Our first date – for my husband and me – was 12 hours long. Literally. He picked me up at 11:00 am in front of my West Hollywood apartment 16 years ago, we bummed around at the touristy Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, then bummed around some more and appreciated or made of fun of the things we saw at the beautiful Getty Museum in Brentwood, made a homemade meal a la Trader Joe’s frozen lasagna package at my friend’s house that I was house-sitting for at the time, watched a horrible Vince Vaughn rental, and had a long, lingering hug goodnight at 11:00pm.
I don’t remember looking at the clock once. Twelve hours flew by and felt like it was a much, much shorter timeframe.
So I’m not sure what I feel about the ideas behind one of the episodes, “Hang the DJ”, for Netflix’s new Black Mirror season, premiere date unknown yet. The premise is that couples meet for first dates based on this cult-like dating app. Throughout the 12-hour date, each person holds a mini clock that is counting down the minutes before your “expiration date” takes place.
I don’t know what is supposed to happen when clock strikes zero.
Do they both spontaneously combust if they don’t click on a button that says “Yes I’d like to see this person again” before the clock runs out?
Are they tied to each other for life if they do click “Yes” before the clock runs out? [Gasp! This would NOT be good for some and taking til death do us part too far].
Can you stop the date way before the 12th hour if it’s just going horribly? As in, does the clock have a built-in PANIC or Stop! This guy’s a douche button? [God, I would sure hope so.] Maybe there could even be a hole that suddenly opens underneath you if you behave like human waste on a date so you’d drop down at 100 mph into oblivion.
And the pressure. Good lord, the pressure! How do you really get to know someone when you have to hang onto a time-telling device that is ticking away the minutes?
Or does that actually help you get to know someone really well, really fast, because time would seem more precious so people would cut the bull sooner on a first date?
So many questions, and I’m utterly intrigued.
Looks like Black Mirror will hold my already short attention span once again with the new season as I go underground for a couple of days to binge-watch.
Like its previous seasons built on a tech-fantasy dystopian world – a world that some might say we are speeding towards now – the new season won’t disappoint with is thought-provoking premise that nearly parallels reality. Previous episodes include a society in which you can rate people instantly based on 1 to 5 stars (Yelp for humans…yikes) and that fact dictates behavior depending on how much you care about being socially accepted and what privileges are accessible to you based on your “rating” which could spike or downward spiral as the main character played by Bryce Dallas Howard finds out. Or in another episode, every morning is Groundhog Day meets The Truman Show for this woman who wakes up not knowing who or where she is but she needs to escape this gunman who’s out to kill her and everyone else who follows her on her path to escape is simply a spectator.
Technology, as you know, can be seriously helpful and convenient; or, as Black Mirror would have you believe, seriously sinister and insidious. In the age of Tinder and Snapchat and Facebook algorithm that show ads that would appeal to your likes, we are not that far away from ticking clocks on first dates, are we?
In any case, two things are certain: I’m glad that our expiration date – my husband’s and mine – ended on a happy note, and I’ll be tuning into Black Mirror’s new season (whenever that is…the show seems to love keeping audience in suspense) to see its new and perhaps interesting ways of showing how tech manipulates humans.