Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann founded the flexible shared workspace real estate company WeWork. The company was built on a house of cards, with youthful tenants and customers drawn to WeWork office spaces through the lure of fun, inviting workspaces. Its rapid rise and associated financial mismanagement was thanks to Neumann's 'always be hustling' mentality. He was deposed as CEO in 2019 and the company continues on today. It still turns a loss, but the losses are getting smaller every quarter.
It is fitting that WeCrashed, the limited biography series about Neumann, his wife Rebekah, and the rise of WeWork (and their eventual ouster from the company) feels like it is similarly built on a house of cards.
Viewers are lured in by the Hollywood star power of series leads Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway, both perfectly cast as the kinda-awful WeWork husband and wife power couple. Viewers are dazzled by exceptional cinematography and art direction. Viewers are also drawn in to the sheer topicality of the story. Look at every other big show of the first half of 2022 - they're all about the excess and shallow ickiness of the tech-bro monied culture of the past 15 years.
But one can't imagine that there are many viewers just a few episodes in that feel like they're spending their time watching the show in the best way that they could be. This is a show that has nothing it really wants to say about the Neumann couple, nor does it have any pointed comments around WeWork and the culture that fostered its rapid rise. Instead, the whole show just gives a sense of some chucklehead gasping: "Would ya get a load of what they're up to now?"
Right now, there are multiple similarly-focused competing bio-series - there's The Dropout on Hulu/Disney+ about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, Super Pumped on Showtime about Uber founder Travis Kalanick, and here we have WeCrashed on Apple TV+. The one thing WeCrashed has over the other shows is the sense that this is a really well-researched series that reflects real-life events. But, does that necessarily make for good TV?
The Dropout feels like a complete sham, a fraud of a TV show. Which is appropriate. Watching that, one never gets the sense that they are watching an approximation of the real Elizabeth Holmes. Jared Leto in WeCrashed, however... it feels authentic. His performance is maybe a little too much like my own very good Tommy Wiseau performance at times, but he gets pretty close to the real life Adam Neumann with a series that seems similarly accurate. The Dropout is crazy entertaining, however. And with that, it has WeCrashed beat.
[Reviewers note: It would be remiss not to point out that there is an episode, the third, I think, where Anne Hathaway is seen dressing up as the ultimate hotness: A Na'vi from Avatar. Take your pleasures in this show where you can find them.]
For some viewers, WeWorked will work for them - the production values surrounding the show are so high and the subject is certainly compelling. It's just that the show is mostly empty calories without the delicious pleasure that comes from biting into something tasty that you know is bad for you (like Pam & Tommy).
WeWorked launches with three episodes on 17 March, with the show then released weekly. There are eight episodes in total.