So here I am listening to a new episode of Rabbits, and some weird little thing gets mentioned, so I Google it. At the exact time Google shows up with no results, the actress (who I’ve zoned out to read the results) pipes up with “none of this is real you understand?” Never a truer word spoken! So on that fourth wall breaking note, let’s dive down the reality-bending rabbit hole of Rabbits.
What’s it all about?
Rabbits in the simplest possible terms is a game. Not a board game or a computer game though, Rabbits is more an Alternate Reality Game or ARG. It’s shrouded in mystery and most people haven’t heard of it, although even people playing will usually deny knowing anything about it.
Carly Parker’s friend Yumiko has disappeared. The police don’t seem too interested in finding her, they put it down to her being a “rebellious teenager” . As Carly starts looking into the disappearance though, she suspects that Yumiko had been playing an ARG called IX (9). It is called 9 because it’s the ninth iteration of a truly ancient game that over the years got unofficially renamed “Rabbits”.
Rabbits as it stands is a truly global game, with clues cropping up in random places all over the world. From a note posted on a board in a Milwaukee launderette, to an advert in a British newspaper or the high score table on an old arcade machine in a forgotten arcade. You never know where you’ll find a clue, but once you find the game, the game guides you.
Now being a game, there is apparently a way to “win” with rumours of cash prizes, and even recruitment into the CIA appearing on certain dark web message boards. On the flip side though the physical cost for playing is high, with equal rumours of death and insanity amongst players.
As she digs deeper into the disappearance, things start to get weird. Coincidences increase and it becomes apparent that she has started playing for herself. The question now is whether she can win, or whether she’ll just try to survive to the end.
Is it any good?
Yes, in my humble opinion it is brilliant. I love the way the story is written, how it mixes fact with fiction so cleanly you can’t see the joins. The characters are likeable, and the acting is great. I know that some people really have a problem with it, particularly episodes of season 2, and once upon a time I’d agree. I am now fully back down the rabbit hole though, and loving every reality warping minute.
Psychogeography has become something of a buzzword, particularly after Alan Moore’s book “Jerusalem” and the historical books about John Dee by Peter Aykroyd. Rabbits started out being described as an ARG, which certainly has a psychogeographic feel, but I think as the series progresses it became closer to mobile apps like Randonautica or Dérive. These thoughts are of no consequence however, just me digressing. Such research is worth delving into though, just for a bit of “real world” rabbits larking.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I love it when I listen to a show that fools me into searching for some weird little artefact, book or person just to draw a blank and realise that it was all made up. The podcasts by the PRA are responsible for more wasted google searches than any other I’ve listened to. Keep it up guys, its a testament to your writing that I do that.
This series should be high on anyone’s “to listen” list. It’s one of the rare shows that I could easily restart from the beginning and enjoy, and the way it’s written it will probably reveal more tantalising little Easter eggs to find.
There wasn’t really any hesitation in me giving this a 5 brain rating. Sometimes I’ll have to weigh up pros and cons, maybe knock a brain off for something that niggles me. Not here though. It’s one of the better shows you could lose weeks to binge on.
You can listen to Rabbits here: