What your Netflix choice says about you
This is an abhorrent title to a blog. Society is all about NOT judging, and here I am, implying that your choice of content automatically makes you something. It’s really a joke, though. It doesn’t. It is just curiously funny the different reactions I receive when I announce my current Netflix slate to co-workers, friends, or acquaintances.
For this past winter break, we watched a ridiculous amount of streaming television. The main two shows we watched were — 1) Korean dating show, called Single’s Inferno in English; and 2) Emily in Paris, call it millenial Sex in the City, taking place in Paris, instead of NYC.
Both shows activate vibrant water cooler conversation. I literally stopped my co-worker in the hallway to tell him I finished Emily in Paris, and we both engaged in a deep-dive analysis about the (spoiler alert) cliffhanger ending. We started plotting whether Emily was going to stay in Paris or not. My theory is that she wants to stay and avenge the broken pact with Camille.
My boss, a stodgy older guy who I would never suspect would watch this type of show, walked by and stopped mid-track, and shouted, “CAMILLE, I KNOW THAT WOMAN.”
It was the most hilarious moment. You had to be there.
It’s incredible that Emily in Paris has linked families and people of all backgrounds and ages with her Pollyanna approach to public relations and marketing in Paris. Nevermind that her clothes verge on garish or couture. Nevermind she also almost verges on Ugly American with her sunshine ideas, but then… her American boss comes into the equation, and we see who is REALLY ugly. Yikes. Talk about cringeworthy cultural incompetence.
Oh, and then the reaction to Single’s Inferno. It’s apparently the most watched show in Korea. So, I walk into the office of a very granola colleague. We discuss our holidays, and I mentioned Single’s Inferno, and she starts SHREIKING and tapping both of her ears as if to SHUT OUT THE ENTIRE WORLD. She, a very normal and placid personality, shreiked, “Don’t talk to me about this show, I absolutely WILL NOT watch it — HORRIBLE.”
Hahahahaha. Content-wise, it actually really is. They pick the most stereotypical cast mates, place them on an island, and give them really weird physical fitness challenges to complete in order to get onto “Paradise” a luxury hotel — where winners can pick the single of his or her choice to bring to a suite, for an overnighter.
People pine and court for each other. Individuals get upset when someone pick someone else. New singles enter in the middle of the game. Everyone’s plastic surgery is spot on.
Oh, and it’s racist — or are the words anti-black or anti-brown? The cast mates are recorded blatantly admiring each other’s pure and white skin. *That’s gotten a ton of play in the Korean social media.
So, now I’ve established both shows are the lowest-common-denominator sort of content. What does watching that content with the masses mean for me? Absolutely nothing. I just need something to entertain me with my partner in the evenings. We need to empty our minds and gasp and laugh and groan in horror at our fellow human foibles and follies. Could I accomplish that reading Sylvia Plath? (Which I also did this break.) Sure. Could I avoid this type of content and send a signal to Netflix we don’t tolerate such trash? Sure. But WHY?
We need to see nothing near our own realities. That’s the simple truth. However way we do it, to each his or her or their own.