Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fifteen Million Merits

          The episode on Black Mirror, “Fifteen Million Merits” shows a good illustration of what a dystopian world can look like, as is demonstrated by the colors, music, and symbolism. The colors that are used in the episode are important because one can see that the people of this dystopian world all wear the same colors except the ones who appear to be in charge of determining ones future. The music that is played throughout the episode seems to be chosen for them, except when they try to perform in front of the judges. The symbolism used throughout, like the biking to get merits, is an example of how a society can be turned into an almost slave-like society where they must keep on biking in order to advance and get out of their current situation.  The episode proves to give a chilling glimpse at the near future—if not already the present.
            The color grey is the only color people are wearing throughout the episode, save for the garbage men/women, and the judges. Wearing the same color is purposely done because doing so can prove to take away an individualistic aspect of a person, the choice to have the preference for a certain color is not an option.  The color grey can be associated as a color of being dull, sullen, and sad, which is the way people are going about their lives in this society. It is clear with Bingham that he is going about life dull and sullen-like because the way his life is structured is routine-like. It is true that not everyone seems to display the same dull characteristic that Bingham shows, as is the case with Dustin who is always having a good time watching TV or making fun of overweight garbage men. The only people who appear to wear different colors are the garbage men who are all made fun of because of their weight, and the judges who appear to be in charge of determining people’s future. Being in charge means having power, which in turn means the ability to do as one pleases, and in this case the judges can do as they please and therefore choose what they want to wear.
            The music that is played seems to be chosen for them too, except when they perform in front of the judges. That was the case when Abi performs in front of the judges and chooses to sing a song about love. It was clear that Abi and Bingham had fallen for one another, as is shown when they hold hands in the elevator. The fact that she was able to sing about love even when it appears as if they are all in a slave-like society, trapped by screens and bikes, is a good example of the way in which an individual has not yet lost complete individualism. Abi, like Bingham, was not so much trapped in that dystopian society because they were able to think differently and act differently, eventually leading to their place away from biking for merits.
            However, in a sense they still belong to the system itself because Abi ends up doing pornography, while Bingham ends up having a thirty-minute segment where he gives speeches. Perhaps this is done to symbolize the fact that though they try to get out of a particular situation, in this case a slave-like society, they will not because there is a greater force at play that they cannot change. It is clear that the society they live in is consumer focused because people enjoy buying new things, and yes they are virtual, but nonetheless it makes them happy as is demonstrated by the ginger character who purchases different things for his avatar. This sort of dystopian future is scary to see because we are not very far from it, or perhaps already living in it. We are attached to our smartphones, laptops, videogame systems, televisions, and social media among other things more and more, that we end up being trapped in this consumer based society where we start becoming slaves to our own property.

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