IRS apologizes for $60k Star Trek parody

Seems in 2010 this training video got a green light. The Associated Press has the details.


    1. Even if you thought about it and the whole “Your government is spending the annual income of a small family on a TV parody as training video” didn’t seem too far fetched — I dare you to make the leap to believing that parody would be good. Dare you.

  1. There’s gotta be a way to combine the words parody and tragedy into something appropriate.

    “I already spent my per diem” — they should have taken some financial advice from the GSA.

    Does anyone know what form/procedures could get the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ video released to youtube? It seems important.

        1. I think what’s called for here is ‘tragimetacomedy’…

          Or perhaps that only applies if it’s intentionally tragic.

  2. I saw one comment that the biggest sin here was using Next Generation uniforms on a Original Series set. I’m all for that, seeing as how $60K is probably what one branch office spends in paper clips for a year.

    1. Actually, I’ve worked for the IRS.  They’re so stingy with taxpayer dollars, we were lucky to get our daily staple, and a paper clip was considered a luxury.  I actually shared my 60-year-old metal desk with a night-shift employee.  But you know how those Federal employees suck at the public teat and ride around in limousines.

      The click-through has a Republican Congressman saying, “There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous.”  Really?  That’s the most infuriating thing?  How about getting wiretapped without a warrant, or blown up by a drone?  No, to Republicans, the most “infuriating” thing is paying their taxes.

      As for the cost of this production, I wonder what fraction of the IRS annual training budget it represents?  They produce hundreds of training videos every year, most of them dry and boring.  I can see it’s infuriating if one of them is cute.  Perhaps the Congressman would prefer if Federal employees were not trained to do their jobs?  How’s that working out at  the TSA?

      1. Yeah, but how much actual training do you figure the video accomplishes? It seems more like it was meant for a morale exercise, and for the result they achieved… let’s just say they probably should have spent it on staples.

        (But I do agree as far as counterpoint to the idea fiscal conservatives have, that since state employees are paid with Our Hard-Earned Money they should spend their entire waking lives pushing wheelbarrows full of manure and crying. Because that’s the same as how private employees earn their keep, obvs.)

        1. I agree the video is useless.  I’ve always wondered why the guys at the top think the rest of us love stuff like this?  (And then there’s always that one guy in the office who actually does.)

          But the fact is the people making the video thought it would be a jocular shot in the arm for morale and team spirit.  That might be a crappy way for any organization to spend its money, but it’s not really worthy of an apology.

        1.  If you can take a video of yourself taking a dump into your own cupped hands, then we’ll subscribe you to the newsletter.

      2. I meant the comment about the uniforms being the biggest sin literally.
        Not Michelle Bachmann literally. Literally literally. (If you get my meaning)

        $60K for a intro video that might make the training a little easier to get through is a a steal.

        I know about dry and boring training. I had a week long class once for the company I worked for, and 5 minutes in I was looking at a coworker and both of us were mouthing “Shoot me now. PLEASE.” I swear, they person they got to do the training video made Ben Stein sound lively. “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”
        By the end of the week, the only thing people had gotten  from the training was maybe being a little caught up on our sleep.

      3. I’m sure Fiscal Conservatives would have us spend millions of dollars in investigatory committees to save 60k.

  3. How can anyone link to the Washington Times without calling it the Moonie Times? Moon’s followers make Murdoch-kin look sane.

    Er, not that the topic of the article isn’t appropriate for happy mutants, but those cultists don’t need our ad revenue :)

    1. Thanks, beat me to it. They’re eating up this story because it fits their “Big bad gubmint is BAAAAAD!!!” narrative.

  4. Did anyone understand what message or training they were trying to deliver? It really made no sense to me at all.

  5. After spending the last week in training as a new hire I have to wonder if companies that produce training videos make them so shitty on purpose.  Watching a video on safety you’d almost expect them to make it interesting enough to keep you awake…no, they add in a nice ambient soundtrack with ocean sounds throughout. It’s had to take some things seriously when you are being lulled asleep by the soundtrack.

        1. I love it when someone uses a German expression that I can figure out from a word that I know from a Christmas carol and a word that I know from porn.

          1. Which carol is it that has “shit” in it? 
            At least it’s good to see I’m not the only one into Hochheilige porn (apart from the last Pope, that is).   

      1.  Sadly the description reveals that Staplefahrer Klaus was a spoof, not an actual training video. Still funny though.

        1. With some subtitles, Staplefahrer Klaus would actually make an excellent training vid.

          I’ve sat through dozens of forklift driver induction vids, and this’d be the best by far. Repeating the same old crap actually doesn’t have to be tedious.

  6. I think they could have used that money better.  Like replacing the same low-fi, ultra scratchy, incredibly pixelized music they play when we’re on hold for 45 minutes.  The same “music” they’ve been playing for ten years.  

  7. There’s got to be a cheaper way of bolstering morale for revenue workers. Too bad people frown so much on drunkenness nowadays.

  8. The comments on the story site that personally blame the sitting President of the United Sates are hilarious. Not political or racist in the least.

  9. Doesn’t this look like it could somehow fit well into an episode of The Office?

    The only problem is, this video isn’t bad enough to be funny. To have had any value, it should either have been much better or much worse.

  10. 60k is not a very big budget for a production like this. That it is particularly uninspired is sad, but not surprising. Lots of sets, cameras, actors, microphones and  green screens… Costs add up quick, and most ‘creative’ endeavors will suck regardless (look at almost all of television). Private companies routinely spend just as much (and more) on pep rallies where tired acts like Foreigner perform. Lets move on and fix the tax code rather than tear the internal marketing to shreds.

  11. You can’t put a price on how gorgeous this video is. You could Kickstarter $120k on this just to shut the “Washington Times” up.

  12. 60K! my god they could have flown another couple drone missions for that kind of money!

    The real tragedy here is all the mean spirited numbskulls who think labour laws and economic principles don’t apply to public employees.  “Flog them” “Take the money back from them”.  Sorry but I work in the private sector, and if I became liable for the project budgets I work on, there’d be no point in even having my job, too much risk.  All in a days work through for the privatized profit socialized losses crowd.

    1. Amen to that. I’ve only worked in the private sector, and I can tell you everybody involved there is pretty much spending money on whatever they think they can get away with. That’s how free enterprise works! Certainly the government isn’t any worse. It’s not as if any of us are being paid in something other than somebody else’s money. 

  13. Ok, granted it was a waste of taxpayer money. But as a number of folks have already pointed out, the cost of production is not unreasonable for this type of video production. And let’s be clear: THIS IS NOT A TRAINING VIDEO! This is the morale boosting meeting kickoff that begins one big conferenence full of talks and breakout sessions where all the training happens. These videos don’t have to be funny, because the audience IS EXPECTED TO LAUGH AT THE ABSURD PERFORMANCE OF THEIR PEERS. Corporate America has been making these type of spoof productions for a very long time (although more and more, I think the sense of humour in this type of skit has given way to a more staid corporate cheerleading – revealing a loss of ‘fun’ in the workplace?)

    The real problem here is the fact that the meeting management consultants that were no doubt hired to run the training conference treated a government body like a fortune 500 client, and no one reigned them in. I assure you the cost of the entire training/conference/meeting where this was shown far exceeded $60,000, but it is far easier to pick on a silly video than a big budget training conference.

  14. That is sooo funny it’s seriously well spent money! I’m Swedish i wish my country was this crazy!

  15. They could have at LEAST re-used the set for the social security sketches!!!

    I spent an hour in the SS office thinking I had been transported to a special version of Pergatory where George Takei really wanted me to use my Jitter Bug phone to access social security documents online.

Comments are closed.