One of the best things about all of 2019 was, without a doubt, Damon Lindelof's stunningly realized Watchmen adaptation, and it's a bummer knowing that Lindelof probably won't be handling a second season. However, the absolute worst thing about 2020 so far, the COVID-19 pandemic, has shockingly delivered a brief and topical return to the Watchmen universe via a hand-washing PSA that features stars such as Regina King, Jean Smart and more reprising their iconic roles.
Accompanied by signature scoring from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the brilliantly titled "Washmen" was shared by Damon Lindelof on Instagram, and can be viewed below.
For a quick rundown on all the awesome Watchmen stars who pop up in the cheeky PSA, we have Tim Blake Nelson as Wade "Looking Glass" Tillman, Jovan Adepo as young Will Reeves, Yahya Abdul-Mateen III as Cal Abar / Doctor Manhattan, Jean Smart as Laurie Blake, Dustin Ingram as Agent Petey (or Lube Man, if you prefer), Sara Vickers as Ms. Crookshanks, Tom Mison as Mr. Phillips, Regina King as Angela "Sister Night" Abar, and Andrew Howard as Red Scare. A big blue round of applause to all involved for diving back into character for this.
Ever since the COVID-19 crisis first started keeping people in their homes, social media has been bombarded with videos of celebrity-fueled PSAs like this, with some of them slightly more self-aware than other arguably misguided attempts. But at no point has anyone offered advice as perfect as what Agent Petey gives (while amusingly dressed as Sister Night):
How do you time 20 seconds? Well, I like to say, 'You're an FBI agent, not the Lone fucking Ranger,' about eight times.
Of course, Laurie Blake's hand-washing scree is even more amusing, though not necessarily something for everyone to commit to memory. And I also rather like Ms. Crookshanks falling back on old habits by singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" as she scrubs up. And if there was an honorary award to grant to anyone in the video, it would go to Tim Mison for calling back to the various versions of Mr. Phillips, while also throwing in a solidly gruff impression of Jeremy Irons' Adrian Veidt.
Damon Lindelof followed that video up by posting a "thank you" message to everyone who participated in creating this fun PSA.
With Gratitude to everyone who made WASHMEN come together... Regina, Tim, Yahya, Jean, Dustin, Tom, Sara, Andrew... incredible music as always by Trent & Atticus... but the MVP here is our editor, David Eisenberg (@davidakaice) who pulled it all together late at night in the midst of all this with a newborn at home. So much of this show was found in the cutting room and this short spot was a reminder of all the brilliant editors who contributed countless hours to this insane journey. Until we get through this (and we will)... Stay safe. Stay home. Stay sane. God bless.
While it seems like the above video might have been reverse-engineered after the concept of "Washmen" was first conceived, I like to think the video came first, and was followed by a spirited round of off-base pitches: "Who Bathes the Bathesmen? No, that's not right. Who Cleans Up The Cleans-Upsmen? No, still not getting it. Who Anti-Bacterializes The Anti-Bacterializers? Yeah, I think that one. Wait, no..." Not that anyone on Damon Lindelof's creative team is as dumb as that.
Most of America remains hunkered down in our homes for self-quarantining, with a growing desire for fictional superheroes to break through into our reality to provide safety and comfort (and medical supplies). Those heroes ain't comin', but at least we have Watchmen's protagonists around to make sure we're doing our part to keep our mitts clean.
Watchmen is currently available to stream on HBO Go and HBO NOW, with the Blu-ray and DVD sets hitting retailers on June 2 (unless that date gets affected by coronavirus setbacks). While waiting to see if someone else might pick up the reins for Season 2, check out the Marvel comics we'd like to see Damon Lindelof take on.