Please, for the love of God! Like Me! Share Me! I need the popularity points!
Director: Joe Wright
Writers: Rashida Jones and Michael Schur
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Alice Eve, Cherry Jones
Oh, and all of the spoilers.
The first episode out of the season three gate (I know you don’t have to watch them in order, but I choose to do so here because it makes it a little easier on me) is so shockingly different from any of the episodes that have been produced in the past. It is bright, clean, and cheerful with the occupants of the not too distant future wearing soft, pleasing (if not super bland) colors. One doesn’t want to look too jarring or risk getting two or three stars. People always looking down at their phone, posing their meals or themselves just right to get the best photo. Being smiley and polite is mandatory or suffer the loss of jobs, housing, and friends. The only way to be rude is the passive-aggressive rating system and there are those who use it in a cold and calculating way.
This episode resonated with me in all of the wrong ways. I found myself relating to our protagonist Lacie Pound (Howard) a little too much. I have a blog (duh) and several social media sites to go along with it. I find myself on a daily basis thinking I need to say something witty or funny so I can get likes and follows. I post too many photos of my super adorable kitty on Instagram because Instagram loves cats! While I don’t see myself as artificial as Lacie (her practicing her laugh and smiles in the mirror was terrifyingly absurd, yet I have caught my friends and family doing just that), I do find myself wishing for more strangers on the internet to like me occasionally. There is that slight high when something I said gets several likes or retweets.
And then that crash hits when I realize that something so silly just made me happy.
What really disturbs me is the ratings system and how we are inching closer and closer to that reality. The highly controversial app Peeple is available, though it doesn’t seem like too many people are using it. But what is to say that was only step one. As a society, we have made people into celebrities because they have a massive presence on social media. Because of that fame, these persons are invited to all of the big parties, receive free things in order to promote them, and are generally treated better. All because they have a few thousand likes per post.
Desperate to climb the rating ladder to get a fabulous apartment, Lacie (sitting at a 4.243 at the beginning) is ecstatic when her friend from childhood, Naomi (Eve) invites her to her wedding to be the maid of honor. Naomi is super popular with a 4.867 and the ceremony will be attended by mostly high fours. This is Lacie’s chance! All she needs to do is nail the perfect speech with that one single tear and she will get all sorts of five stars.
And one bad day can make it all disappear. How many times have we seen a celebrity fall from the grace because they broke up with a significant other, were caught ranting, or a substance abuse problem comes to light? This person becomes untouchable and we think to ourselves “how sad, [insert any celebrity name here] had so much going for them.”
Lacie loses points because she gets into an argument with her brother, harmlessly bumps into a stranger who just happens to be a high four, annoys a Uber driver. These slight loss of points push her just low enough on the scale where she can’t get a standby seat on a flight. God forbid Lacie lose her temper for a half-second when her plans are thrown completely out of whack and the people around her have to deal with an unpleasant experience. There go more points.
The cruel twist was Naomi wasn’t inviting Lacie to be her maid of honor because they grew up together and wanted someone who truly knows her there. Lacie was invited because she was on the cusp of a higher rating. Naomi being seen as friends and cherishing someone who is a little less popular will boost her scores even higher. Maybe that is how their friendship always was. Now Lacie is a sub three, having her at the wedding is social suicide.
The ending was perfect. Lacie is stripped down and yelling obscenities at a total stranger, smiling. Free to just be angry and rude.
A great episode to start the new season off with an outstanding performance from Howard turning what could be an obnoxious character into someone completely relatable.
What did you think of “Nosedive”? Did you relate to Lacie as I did or are you more like the trucker (Jones) telling the world to go to hell? Talk to me in the comments section below and feel free to give me a five for this encounter.