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Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror’s creator, has explicitly stated that the series exists to unsettle, to examine the many ways in which human weakness has inspired and been inspired by modern technology, which has naturally required exploring modern romance.
Since moving the show from the UK's Channel Four to Netflix, his satire has lightened somewhat, offering a few more bittersweet endings like those of last season’s “San Junipero” or “Nosedive,” but “Hang the DJ” is exceptional.
I know that they’re short flings, and they’re just meaningless, so I get really detached.
It’s like I’m not really there.”But then, miraculously, Frank and Amy match again, and this time they agree not to check their expiry date, to savor their time together.
It turns our misery on its head, making our growing suspicion that algorithms may never be able to “solve” the perfectly human inconveniences of partnership without also eliminating human intuition and choice the solution rather than the problem—the app determines compatibility by observing our tendency toward resistance.
It’s smart and even kind to promise those of us trying not to drown that there may be hope for love in such a dystopia as ours—and that that hope can exist somewhere between the 100% human and the 100% mathematical.
In their renewed partnership and blissful cohabitation, we glimpse both those infinitesimal sparks of hope and the relatable moments of digital desperation that keep us renewing accounts or restoring Ok Cupid profiles ad nauseam.
Now take that bone-deep exhaustion and fury and sadness and pile it atop the already soul-deadening experience of swiping through Bumble, or spending countless hours with deeply uninteresting strangers in service of “being open-minded.” It makes the prospect of finding an equitable love, or even a satisfying lust, a laughable unlikelihood.Amy is furious, both are bereft, but fear keeps them on course, off to another montage of hollow, depressing hookups; it isn’t until they’re offered a final goodbye before their “ultimate match” date that they finally decide they’d rather face banishment together than be apart again.But when they escape, the world waiting for them isn’t a desolate wasteland.But again, as one of the first episodes of the Trump/Weinstein era, the story arrives during one of heterosexuality’s lowest polling moments in recent memory.Over the past few months, not a day has passed without yet another reminder of how unsafe it is simply to exist in public with men, working and socializing, let alone seeking out sexual or romantic relationships.