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Black Mirror - Spoilers after the first post

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

See i did like nosedive but completely disagree with the rest of their list. I get that some episodes are too bleak for some viewers to enjoy but really just very peculiar ranking imo

I think if bleakness was an issue, I'm surprised they stuck with the show long enough to be able to compile the list. It would be like asking me to rank all the seasons of AHS despite only watching 2.5 seasons and enjoying 1. Guess sometimes you get assigned tasks when working as a reviewer and the dreaded list is the easiest and most clickable article in their arsenal these days

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They have the Miley episode ahead of Shut Up and Dance and right behind White Christmas!? I would easily put the latter 2 episodes in my top 5. Hell they even threw a shot at that great Radiohead scene. Very edgy.

Bandersnatch at #4? I respect the effort of it all but come on.

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On Showtime's The Outer Limits series from the 90's they'd wrap up most seasons with an episode that tried to tie up the anthology all together. It was mostly an excuse to be a clip show, however, even if "Black Museum" didn't use clips I found it derivative of that, though I still really liked it.

 

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4 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

They have the Miley episode ahead of Shut Up and Dance and right behind White Christmas!? I would easily put the latter 2 episodes in my top 5. Hell they even threw a shot at that great Radiohead scene. Very edgy.

Bandersnatch at #4? I respect the effort of it all but come on.

Agree with all of this.  Respect Bandersnatch and enjoyed it more once I found more of the paths, but no way that high.  And I'm amazed that Shut Up and Dance is all over the place in its rankings.  I think it's a quintessential Black Mirror concept that is very well executed.  Not like I have a constant list of the entire catalogue, but it's in my top half for sure if not my top quarter.  

I suppose that gets to my earlier comment that I kinda like all of them except this Miley episode.  I saw Arkangel lower on that list, and I agree with that ranking.  But I still think it's a very worthwhile and thoughtprovoking episode, so I have to remind myself that if some internet list has Shut Up and Dance ranked 19th it doesn't mean they're saying it sucked.

There's an interesting review of Striking Vipers here that gets a bit into that issue I was saying I was having a hard time understanding with respect to the different avs and what we're supposed to make of it.  

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It kinda felt to me like it did imply there was more to it with Karl's gender than he was willing to confront. Which strikes me as simultaneously a bit of a cowards way out but also realistic - we *do* hide from the reality and avoid thinking about it by getting our true gender expression in games and I was doing that from the point of them being 1 inch low res images that still let me map onto it.

Its a bit frustrating though as I feel acknowledging that part of the story also explains why they don't feel the chemistry when they kiss irl - Karl's underlying sexuality and attraction to Danny is as a woman and Danny is attracted to Karl as a woman. The former is probably bi/pan while the latter comes across as straight. By ignoring this aspect we're left with this weird situation where its specifically each other than they're attracted to but only once you remove their bodies from it.

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21 minutes ago, karaddin said:

Its a bit frustrating though as I feel acknowledging that part of the story also explains why they don't feel the chemistry when they kiss irl - 

Did you take this as reliable as presented?  That in that scene it was genuine lack of interest?  I couldn't really tell if I was supposed to take it that way or if I was supposed to take it as an unwillingness to acknowledge it in a more IRL situation.  

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Sheesh, just finished the new season, and man, not much going on here. Real letdown. Striking Vipers was first of all just plain boring and secondly decidedly confused on how to explore its themes, or even what exactly those themes might be. Smithereens wasn’t bad, but there really wasn’t anything about it that was, you know, Black Mirror. Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too was the best of the bunch, which is a sad statement, but at least it was entertaining and felt like an episode of Black Mirror.

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53 minutes ago, Triskele said:

Did you take this as reliable as presented?  That in that scene it was genuine lack of interest?  I couldn't really tell if I was supposed to take it that way or if I was supposed to take it as an unwillingness to acknowledge it in a more IRL situation.  

I took it as reliable, although you can interpret it as otherwise now you ask - it hadn't even occurred to me. I read it as sincere because they were braced and expecting to feel it but both acted relieved and surprised when it wasn't - that doesn't read like a denial response to me.

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Just got finished watching Striking Vipers, and I admit I was pretty bored through it despite it being an interesting idea. I liked how they treated it like an affair, and I like how they made it clear that they weren't particularly attracted IRL. But man, did it go on for wayyyyy too long, and it also seems utterly insane that this wouldn't be something that, ya know, isn't out there as knowledge. The first time someone discovered you could choose to fuck in that game it'd be on YouTube or Twitch. 

I also really wanted them to, ya know, switch characters. He wondered what it was like as a woman - why not feel it? Why not two women? Why not any of that? It's the sort of thing that is incredibly interesting to think about, and the show seemed to focus in on the most boring aspect of it possible. 

I also also thought that her going out IRL on a hall pass was not remotely the same as the intimacy that the guys shared, and that seemed somehow wrong. Like, in a perfect world why wouldn't she be playing the game with him? That'd be the real happy ending - her being able to be physically connected in that great way in the same way he wants. Because it's clear to me that he didn't particularly love fucking Karl, he loved fucking Roxette. 

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3 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Just got finished watching Striking Vipers, and I admit I was pretty bored through it despite it being an interesting idea. I liked how they treated it like an affair, and I like how they made it clear that they weren't particularly attracted IRL. But man, did it go on for wayyyyy too long, and it also seems utterly insane that this wouldn't be something that, ya know, isn't out there as knowledge. The first time someone discovered you could choose to fuck in that game it'd be on YouTube or Twitch. 

I also really wanted them to, ya know, switch characters. He wondered what it was like as a woman - why not feel it? Why not two women? Why not any of that? It's the sort of thing that is incredibly interesting to think about, and the show seemed to focus in on the most boring aspect of it possible. 

I also also thought that her going out IRL on a hall pass was not remotely the same as the intimacy that the guys shared, and that seemed somehow wrong. Like, in a perfect world why wouldn't she be playing the game with him? That'd be the real happy ending - her being able to be physically connected in that great way in the same way he wants. Because it's clear to me that he didn't particularly love fucking Karl, he loved fucking Roxette. 

Yeah it managed to be waay too long and boring while also skimming over everything that could have been interesting. Huge meh all around

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On 6/13/2019 at 2:06 AM, Kalbear said:

I also also thought that her going out IRL on a hall pass was not remotely the same as the intimacy that the guys shared, and that seemed somehow wrong. Like, in a perfect world why wouldn't she be playing the game with him? That'd be the real happy ending - her being able to be physically connected in that great way in the same way he wants. Because it's clear to me that he didn't particularly love fucking Karl, he loved fucking Roxette. 

Your post gets at what I was touching on upthread where I"m having trouble figuring out what the message was.  

It sounds like you're going with the fairly literal interpretation that they legit didn't feel it IRL, indeed, the only reason they even pondered testing it out, was because of the intra-game fucking they'd done.  But that was man-on-woman fucking.  Mackie's character, in this interpretation, was basically just cheating with a virtual reality female avatar that happened to be controlled by Karl, but the Roxette av is crucial in this interpretation.  Quite possible.  

But something I still find confusing or misleading within the episode if one tries to accept this interpretation is the music throughout and Mackie's depression and despondency which seems much more suggestive of "I'm seriously questioning my sexuality and whole identity" than it does "I just feel slightly bad for fucking a hot VR av since I haven't told my wife about it yet."  

Another thing to ponder:  everything I just said about the Mackie character does not neatly apply to the Karl character.  He's doing all the same stuff but as a female av towards a male av.  So is Karl really gay but Mackie's character is not?  The IRL kiss scene, if we take it is reliable as presented, makes perfect sense with everything we've said about the Mackie character but is harder to reconcile with the Karl character.  

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I think it's less about the actual other person and sexuality in general, and far more about the feeling they have as that other person. It's not just that Mackie is fucking this hot VR chick, it's that he is Lance fucking Roxette. Not only is she incredible, he is also incredible - more muscular, able to go forever, not having knee problems or pain or anything like that. Similarly, Karl loves fucking Lance as Roxette. He clearly enjoys the sensations of female orgasm and the body in general, and its reaction to Lance. But he doesn't particularly even want sex with Mackie. 

I also think that it is important that he's doing this with Karl, because that provides the emotional intimacy to the physical part. They are best friends, they do care about each other, they probably do love each other as such. They aren't attracted to each other physically at all, at least not until the game starts. And they both have this shared value in this game, something that would probably be seen as taboo. I think Karl notes this at one point too - he tried it with others, but it wasn't the same, it wasn't that good. He needs that emotional connection as well. 

It's a weird ep. It should be very strong, and it's a very interesting concept in a lot of ways, but they just didn't explore it at all and the ending was a fucking copout. Why does she need meatsex with randos when she can have mindblowing sex as a polar bear with Mackie? Bah. 

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I think it's less about the actual other person and sexuality in general, and far more about the feeling they have as that other person. It's not just that Mackie is fucking this hot VR chick, it's that he is Lance fucking Roxette. Not only is she incredible, he is also incredible - more muscular, able to go forever, not having knee problems or pain or anything like that. Similarly, Karl loves fucking Lance as Roxette. He clearly enjoys the sensations of female orgasm and the body in general, and its reaction to Lance. But he doesn't particularly even want sex with Mackie.

 

ETA:  (sorry, meant to add "my bolding" qualifier)

OK, ending of the episode aside, some of your explanations are helping me reconcile a lot of what I couldn't at first, and it's making the episode a bit stronger to me now.  

I think I've made the mistake of looking at it all like "what if you had a way to sorta hookup with your buddy you really love in a VR space" when maybe it's way more about "if you just happen to play a game with your buddy in a VR space but all of the sudden both of you, and which of you is which does not even matter at all, are both in avs where you feel everything can have the most mind-blowing sex, wouldn't you?"  That latter explanation actually feels like an Occam's razor take on all of it that makes it fit fairly well.  

Indeed, in this explanation, the fact that they feel weird and tempted to test it out IRL and then legit don't feel anything makes perfect sense.  

Edited by Triskele

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On 6/15/2019 at 12:40 PM, Kalbear said:

Why does she need meatsex with randos when she can have mindblowing sex as a polar bear with Mackie? Bah. 

I agree with a lot of your points, particularly the bit about "who they are having sex as is as much of the experience as who they having sex with" and I think your explanations mark a reasonable story that doesn't have to have gender implications for Karl - obviously for me I think it would have been a stronger story to go there, but either way I really enjoyed the episode a lot more than it seems anyone else here did. I didn't feel it dragged and I really enjoyed it, even if I'd have liked to see them do more.

I disagree with your objection that I've quoted though - its not just about the sex for her, its about the experience of a guy she doesn't know deciding that she's hot and trying to pick her up in the bar. It's established in the very first scene that its *that* which is her fantasy and presumably she's had plenty of bad sex stemming from that starting point in her life but she still enjoys it. I think it made perfect sense for what she gets to do on her night out.

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So I also really liked the Ashley O ep. I was genuinely surprised when Ashley woke up after the plug was pulled, I liked how the sisters interacted and how the younger one actually failed. I thought it was an interesting take on stardom and corporatism using artists, the same way 15 million did. 

And it wasnt a super happy ending. Yeah, ashley is free, but she's dirt poor and playing in shitty venues and her old fans think she sucks. 

I.also loved Ashley Too, especially when it got freed. 

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