I was talking with my boss today about Black Mirror and it made me sad. Not in the weepy, shoulder heaving way that happens with certain episodes of LOST or origami gum wrapper commercials, but in the way where I feel like I’m missing out on something. I hate that. I hate the feeling of missing something that is so easily accessible to me, but with Black Mirror I have my reasons.
I’ve often heard Black Mirror described as a modern day Twilight Zone and I love the concept. I’ve watched enough Twilight Zone episodes to appreciate their social commentary and creepy/weird story telling. In fact, the very notion that Black Mirror is like the Twilight Zone makes me want to watch more Twilight Zone episodes. The episode where the world ends and the guy breaks his glasses and can’t read has been a constant reoccurring fear for me. I think that’s one show that is kind of timeless in some ways and if it was ever needed to be reinvented then I’m all for a new form of it. I’m not saying that Black Mirror is the Twilight Zone but it’s social commentaries and bizarre stories are told in the hopes to opening people’s eyes to certain subject matters. The similarities are there.
It was with that in mind that I watched the first episode of Black Mirror about a year ago. I actually think it was around Christmas time which in retrospect was not the time of year to be experiencing that. I went in expecting a stand alone story that would be a little strange but ultimately enjoyable, and what I got was strange and ultimately unenjoyable. Not because the story was bad, in fact it was told quite well, but because of the subject matter. Mostly that ending. I guess that was the point though as the episode strived to make the viewer uncomfortable I just felt that it went a little too far with that. Seriously, when that first episode, “The National Anthem”, ended I felt like I needed a shower and maybe a hug. I felt gross and sad and not at all in the Christmas spirit.
I get that that’s the point though. One doesn’t put out an episode like “The National Anthem” in the hopes of finding people cheering and applauding its events. One puts an episode out like that to open eyes to inner politics, the corruption of technology, and how far public opinion can sway public figures. Yet, for me… it took me a while to shake it. For about a week or so I wore the events of that episode almost to the point where I felt kind of gross for watching it. I said this during one of my Preacher reviews, but I felt that watching that episode of Black Mirror was doing something wrong. I know I wasn’t but I couldn’t help get rid of that feeling.
Now here we are almost a year removed and my boss is binge watching the hell out of Black Mirror and talking about how great it is and I’m here feeling left out. I don’t like being left out. I was left out plenty in middle school and high school, I don’t need to be left out by pop culture. We talked spoiler free talk and I started to get a little excited about the show again but the actions of that first episode stayed at the forefront. I have this fear that every episode of Black Mirror is going to leave me feeling gross and in need of a shower and it’s preventing me from watching the show.
True story, I was at the Adorable Creature’s place last week and put on the second episode, only to turn it off before it started. I couldn’t pull the trigger on it and played it off as if I wasn’t in the mood for the program but I think the truth of the matter was I was afraid of it. I was afraid of feeling ashamed of what I was watching. Some real deep shit here, right?
I turn to you now Geeklings, are my fears in Black Mirror founded or should I shake that first episode off and keep going? I really don’t know. I want to but I feel that I might be too deeply scarred from my first experience. Help me because I feel like I’m missing something special here.