If you’re reading this, we assume it’s because you’ve now seen all 10 episodes of Netflix’s ‘Maniac’. And if you’re anything like us, after reaching the end point, you’re going to need a bit of time to breathe and mull over everything you just saw.
From the moment it was announced, it was obvious that ‘Maniac’ was going to be an assault on the senses. So, we’re pleased to note that it more than lived up to our expectations, thanks to its the twists and turns at every new setting, time period and universe we were presented with as we delved deeper into Owen and Annie’s minds.
With so much to take in, though, it’s inevitable that certain details will have passed you by, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite easter eggs and hidden details about the show...
The cardboard box at the beginning
When we first met Annie, she passed a cardboard box in the street, which is where she first stumbled across the novel ‘Don Quixote’. It went on to become a recurring theme in the show, first when she declared she wanted to read it before entering the trial (she was later seen eyeing it over as Linda in her first “reflection”) and later went on the hunt for its missing chapter in another fantasy sequence.
What you might have missed, though, was that the box also contained a Rubik’s cube, another centrepiece of the show, and what Owen later used to, in Gertie’s words, “save the day”.
Both central characters’ patient numbers 1 and 9 repeatedly cropped up in their reflection sequences, starting near-immediately when Annie (as Linda) was patient 9 at the DMV. Meanwhile, Owen, as Bruce, was seen sporting a football jersey with the number 1 on it.
Later, Owen was shown to table 9 in another sequence, while the pair entered the elevator in the “C pill” sequence at the ninth floor.
Some rather creative titles
Dr Mantleray’s entrance (you know the one) was so… unique, the chances are you were so distracted by his slanted toupee and *sigh* SuckTube that you weren’t paying all that much attention to the smaller details.
What you’d have missed in that case would be some rather inventive parody porn titles, including ‘Jane Derrière’ and ‘Beasts Of Urination’, the latter of which is a pun on the Netflix original film ‘Beasts Of No Nation’. He was also seen to be a reader of ‘Paraphilic Weekly’.
His mother’s book titles were similarly inventive, including ‘See You See Her See We’ and the so-good-we-wish-it-were-real ‘I’m OK, You’re A Bitch’.
On that note, we were also impressed with the faux New York Post headline at the end of the series, which featured the message: “Pissed Off! Details leak in Milgrim urine trial.”
We learned fairly early on that Annie’s late sister Ellie loved epic fantasy films, with the two watching what looks like a Tolkien-esque film together in their motel flashback.
Clearly it’s something Emma Stone’s character has held onto, as her reflection, Linda’s children were seen drawing an elf in the 1980s episode, while a later sequence was set almost entirely in a medieval fantasy world.
In episode four, the first “B pill” reflection, Annie was reimagined as Linda. Halfway through the episode, she was seen sporting a pair of earrings similar to the Neberdine emblem, while her nurse’s outfit was also covered in rainbows.
We couldn’t help notice the patches worn by the Fish and Wildlife officer was the same shape and position as those worn by the scientists at the facility too.
When Annie was seen in one of her reflections briefly listening to Dr. Greta’s radio show, we heard a man named Hank call in with a problem regarding his two daughters.
Hank is voiced by actor Hank Azaria (perhaps best known for his numerous characters on ‘The Simpsons’), who also plays Annie’s father (whose name, indeed, is also Hank), meaning it’s his voice we ever so briefly hear.
We learned in Owen’s very first flashback that he loves a gimlet, as do his reimagined versions, Ollie and Snorri (the latter of whom may have inadvertently killed an extra-terrestrial with one).
A gimlet, should you be curious, is typically made with gin, lime juice and soda.
The name Wendy was initially introduced to the viewers as the lemur in the ‘Furs By Sebastian’ episode, though characters in later reflections were also referred to as Wendy, usually in passing.
Once Owen and Annie left the trial, she used the fake moniker “Wendy Lemuria” in her bid to break him out of the psychiatric facility his family had him committed to.
Owen and Olivia’s children
When Owen imagined what his life could have been like had he ended up with Olivia, he sees himself in his real-life apartment, alongside their many, many children, who she was heard referring to as “Asia”, “Antarctica”, “Africa” and “Australia”.
She later mentioned that there are seven in total, meaning we imagined South America, Europe and North America (which roll off the tongue slightly less effortlessly) were kicking about in there somewhere.
“Ceci… c’est une pipe”
The show’s latter half featuree repeated references to the surrealist painting ‘The Treachery Of Images’, best known for its slogan “ceci n’est pas une pipe”.
During Owen’s gangster-inspired “pill C” fantasy, the message was adapted to “ceci n’est pas une drill” (also the name of the preceding episode), while in his very last imagined scenario, Annie inexplicably smoked a pipe like the one seen in the painting.
All the way through the show, it’s obvious that the music used is very deliberate. This is most notable in the episodes ‘Furs By Sebastian’ and ‘Exactly Like You’, where the song ‘Exactly Like You’ is threaded between the both of them, either as Gertie’s way of making Owen and Annie believe they’re destined to be with one another, or as an outlet for her own grief.
In a similar fashion, the rap track ‘My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me’ was heard throughout the gangster sequence (no prizes for guessing why that one’s so apt).
When we were first introduced to Bruce and Linda, we heard John Prine’s ‘Illegal Smile’, the lyrics of which refer to having “the key to escape reality”.
Our personal favourite, though? The fact that Jed performed The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ with Sting’s actual wife Trudie Styler standing just feet away from him, playing his on-screen mother.
‘Maniac’ is streaming now on Netflix.