so with Covid-19 still happening and pretty much everyone still in lockdown I thought it would be a fun thing to look into my watchlist of 2020. I wanted to see which TV shows I have seen on Netflix as well as on Amazon Prime. And instead of telling you why they are great or awful I would just give you a list of my must-see’s, nice for background noise, reality tv and something fun.
I ranked my must-see’s in the order I would suggest it to you. All the others are in no particular order. Have you seen any of these TV Shows? Let me know in the comments. I am also always open for suggestion for new TV shows, so hit me up if you know any good ones I might have missed last year.
The internet is a two-faced jerk. It can make us feel loved and precious and hyped up to soaring heights, or it can leave us lonely and hated and at the absolute bottom of a bottomless pit of rage. It has the unique power to universally unite us as people. It has the historically unparalleled power of dividing us and creating problems where there were none before. And the extreme ambivalence I feel when thinking about this two-faced jerk results from the fact that embracing the good side means the acceptance of the bad side. As I open my door wide to the beautiful face of the internet, the ugly face sneaks in behind my back while me and the beautiful face hug it out in the doorway. I invite one face into my house, but both faces come in.
The internet’s good side is its magical power to connect people from all over the world. It enables me to see and hear things from remote cultures that I would otherwise never come in contact with, thus broadening my horizon, forming me into a more complete, more tolerant and educated being.
The internet enables me to share my creativity with others in the hopes of making their day a little bit better. And the very best thing about it is that entire generations can share their experiences with one another, be it through memes, or tweets, or TikToks, sending out into the world the very clear message that we all need to hear: you are not alone.
Especially now, in pandemic times, the internet and its ability to connect us are more important than ever. I know a video call with my friends will never replace their actual presence in my living room, but it offers me something of a reprieve until I can hug them in person again. And seeing my exact experience and feelings summed up in a meme created by someone from the other side of the world on Facebook reminds me, again, that I am not alone in this.
So the internet’s best side brings people together to create something beautiful. However, there is a dangerous downside. The troublesome thing is the reason why people get together, because it can be to share love or creativity, but it can also be in order to unite against someone else and ostracize them.
The internet’s bad side that piggybacks on the good side is the way in which it has changed the way we communicate with one another. It has completely deconstructed the notion of facts, as David Mitchell explained on the Graham Norton Show: thanks to the internet, the truth may never be recognized as such again. There is no certainty of factual evidence on the internet, because the internet has given everybody the chance to share their thoughts on any matter, and the result is an endless web of facts mingled with opinions that are then misunderstood as facts and again mingled with opinions until nobody can actually comprehend what is true and what is not. There is no way to share your thoughts without them being misconstrued by someone else, and that is one of the big downsides to the internet’s ability to give everybody a voice: people think that because they have the opportunity to express their opinion, their opinion is automatically important, and it is not. Your opinion on a subject needs to be informed, or it is completely useless, but this idea of information is rendered more and more obsolete.
The result of this desire to share your thoughts on any subject with anyone simply because the opportunity is there has led to what I would like to call audience entitlement. Everyone obviously is entitled to their thoughts and opinions. Your mind cannot be controlled, it is yours and yours alone. The problematic thing about the internet’s open platform of opinions, however, is that people appear to have developed the feeling that because they have an opinion, it needs to be listened to. And while this feeling of being entitled to an audience in itself might not be inherently problematic, it very much becomes so once it leads to what Joe Rogan once called “recreational outrage.” People become habitually upset about things they read on the internet and, thanks to their audience entitlement, share their outrage and demand it to be taken seriously. If enough people share their outrage about the same thing on social media, their combined outrage is bundled into a shitstorm. And there have been outrages that were completely justified. The internet pools and combines worldwide forces to fight against injustice and that is beautiful. The issue is that it has become habitual, recreational, for people to try and kickstart shitstorms. In the process, we become desensitized to our own outrage and its consequences. And this desensitization is the bad consequence of the beautiful unification of the people.
The bad is created out of the good, then. The question I have come to ask myself is: is the good created out of the bad? Do they condition one another, or is it a one-way street that ends in doom and destruction? I have to admit I am not sure I have a definite answer, but Sam Levinson’s 2018 film Assassination Nation opts for the pessimistic view that yes, it is a one-way street, yes, it does end in doom and destruction, and that is because it is human nature. It is the human way of handling things, and it has been since colonial times, if not before that.
The film uses the analogy of the witch hunt to make this drive to destroy explicit. The city in which the plot takes place is Salem, Massachusetts, which is historically known for the Salem Witch trials, during which women were burnt at the stake or otherwise executed over accusations of witchcraft that the accused failed to disprove. What the film makes clear through the connection created between the history of witch trials and the postmodern process of the online shitstorm is that both kinds of hunts are not about the accused’s actual culpability. They are about scapegoating.
In Assassination Nation, a group of teenaged girls are blamed for a hacker’s leak of personal information that concerns the entire town of Salem. The girls are actually innocent, but once the town has settled on them as the guilty parties, nobody cares to prove or disprove the assumption of their guilt. And as one Salem citizen after another becomes the victim of a shitstorm concerning their private data (now open for the whole world to see), these victims become the perpetrators of a new shitstorm, namely the hunt for witches. As the hunt for the four girls escalates into a massacre, people die, blood is spilt, and Salem becomes a battleground for a war that started online, but has entered the real world. The fascinating thing is that the film takes the idea of the recreational outrage of online shitstorms, which are a safe, sanitized form of hunting someone without ever having to actually face the victims, and places it in the analog world. An execution in the street is an online shitstorm taken to its logical extreme. As such, Assassination Nation is the satirical, over-the-top conclusion to the trend of online outrage. The internet brought us together for us to share love, but the film proposes that it inevitably transforms the world into an assassination nation.
I watched the film because I saw it in Amazon Prime, and I had no fleshed-out expectations; Wikipedia described it as a black comedy thriller, so I might have expected some laughs, but to be quite honest, it was a horror film to me. You can easily read Assassination Nation as a slasher, with the four girls at the center as the final girls and the entire town as the killers. Reading it like that makes the expectations heaved upon girls by patriarchal structures in the postmodern age even more explicit. The most horrific thing, however, must be the fact that these girls are innocent. They have done literally nothing to deserve the town’s persecution, and it does not matter at all. Nothing makes you feel powerless like telling the truth and being called a liar. The girls have the truth on their side, but we live in the age of alternative facts, so really, who cares? Apparently, we don’t want the truth. We just want someone to blame.
As such, I can’t really find humor in the film. It scares me too much. I am aware of its satirical exaggeration in the Tarantino-esque escalation of bloody violence, but it felt too real for me to be satire. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian described the film as “social media revenge porn,” which best describes what Assassination Nation presents to the audience: the consequences of lives lived on social media that then (literally) bleed into the real world. Ultimately, the film seems to suggest that the two forms of life (online and offline) do not mix. The intersection between online and offline is also a one-way street. The real world barely affects the online world, but the online world has massive consequences for the real world.
That being said, I really enjoyed Assassination Nation for its artful inclusion of social media into the medium of film. I always enjoy films that explore the limits of the medium, and the internet is so much a part of our lives that we will cease to exist without it.
I love a good TV Show and especially when I can relate to it with real life. The Bold Type is the perfect show for every woman in her 20s and every post-grad college student. The show centers on three women – Jane, Kat and Sutton. Three friends working at a magazine called Scarlet. It focuses on their work life, their personal life and their dating life. The central focus of the show is their endless love for each other.
Recently Season 4 was made available on Amazon Prime in Germany and I could not wait to see it, I actually finished it within two days. The first season got me hooked but every season since we have some new troubles and fun activities these girls do. And I love that the show deals with problems such as how society presents and reflect female needs and want, and most importantly what young professionals have to face these days. Everything from cheating boyfriends, to working hard for a promotion, to love and miscarriages. It shows life how it is – raw and painful but also full of love and friendship. I personally thought that Suttons storyline in Season 4 was something I could personally relate to a lot, she knows what she wants and she goes after it and most importantly she is so honest about it – I admire honesty like that. Yes, she lost a lot and had to go through a lot, but I truly think that to live your best life you have to live out your truth and not someone else and Sutton does that.
Friendship is probably the topic I identify with the most. I always have been in a closer friendship group of three and I love the dynamic it gives to the friendship. No matter what you do or what you need your friends are there for you and the show displays that. In a matter of fact, they display it as I experience it every day – friends are family and that means even if you haven’t seen them in a while you can always, and I mean always, count on their support and love. I love that the girls support each other through everything but also are always honest when the other person does something that doesn’t align with their views (i.e. Kat “dating” the republican lady). It shows the viewers how it should be – as long as you there for each other and as long as you are honest to each other, everything will work itself out.
“You did not fail, my Jane. You just failed. Sometimes you’re going to fail. That is what it means to be a professional writer. Now go write something else.“
The Bold Type also deals with feminism, cancel culture, and racism. In my opinion some of the most important issues of our time. I love that they always include every side – both men and women, gay or straight, republican or democrat. They show each side of the problem. I love that. It’s informative in so many ways, but most of all it is supportive. And it makes you want to inform yourself even more – we love an education TV show over here.
“Keep bringing your passion, it’s how you’re going to make your mark.”
If you haven’t given the show a watch, do. You’re going to love it. While some of the articles Jane writes might be a little over the top, her approach is always real. And that’s what I take from the show: Be who you want to be and love yourself. But I also take with me that it’s okay to struggle and that your work life and personal life might not always link up with each other, but that you always have to celebrate each victory you have.
“Facing the truth is really important. Ultimately the truth always makes us stronger.“
It is also so interesting to see that while each of the characters are so different, I can identify with each. It is very rare that a show actually makes me feel like I could be friends with them or that I find characteristics in them that I see in myself. While I am very far away from being bold, this show gives me the courage to dare and to dream a little more.
“There isn’t one right way. There are all kinds of love. There’s forbidden love, first love, there’s rekindled love, which can be amazing or terrible depending on whether you’re meant to be together, there’s complicated love, where you’re still trying to figure each other out, and then there’s unconditional love, which it sounds like you have.“