Black Mirror Review – The Waldo Moment (SPOILERS!)

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Between this and Doctor Who – The Fearmonger I feel like I’ve gotten an overload of political satire that has become more relevant than it was when it first debuted.

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31 Comments

  1. Main character was likeable…..and that´s it basically for me with this episode! Good luck with White Christmas, THE episode to me that SCARED THE LIVING SHIT out of me with one scene, pretty early on….I hope, you´ll know, what I´m talking about, been making huge circles around that episode ever since……

  2. I get what you´re saying and I agree. Perhaps, if they handed the script to me for another draft, I would have made the guy who initially performs as Waldo and the guy who takes it over from him, brothers! And at the end make the main guy more emotionally devastated! Maybe that could´ve already worked! Because the "love story" clearly went nowhere…

  3. I’ve only seen the first two series of Black Mirror (back when they were first broadcast… not had the time or inclination to catch up on the Netflix series yet) and of the episodes I’ve seen this one is hands down my favourite. It’s disappointing, then, to see that its reputation seems to have been cemented as one of the “lesser” episodes at this point. I hate to pull the national identity card but I do think it probably helps considerably if you have a good working knowledge of the UK electoral system – the way that by-elections always descend into media circuses, the proud tradition of “joke candidates”, etc. In that context it is a lot easier to buy the central premise that a cartoon bear could stand for election and, furthermore, get considerable media coverage as a result.

     

    I also disagree with the idea that the central theme of loss of control doesn’t mesh with the political elements – I think they actually mirror each other quite nicely. Politics is, ultimately, all about control – who gets to pull the levers and make declarations from behind the curtain? The loss of control the comedian experiences over his creation is similar to the prevailing sense in Britain at that time that it truly didn’t matter who we voted for – politics at that time was a charade dominated by career politicians on all sides who had very little to distinguish themselves from one another and all basically offered “more of the same” despite the status quo massively failing huge swathes of the population. We felt like we had no say in how our country was being run. Since then the pendulum has swung quite far (some may say too far) in the other direction, with increasingly polarised main parties and an us vs them mentality which is quite different from the “politicians are all the same” rhetoric that you used to hear from all sides.

  4. I kind of feel like it shows the seeming downfall of humanity towards something like the movie Idiocracy. When voting for our world "leaders" is more of a game. Who can entertain more not who can do the best job. Which is sad and scary.

  5. Great review, really enjoyed it. I pretty much agree with everything you say. There's a good central idea in this episode, but for me it's the one Black Mirror episode where the idea doesn't find the right expression, and even Charlie Brooker agrees with this – I've seen several interviews where he's expressed dissatisfaction with this episode, that's it's one he doesn't feel he got right, that he didn't 'nail'. It's not terrible by any means, but in the context of Black Mirror, it's by far my least favourite.

  6. I must confess to not seeing the artist losing control of his creation, as incidental rather than a main theme. It's rather hard to view this without the prism of recent events. British by-elections tend to have their share of joke candidates, they also appear in other districts for the general election such as Lord Buckethead running against Theresa May in her constituency. However, they are usually ignored as the insignificance they represent. But the manipulation of the media, and the handling of a serious interview were well done, with him attacking the fact he was also looking for an audience. The level of debate, and the descent to personal attacks and emotional appeals were worryingly familiar. Comedians have run in reality, both seriously and to illustrate the absurdities of the system. In the UK, Eddie Izzard ran as a serious candidate (Yeah!), and in the US of course, you have Al Franken. For me, it blurs nicely the line between celebrity and politician, as characters, caricatures or creations themselves. It nicely portrayed the candidates as human and frail, but perhaps has a dash too much attention paid to it following recent events.

  7. Interesting thoughts. Some context: Charlie Brooker has stated that this episode was primarily inspired by Boris Johnson, so there is a specific focus to it's satire beyond a general "politics are messed up" message. However, as you pointed, out the extent to which it's applicable to Trump is chilling and Charlie Brooker has said that he looks on the episode more favourably now as a result; before that he was pretty open in talking about how this was the only episode which he felt he didn't quite nail

  8. Honestly I couldn’t finish this episode when I first watched season 2. I couldn’t get into it like the others. I can’t bring myself to revisit it either because it would be too awkward and depressing for me after this past election.

  9. This was one of my favourite episodes, but maybe it's because of my British perspective. What I've found in watching Black Mirror reviews and reactions is that there's very little consistency in what people like and dislike, which i think is interesting. I think the episodes are generally diverse enough as to appeal differently to different people.

  10. Probably my third least favourite episode behind Arkangel and Nosedive. It just didn't make sense why he turned on her during the campaign just because she said she couldn't see him until after the campaign. He was clearly into her and then he tried to sink her and in the process destroyed the good thing he had going. Does not compute. I also couldn't really see any "warning about over-reliance on technology" lesson to be learned. Is the lesson here that we should be careful about the use of animation?

  11. Just watched the episode before I watched this review … and … I'm disappointed with The Waldo Moment.  At the end I was just left thinking … yeah?  So what?  A major let down when compared to my reaction to White Bear which I watched last night and was very thought provoking.

  12. I saw it when at it release and it's really gave me a strong feelings of fear, of "we don't have to let this happened", it was really a comment about what was going to happen very soon if we didn't wake up. I think it's one of the episodes which was the more emotional to me.

  13. I think as you watched this Episode after the rise of Trump a lot of the impact was lost.

    In British politics you had a lot of bafoonish like characters coming out the cracks at the time it was filmed, who would do and say things that wasn't the usual political double speak.

    This was meant as a warning of the cult of personality, and the dangers that represented within politics. Was was quite prophetic but now underwhelming.

  14. Lots of Americans who I've seen review the episode said that they thought it was "stupid" or they didn't like it, which I find ironic but it also totally makes sense given what ended up happening with their poltical system.

  15. Wait. I'm confused. It was prophetic. The episode about Waldo came out before… those people won their respective elections. The point and theme of this episode would be responsability for me. I took it so be a bit of a commentary on not only politics but also the kind of politics that are so big on looks.

    Here (and today), looks are more important than content. Literally you'd only need a puppet (literally to be controlled by media as a business enterprise) and the voice it speaks can change overnight to say some really dangerous things, because people are choosing their candidates as if a popularity contest. It was especially horrible for me because, in my country, Macri won just a few I think weeks later (this was before Trump) and he was almost a parallel to Waldo. (Not that Trump wasn't a parallel himself, a few months later…)

    But what I mean is, to me it had little to do with a creation that went out of the creator's control, and more to do with people being irresponsible – when voting and when creating this caricaturesque puppet for "comedy". A lot of irresponsibility comes from media's own treatment of Waldo in fact, and the creator's own comes from acting petty over this girl he liked. I will admit I don't think this one story is as reliant on technology to propose a dark future as other episodes. But it's also one of my favorites because you can actually see it happen… and, as you said, it did. And we are the only ones to blame.

  16. In a recent interview, Charlie Brooker said this episode could have been better, he bit off more than he could chew. He said the concept and characters would have benefitted more in a mini-series as opposed to a one off.

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