BLACK MIRROR (2011), is a TV series well known for its analysis and commentary on contemporary culture and the way we live. "Nosedive" - an episode from the series’ third season - depicts the envious traits of humans through the central character Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard). The episode thrives on the notion of "rating" the experience when encountering another person, all to achieve a higher ranking. The reality for these characters is a a pastel-coloured nightmare of aggressive cheeriness as they attempting to out-nice each other and bump up their own rating.
Series creator Charlie Brooker describes the episode as "A satire on acceptance and the image of us we like to portray and project to others". It is a world obsessed with subjectively critiquing humans, emphasising how dependent people are on their image in this digital world. It comments on the new digital world we live in and how we thrive to maintain that very same image in our social media profiles. Lacie’s story is a perfect rendition of the envious desires one might face. She is consistently determined to "better" herself and achieve a higher ranking, much like that of her old friend Naomi (Alice Eve). When provided an opportunity to achieve this at Naomi’s wedding, she sets off on her quest.
However, she soon encounters extreme obstacles that she must overcome. At the airport she does not manage to board her flight and cannot purchase another seat as they are reserved for those with a rating of 4.2 or higher. Her frustrated outburst causes her to be placed on a temporary ban where a whole point is deducted from her rating and any further discrepancies will see her receive "double damage". This enforcement of deducting points by the security critiques the social divide seen in many cultures today and while "Nosedive" does not focus on income, gender or race, a clear structure of social divide regarding status is exemplified throughout.
After being rejected by Naomi to attend the wedding on account of her dwindling rating, Lacie sets herself on a path to do not what is deemed culturally appropriate but what she personally feels like doing. While Lacie’s story ends with her dirty, bruised and tattered, she is seemingly truly happy, in expressing herself for who she is and no longer riddled with the envious desires she started off with. Through this development, "Nosedive" critiques the concept of individuality today. In a world where social media and internet dominates, individuality is difficult to come by.
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