by Christian Zilko, IndieWire
“Big government” is a dirty word for many people in politics, but what does it actually mean? A new lighthearted documentary series from Netflix wants to find out.
“The G Word with Adam Conover” aims to dig into the sprawling bureaucracy that makes up the executive branch of the federal government. Each episode will feature the “Adam Ruins Everything” host examining a different area of the government, complete with interviews from employees at obscure agencies that many Americans probably didn’t know existed.
Netflix’s synopsis of the show describes it as “a hybrid comedy-documentary series that pulls back the curtain on the surprising ways the U.S. government impacts our everyday lives, from the mundane to the life-changing. With his signature blend of irreverence and insight, Conover explores the government’s triumphs, failures, and what we might be able to do to change it.”
Each episode of “The G Word with Adam Conover” will focus on a different aspect of American life and the ways that the federal government has affected it. The first episode, “Food,” examines the USDA and the impacts of food and agricultural policy on obesity. “Weather” examines the government agencies tasked with predicting the increasingly volatile weather and the obstacles that get in the way of their accuracy. The “Money” episode looks into the Treasury Department and the central banking system.
The fourth episode, “Future,” sheds light on the different government agencies developing advanced technologies and the ways that they may shape our world. One of the more provocative episodes, “Disease,” looks into both America’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the incredible work done by government scientists developing cures for diseases. The final episode, “Change,” features an appearance from former President Barack Obama for a discussion about the ways that our government can improve its shortcomings moving forward and impact people’s lives in a positive way.
The show is based on the book “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy: by bestselling “Moneyball” author Michael Lewis. Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions is responsible for producing the series alongside Adam Conover, Jon Cohen, and Jon Wolf. The show is produced by Zachary Halley.
“The G Word with Adam Conover” premieres on Netflix on May 19. You can watch the official trailer exclusive to IndieWire below: