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How Big-Budget Movies Flop

Despite the recent box-office failures of Exodus, Ben-Hur, and Gods Of Egypt, studios continue to fund big-budget movies they hope will achieve blockbuster success. The Onion provides a step-by-step breakdown of how one of these movies becomes a flop:

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Marketing

Epic Saga Of Employee's Ineptitude Passed Down Through Generations Of Coworkers

Hushed coworkers gather to hear tell of Plasky’s legendary incompetence.
Hushed coworkers gather to hear tell of Plasky’s legendary incompetence.

PHOENIX—In a custom that is said to be as old as the digital marketing agency itself, staff members of Thorpe Media listened in rapt fixation Wednesday to an oration of the epic saga of Doug Plasky, a company account manager whose tales of legendary ineptitude have been handed down through generations of coworkers.

Speaking one by one within the hallowed meeting grounds of Hanny’s Bar and Grill, company elders recited the sprawling, storied lore of Plasky’s incompetence, regaling the firm’s newest hires well past the setting of the spring sun and the end of happy hour specials.

“Gather round, fellow coworkers, and hear the legend of the one who is known o’er the entire fifth floor as the most incapable man ever to grace the client services department,” said product manager Brad Idstein, playing the bard whilst basked in the dim glow of the sports bar’s lighting. “You have doubtless heard before of the one named Doug, but here now is the full narrative of his woefully botched market analytics, missed conference calls, and spectacularly flawed PowerPoint presentations.”

“Hark, dear friends, for this is not the story of any mere mortal employee, but one who meets nary a single proposal delivery deadline,” continued Idstein, “yet still earns more than $85,000 a year.”

According to learned orators of the Plasky epic, the halls of Thorpe Media have long echoed with recitations of the account manager’s famed misdeeds, with each of the saga’s storied chapters ritually passed from marketing analyst to marketing analyst and digital ad rep to digital ad rep within the hushed privacy of conference rooms and in countless e-mail chains.

Indeed, it is said that recounting the sprawling corpus of Plasky’s monumental blunders—from his fabled illiteracy of the company’s content management software, to his inability to assemble even the most basic invoice, to an infamously butchered presentation at a conference in Tucson in 2007—has sustained Thorpe employees through the bleakness of many a dark winter evening and over countless prolonged business trips.

“And lo! There was one occasion when Doug all but ruined the Thorndale account with a cost miscalculation so vile that it shan’t even be spoken. And yet he so transparently placed the blame on [coworker] Rebecca [Friedman] that we all believed for certain the clod had seen his final days at the company,” project director Susan DeBroeck said with fiery emotion, channeling ages of frustration toward her feebleminded colleague. “But there he was, sitting in his corner cubicle the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, as if protected by some divine hand of fate.”

“Then he badly missed his quarterly revenue target, but he was not fired. And then he neglected an entire copywriting assignment, but he was not fired. And then he was late for three straight weeks, and lo and behold,” continued DeBroeck, “he was not fired.”

While a full written account of the mythic procrastinator’s behavior is not known to exist, most employees are said to recount large portions of the Plasky narrative entirely from memory during personal lunch meetings, at workplace social events, and freely throughout the office nearly every workday after 4:15 p.m., which is said to be the hour that Plasky typically steals away to return homeward.

“These stories tell of grotesque excuses and tangles of lies so convoluted they chill to the very bone,” said newly hired sales assistant Danny Clifton, still in a state of visible shock after hearing the epic saga. “It is said that this monstrous, blundering oaf can conjure the most virtuosic of excuses from the very thinnest of air to avoid writing a campaign outline for a client, even dreaming up computer issues or concocting one of his infamous migraine head ailments whenever he so desires. O, the hours they say it takes to fix his work each week. What horror!”

In accordance with the sacred custom, generations of employees have added new and storied chapters to the saga of Plasky’s ineptitude over the years, with the epic growing longer and longer from sunrise to sunrise, season to season, and carelessly written sales contract to carelessly written sales contract.

“If there is but one lesson to draw from this story, my coworkers, it is that Plasky will receive new accounts so long as he takes living breaths,” digital marketing analyst Robert Meyers said. “No matter the severity of his latest missing assignment or wildly inaccurate market projections, the wisdom of ages speaks this one truth: Employees of Thorpe shall come and employees of Thorpe shall go, but Doug will remain on the payroll forevermore.”

“God, I can’t believe nobody’s had the balls to just fucking fire him already,” Meyers added.

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