosses, and one very bad job.”

Done before, and better, by Charlie Chaplin.

Modern Times, United Artists, 1936