Dr Mumbo

Worst West Wing episode ever: Make accounting great again

If the world remembers this week for anything, it will be – Dr Mumbo predicts – remembered as the week the world finally recognised accountants as fun-loving party animals.

To kick off the week, we had the Oscars blunder, in which it emerged that the auditor was so distracted by Tweeting backstage that he gave poor old Warren Beatty the wrong envelope to read out.

But that’s nothing compared to a recruitment ad shot for the Australian government’s Department of Finance.

Unearthed by The Sydney Morning Herald, which reports that it was shot by Together Creative at a cost of $37,400, Dr Mumbo urges giving every moment of the three minutes, 11 seconds video a watch.

“The Game Changers” features the staff of the Department of Finance playing themselves. Here it is…

And it’s crying out for a shot-by-shot analysis.

0:05: We open with a drone shot, suggesting we’re about to get some sumptuous production values.

Welcome to the finance funhouse

We do not. The drone shot reveals a bland, empty office complex.

0:12 Here comes the talent. And what talent…

“I’m so stoked for our presentation to the executives this afternoon. It’s been a massive challenge but I’m definitely looking forward to it,” says a young man in a business shirt wearing a giant security pass around his neck as a way of demonstrating just what a fun environment he’s in. Sadly, we’ll never get to find out his name. So he’ll have to remain simply as ‘shirt guy’.

His older female colleague, also wearing a giant security pass, gazes adoringly at him, while he looks over her shoulder

Nothing says fun quite like a security lanyard

0:22 Here comes Claire the rebel, wearing her security badge on her belt. No lanyard for her.

She’s one of those hateful foodies who probably Instagrams her coffee. “Hey guys. I’m just healing downstairs for my paleo pear and banana bread. Would you like to join me?”

No. No, they would not.

0:23 “No thanks. It’s a little bit fancy for me,” her fun-loving female colleague remonstrates.

You can stick your pear bread up your abacus

And besides, she’s got some virtue-signalling to do. “I’m actually off to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders staff network meeting.”

0:30 Meanwhile, in a major plot twist, our young male hero does seem to be in the market for a little banana bread action after all. Off they trot. Little does he know that Claire’s about to take credit for their presentation.

Modernisation – what better topic to chat about on the stairs?


Like the dynamic young accountants they are, they take the stairs – no lazy lift-riding for them.

0:35 But if there’s something that accountants can’t get enough of, it’s exposition through dialogue.

Walking and talking like Aaron Sorkin characters in the worst episode of The West Wing of all time, they go banana bread hunting.

“So how are you finding the program?”

Revealing just how little imagination she has, she reveals: “It’s pretty great to be honest. I’ve been here less than a year and I never thought that I’d be working on a project supporting the modernisation program across government.”

So what did she think she’d be doing?

Keep walking, shirt guy

0:40 “Awesome. I’m working on a project in property and construction,” he reveals. Not that she asked.

“Hey. Are you going to the young leaders network dinner tonight?”

… just keep walking…

Hey. Of course she is, you dummy.

“I wouldn’t miss it. The last one was great,” she informs him with a level of sincerity usually reserved for hostage videos.

0:52 Look out – here comes boss David. Of course, he’s wearing a lanyard too. Don’t tell him you’re slacking off to get banana bread.

But he only wants to say hello to Claire anyway. Shirt guy may as well be invisible.

David only wants to talk to Claire

0:59 Well this is getting weird. Bossman David is all over Claire, telling her how much he’s looking forward to her great presentation. Yet one floor ago, she and shirt guy were doing it together. What gives, Claire?

Claire flicks her hair, smiles smugly and moves on.

Shirt guy knows he’s being sidelined

1:01. In a Tarantino-esque switch of character POV, we’re with David now, who appears to have brought a spare coffee with him on the off-chance he bumped into Rina. And Rina’s so important she, shockingly, is not wearing a security pass.

Coffee for Rina

Now it’s David’s turn for some vigorous exposition-through-dialogue…

“This year’s grads are real game changers,” he reveals, apropos of nothing. “I’ve heard some fantastic reports about their work.”

1:06 Rina, meanwhile, is about to make a funny…

“They certainly have hit the ground running. Well actually, I should say sprinting.”

Sprinting, you see. Because sprinting is even better than running

1:16 Claire and her anonymous colleague have made it to the coffee shop and joined a couple more fellow workers. Does nobody do any work in this place?

They appear to be sharing one slice of paleo banana bread between the four of them. It’s out of Claire’s reach. Somebody will pay for that later.

Somebody will pay for denying Claire banana bread. Shirt guy knows it will be him

1:20 Look! There goes Eddie. Claire says hello. Eddie wants nothing to do with her and keeps walking. There’s more exposition by dialogue to be done and stairs to be climbed.

1:23 “I feel really good about my part of the presentation,” Eddie volunteers to his colleague, as they stop for a rest after climbing about six stairs.

1:30 But beware – things are about to get cornier…

“Hey buddy…” chortles a worker, his lanyard bouncing jauntily.

Meet the office jester

He’s chortling because he makes the same joke at this time every single day. “Sorry I’ve got to do that every time. It’s because we’re in the buddy program,” he explains to his young colleague, who he appears to be under the impression is a bit slow on the uptake.

She looks at him with barely concealed hatred, as her own Personal Groundhog Day continues to unfold.

Kill the office jester

1:52 Look! It’s Teena. She’s got coffee too. Because drinking coffee is all they do.

Coffee for Teena

2:01 Teena’s here to interfere with Dane’s mentoring of Jenna, whoever she is.

In a weird breach of good HR practice, Teena wants to talk about Jenna’s future, without Jenna present, and in front of a random member of staff.

Looks like Jenna’s joining the “budget surge” team, whether she likes it or not. Dr Mumbo assumes ambitious Claire will be gutted not to have got that gig.

Pretend the woman in the middle isn’t there

2:13 Dane gives Jenna the bad news. Jenna pretends to be pleased.

Jenna takes the news unemotionally

2:22 It’s the climax of the film. Presentation time.

Boss Rosemary gives the staff a speech. She appears to be reading it from her tablet. The colleague sitting next to her appears to be dying inside.

In Canberra everybody dies a little every day

Without even seeing the presentation, Rosemary declares that it’s a game changer.

And with that, the worst recruitment ad of all time comes to an end.

Accountants will never again see a week like this.


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