Black Mirror – The Waldo Moment

Black Mirror refers to the switched off TV, laptop and cell phone screens that have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. And reflects the ramifications of our obsessive dependence on these gadgets.

Most of this series can be covered in a few pages itself, but that is exactly how ‘Black Mirror’ stands out from the rest. It’s scary because it is very close to reality and the possible future that humanity will face in the coming years.

Every episode is different from the rest. Not merely by the content of the episodes but the characters, too, are oblivious to the technology or even the world showcased in the other episodes. So every episode shows us something new and out of the box (read hits you in the face).

Let me explain one particular intriguing episode of the series which deeply impacted me – The Waldo Moment.

The Waldo Moment is about a failed cartoonist Jamie who is struggling with his life’s problems. He is a graphics controller/animator for a news channel as his coping mechanism. He controls a cartoon named Waldo which, unlike the pre-programmed cartoons and animations, is a live animation acting on Jamie’s stimulus.

Jamie is expected to criticize and mock every guest that comes on their show. Monroe is a conservative party candidate participating in the upcoming elections, seeking votes as he visits the Waldo Show. As expected, he is ridiculed on the show. The repercussions were in favor of the producers who saw the ratings break through the roof. Blinded with their avarice, the producers of the show ask Jamie to stalk Monroe and annoy him to the best of his ability.

All of this was expected to be done in public places. The episode shows how easily the world can be blinded by those who are popular. And how desperately people wait for some hero who can stand up above the crowd and speak his mind.

Waldo was suggested to start his own political party by the public. The producers loved the idea but Jamie disagreed from the first instance. The producers persuaded him to carry on his act of demeaning the politicians and stand for the elections. Eventually, he gave up and tried to explain to the public how Waldo was nothing more than a cartoon who stood for nothing at all but the public was blinded beyond reconciliation.

As a result Jamie was replaced by the channel’s producer as the voice of Waldo who went on to fight elections and in the future is shown as a dogma in itself. Those who insulted Waldo were punished for blasphemy by the police and guards, such was the influence.

Now most of you who have not lost their faith in humanity (or are living in a cocoon) would disagree with the entire plot and the dangers we are warned about by this episode of Black Mirror, but let me explain it with an example of recent times to prove its relevance. There is a certain leader in India who follows on the path of Mahatma Gandhi and in the year 2011 was at the helm of a nationwide revolution against corruption. His name is Kisan Babu Rao ‘Anna’ Hazare.

What he started was a rebellion against corruption almost similar to the actions of Jamie (behind Waldo) who vehemently dissed all the politicians for being phony. But then a prominent member of Anna Hazare’s campaign and team, suggested formation of a political party and to fight elections. This was very similar to how the producer of Waldo Show suggested Jamie. As both Jamie and Anna Hazare were confident about what they believed in, they refused to go with the flow.

Unfortunately for both of them their brand had grown independent and could very well function without them as well. This is how easily people can be manipulated and how your actions can have repercussions way beyond your control, a classic case of misinterpreted ideologies and motto.

That’s how close to reality this show is, it is scary indeed. The thing that I love about Black Mirror the most is that it is thought provoking to the extent that it leaves you with the excruciating realization of the voids that have developed in our lives because of technology. Unlike other TV shows which, for the major part, are just reassuring us about a utopian world and a brighter tomorrow, Black Mirror does quite the opposite. The Waldo Moment is just one episode of a creatively written TV series, currently in its third season. Clear out your weekend and binge watch

Black Mirror – IMDb

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