Carol and The End of the World: The Distraction Company Explained

‘Carol and The End of the World’ presents a unique story about a life lived under the looming threat of annihilation. Carol Kohl, a shy woman who easily blends into a crowd, helms the narrative as the protagonist who attempts to go through her days in a world that seems intent on living life to the fullest. However, given everyone alive has to live with the reality that a mysterious planet will collide with the Earth in a few months, perhaps their hedonistic philosophies are justified. Nevertheless, Carol is uninterested in undertaking wild adventures and letting go of her inhibitions. Instead, she seeks the comfort of every day’s dull tedium.

As a result, things start looking up for the woman when she stumbles into a functioning office where she’s hired as an administrative assistant in the blink of an eye. Although the office fulfills Carol and her coworkers’ craving for normalcy during their trying time, its existence remains a giant mystery. SPOILERS AHEAD!

What Is Distraction Company’s Purpose?

Carol first comes across the Distraction Company entirely on chance after following a well-dressed businesswoman from a subway. At that point in her life, Carol has hardly any purpose to live for. Although weekends and paying bills have kept her motivated her entire life, such things have dissolved with society since the planet Keppler 9C’s discovery. Thus, Carol tries to live a worry-free life by having a one-night stand with a relative stranger, but even that doesn’t work out in her favor.

However, a twist of fate pulls Carol into the building that holds the solutions to her problems. At Distraction, Carol is hired without any trouble or explanation and assigned a cubicle on a probation period. While employed, Carol has to do several mundane administrative tasks, such as computing and filing, with the goal of clearing all the paperwork that piles on her desk by the end of the day.

Within this nine-to-five work week, Carol finds immense satisfaction since she no longer has to worry about the inevitable apocalypse that looms over the Earth. Instead, she has a purpose to wake up in the morning and turn in before midnight. The work keeps her busy and, most importantly, distracted. Therein lies the entire purpose of Distraction as a company.

When Keppler 9C first made its presence known and incited mass panic, the boss, who worked at the accounting branch of Golden Harvest Foods, decided to ignore the monumental news. In the face of impending doom, the man simply shut the curtains and returned to work. While the man continued to be in denial, most of his employees left the company in favor of living out their last months on Earth in better ways.

Yet, eventually, others, like the boss, who needed a set routine to live, started filing in at the office. As a result, the company soon turned into “Distraction,” since the work done within the office is a literal distraction for its employees to ease the complications of the upcoming apocalypse. For the same reason, the management at the company doesn’t tolerate any employees diverging from their responsibilities or putting anything else above their work. Even though the product itself is useless, the company believes the work provides a life-saving crutch to their workers that must always be prioritized.

Why Did People Work At Distraction?

Throughout the show, we see numerous distinct characters dealing with life under a ticking time bomb in various different ways. Carol’s parents, Bernard and Pauline, gave into their natural desires, adopting a nudist lifestyle and allowing themselves to start a relationship with Bernard’s male nurse, Michael. Despite the doomed circumstances, the pair strived for a happy life filled with love and luxury aboard a cruise.

Likewise, Carol’s sister, Elena, sought adventure out, taking up skydiving and mingling with various different cultures. In a way, Distraction is a similar hobby for Carol and everyone else at the office. Some people were able to subscribe to a perspective that allowed them to look at Keppler 9C as their last opportunity to live life to the fullest. Yet, others couldn’t make peace with their species’ doomed ends.

Keppler 9C painted a bleak, apocalyptic world. Therefore, many people needed a sense of normalcy to overcome their complicated situations. To some, coming in to work a nine-to-five was a way to avoid their troublesome families. For others, it was motivation to continue living. After all, if the world will end in a few months, what’s the point of living in the now? Whatever their reasons, each employee came into the company because they needed a distraction.

However, the same was never a sustainable way to deal with the circumstances. By constantly distracting themselves from the root of the problem and denying themselves human connection in favor of productivity— the ultimate distraction— the employees were stretching themselves thin.

In the end, with Carol’s effortless help, the workers at Distraction realize that even though the world is ending, it doesn’t diminish the importance of friendship and love. Therefore, in many ways, the company and its workers present a compelling analogy for the real world. Distraction is the capitalism machine that the workers must keep running smoothly. Productivity becomes a crutch to turn away from problems. Yet, community continues to be the one true purpose and solution to humanity’s perpetually doomed existence.

Read More: Carol and The End of the World Ending, Explained