Non-Book Review - Fifteen Million Merits Review
The objective of this work in writing is to review a dystopian film series entitled ‘Fifteen Million Merits’. Specifically reviewed will be the episode of Fifteen Million Merits entitled “Black Mirror”.
I. Fifteen Million Merits – ‘Black Mirror’
Black Mirror, an episode of ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ is based on a script that Charlie Brooker and Kanak Huq wrote. The central character of this episode is Bing. Bing has to ride a bicycle all day to earn merits and while riding the bicycle watches an animation of what is stated to be his ‘double’ which in actuality is an avatar that cycles down the road. Other characters in this episode watch porn or gameshows. There is also a show that is similar to X-Factor that is called ‘Hot Shots’ that three judges host and it is this show that is the only method that individuals can use to get out of riding the bicycles to earn merits. Hot Shots is produced in a manner that appears as if the audience is freely receiving information. Bing lives in a tiny box-like apartment and all the walls have screens that constantly barrage Bing with information and if he wants to skip ads and in one shot he is shown trying to skip a porn ad, then he must use his merits to do so. Black mirrors are all around in this society watching everything that people in the society do monitoring them closely. This is reminiscent of our own society today in which there are cameras everywhere watching the activities of the population whether it be in department stores, banks, restaurants, courthouses and even on the streets, the population today is always being monitored. In this episode Bing falls in love with a woman named Abi and he gives her his 15 million merits he received from his brother who died. Abi is drugged and rather than acting becomes a star in the porn industry. Abi becomes trapped in the porn industry and Bing, having given her all his merits is broke and then forced to watched Abi’s porn scenes because he has no merits by which the skip the porn shots. Bing however, gets set on revenge and earned himself a shot on the show Hot Shots and takes a piece of glass and rants during his shot. What happens next is that Bing wins and is given two rant times a week on the show with the episode ending by Bing living in style and no longer having to ride a bike.
Fifteen Million Merits episode ‘Black Mirror’ is a powerful dystopia however, the power that lies in this dystopian production is the similarity that it has to our own present day world. In today’s world the television is used to barrage the mind of the individual with sexuality and with informing them of what they need to eat, what they should be wearing, the type of car that they need to be driving. As well, the individual in today’s world is constantly provided with disinformation in the mainstream news media that uses sensationalism to avoid the real issues and topics that are relevant in today’s world. Just as in the episode ‘Black Mirror’ today’s entertainment shows are filled with irrelevant information and so-called reality shows serve to entertain the masses with unusable information and ultimately works in dumbing-down the minds of the watchers as they become embroiled in the various reality shows that cover anything from survival to personal life issues that are used for entertainment.
Summary and Conclusion
Fifteen Million Merits episode ‘Black Mirror’ highlights the manner in which today’s monitoring of the public through public cameras and the barrage of television ads and off color entertainment work to change society without society even noticing it. Just as in the case of ‘Black Mirror’ and the audience watching the ‘Hot Shots’ shows, today’s media does not force the information onto the audience but instead the audience simply sails along watching the information without thinking that it is detrimental to them and the society as a whole.
Fifteen Million Merits episode ‘Black Mirror’ clearly shows that the ruling elite are able to wield powerful input into the lives of the population without the population having the freedom or even conceiving of what they might to do change things as they become so dumbed down and passive that the elite are able to render their plans for the population in effect without the population even struggling against it.
Sims, D. Black Mirror: ‘Fifteen Million Merits’. 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/fifteen-million-merits-105765