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John Mulaney’s Live Netflix Show Everybody’s In LA Was a Secret Car Show

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John Mulaney’s new Netflix series Everybody’s In LA is already over, but for six glorious days, the comedian hosted a themed variety and talk show about the quirks of living in Los Angeles. That meant the series covered a ton of ground and had a lot to say about a lot of things, but the most interesting (for us) may have been Mulaney’s fascination with the way Angelinos interact with their cars. Without even trying, it instantly became one of the most interesting car shows in years.

Cars are not exactly a major or intentional theme of the show, but the pattern starts from the second frame of the first episode. After a Joan Didion quote and before the title card, the show opens with a shot of the digital clock on the dashboard of an E34-generation BMW 5-Series clicking over to the show’s live start time of 7 PM PT. That is part of a montage, shot by Brook Linder, showing the flavor of the city, from a tower of spinning meat for Al Pastor tacos to a street magician doing a card trick.

The theme gets more direct from there. Throughout the show, live callers are constantly asked what car they drive. Two different segments are dedicated to cars; one is a brief interview with an L.A. resident discussing their frustrations with drivers who do not pull into the intersection before taking an unprotected left turn on green and the other is a montage of people giving advice to new grads immediately after being filmed parking poorly. The show’s outro features a Beetle on the side of the road and a Saab shop. Mulaney himself even says at one point that he’s learning to drive a manual transmission, even if it’s just to avoid “an apocalypse thing” where he could get stranded in an emergency, stalling over and over again. Also, there’s a bit about the Honda Fit and jokes about the Pontiac Aztek. You can’t ask for much more.

All of these moments tie into a larger story of how much a personal car means to someone living in a city as disparate and car-focused as Los Angeles, but none tell that more directly than a clip of a Sherman Oaks-based tailor who repairs jeans. The segment about “Dr. Blue Jeanns” is one of the least comedic in the show, just a brief interview with an individual meant to shine a light on some of the unique color of the city. It ends with the good doctor talking about his work over a clip of him leaving work in a mid-Sixties Cadillac convertible, another unique Angelino who tells their story every time they drive their unique car.

Those are the moments that tie into the bigger thesis about Los Angeles. Living in L.A. means having to deal with the realities of a city of 469 square miles, and getting around a city that is physically massive usually requires owning and driving a personal car. If you live in Los Angeles, your car is both your only reliable way across town and a waving flag of the image you project onto the world. Whether you are a ’65 Cadillac like Dr. Blue Jeanns or a Lincoln like the Mayor of L.A. (who did, in fact, call into the show and answer the question), you are choosing a place you will undoubtedly spend hundreds of hours of your year as you move around the city. That makes it a large part of being an Angelino—just like trying to keep up with the construction of the gondola and parking at the Galleria when you go to the Americana. As silly as that sounds to anyone who has ever lived in a better-planned megacity that more obviously has a mayor, that’s just how living in Los Angeles works.

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2024-05-18 16:59:00

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