October 26, 2017
There’s this woman who lives in a society in which everyone’s behavior is rated by everyone else — imagine if Facebook and Uber just took control of every aspect of your life, where you could live, who you could socialize with, where you went to school and worked, was entirely predicated by other’s opinions and feelings about you at any given moment.
So this woman who has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 wants to move into a luxury apartment but to qualify for the apartment she has to be a 4.5. After being nice to a bunch of strangers, her numbers don’t budge so she seeks out a ratings consultant who urges her to interact with highly rated people to raise her own average. Woman reaches out to an old childhood friend (and high rater) who invites her to be the maid of honor at her wedding and deliver a speech, and Woman is like, “AWESOME, the wedding will be full of 4.5+ers, they’ll love my speech, and I’ll get me that apartment.”
However, a series of shenanigans and mishaps prevent her from making it to the wedding on time, and her score is lowered in the process. Then, after everything she’s been through, Woman suffers the ultimate indignity when the bride asks the woman not to show up to the wedding and risk lowering her own score. Woman, HELLA PISSED now, does just that: she crashes the wedding and delivers the speech, all the while becoming more and more wildly unhinged. Her rating drops to 0, she’s arrested, and stripped of her rating technology. No longer needing to impress others, our hero is finally set free. Although, ironically, in a prison cell.
Alright, FINE, that’s not what happened in this episode — that was actually a recap of “Nosedive,” the first episode of the third season of Black Mirror (spoiler alert!), but I think we can all agree that the basic ideas are exactly the same. And it came out a year ago. A YEAR AGO.
What actually happened in this dumb ripoff episode is that a delegation from The Orville goes down to this Black Mirror planet to try to save some anthropologists who have gone missing. Once on the planet, John LaMarr humps a statue, infuriating the population, and he is downvoted to dangerous levels. If he receives 10 million downvotes, he’ll be lobotomized. So the crew from the Orville flood the planet’s social media with fake stories and photos of LaMarr to change public opinion and at the last minute he’s saved with only a couple of votes to spare. This demonstrates to some dumb girl from this dumb planet who happened to help the crew out that maybe her dumb planet’s dumb system of pure democracy is dumb and she’s like, “DUMB LESSON LEARNED.”
Besides being a blatant ripoff of a superior episode of television, besides the once again very irritatingly smug attitude the Orville folks take towards other cultures and social norms (despite being boors themselves), besides the point of the episode being something a 5th grader might think is insightful — wait, so we shouldn’t just hand our justice system over to Facebook? — BESIDES ALL OF THAT, the resolution of the problem in the episode is literally: “put fake material on the internet to make people like you.” GREAT LESSON, GUYS. A+++ LESSON.
This show is not good, y’all.
The Orville airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox and I’ll never forgive you guys for this.