IDIOCRACY. Smart comedy about dumb people

Science fiction comedy that hit the spot. At the heart of our stupidity.

Jakub Piwoński

2 June 2023

You don’t have to hide a doctorate in sociology in a drawer to see that society is getting stupid. We made this whip ourselves, as a result of the progressive development of technology, which turned out to be salutary for us in many aspects, but also imperceptibly causes our destruction. The smartphone, the most important invention of the 21st century, can help us in everyday life, while being a source of hypnosis that we indulge in even when driving a car or crossing a pedestrian crossing. Television sets, magic boxes invented in the 20th century, today have become carriers of global oblivion, which, like in the memorable practice of the Riddler from Batman Forever, eat into our brains every evening, providing a soothing, yet captivating feeling of oblivion.

There are, of course, more examples of the dark side of the technology we surround ourselves with. The Internet, social media are other black holes that absorb so much the possibility of getting answers to every question that the desire to experience the world and enter into direct interpersonal relationships seems to be drastically decreasing. Science fiction deals with exactly this, to take a closer look at certain trends, showing their dark side. As an example, let’s take the series Black Mirror, which is nothing but a story about how much a man does not fit in with technology, because in his hands it becomes a tool of downfall.

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But let’s leave these serious considerations, because this is not the place and time for that. Science fiction is such a capacious genre that just as it can scare with a realistic vision of tomorrow, which warns against the threats resulting from our current behavior, it also finds a place to mock this possible future. After this somewhat lengthy introduction, it’s time for the merits. Idiocracy is an example of a film that, using the science fiction tradition, provides the viewer with a terrifying vision only when we think deeply about it. However, the multitude of absurd humor makes us completely unconcerned with these reflections, succumbing to good fun.

After all, the starting point of the plot of Idiocracy, a comedy from 2006, is so literal and so ruthless that it’s hard not to pay attention to it. The whole point of the game is to make events seem as stupid as society is becoming in the face of the changes of the 21st century. Here the soldier and the prostitute become the ones who in 500 years will make humanity realize how much stagnation it is stuck in, being the most intelligent of the remaining idiots on Earth. All thanks to hibernation, a lockpick technology in the SF tradition.


The awakening of the heroes in the world of the future provides no less of a shock. You can’t get along with people because the language has been turned into slang. Everyone behaves like apathetic patients in a psychiatric hospital, for whom the urban space is an unlimited runway. Signposts here are huge, aggressive advertising banners, distracting attention from the ubiquitous mess. Free time is spent in front of the TV, sitting on an armchair with a built-in toilet, allowing you to drain potatoes on a regular basis without taking your eyes off the screen. Remember that other dystopian half of Wall-E? In Idiocracy, humanity has similarly become a slave to its own comfort and pleasure, with the difference that here they are seasoned with sex and violence.

The character played by Luke Wilson asks himself two questions. The first concerns the desire to find the cause of the economic crisis leading to the collapse of civilization. The second is related to the desire to find a remedy for stupidity and return to normality. Watching Idiocracy from today’s perspective, one cannot remain blind to the analogies and metaphors that the film unintentionally gained over the years. After all, it is nothing more than a kind of pamphlet on the social paralysis in which we are stuck to this day, as a result of the emergence of new mutations of a certain invisible threat. It does exist, of course, but the way we perceive it is usually the result of filters imposed on our eyes by flashy media messages, advertisements, speeches and the resulting misinformation that robs the whole thing of logic and hope from us.


This digression regarding our sad present day is useful in better understanding the essence of the 2006 film. It is not without flaws, because sometimes the jokes are dry and instead of hitting us in the face with rules, they get stuck in the void. Luke Wilson in the role of the everyman-savior is correct, but if I had to say that Idiocracy proved his acting talent, I probably wouldn’t go through my throat. Gags, vicissitudes and the very development of the action seem to me at some point quite a pretext, assigned to one overarching thesis that society will be stupid in the future and that’s it. So much for conclusions and so much for jokes.

But. Exactly. At the same time, it is a film that bluntly lays out our basic vices, visible to the naked eye. Vices that, with the right hyperbole and favorable circumstances, may soon lead to our end, as a result of, say, the dominance of artificial intelligence. I love the opening scene of this movie because it makes it clear and cutting to understand the basic difference between smart and stupid. Smart sees more. More possibilities, roads, but also traps and limitations. According to the creators of the film, this is where the desire to pursue a career and individualism comes from, at the expense of starting a family and having children. Those who do not see so many options, or simply do not have them, follow their instinct, without analysis, without reflection, they simply copulate and multiply.

And which do you think there are more? And which will be more? If you still think that Idiocracy is a pipe dream, because the rule of fools is not possible, because high seats are intended only for those who have sense, remember who delegates them to this role.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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