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The Episode 4.2

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The Episode 4.2

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The ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF DEMOCRACY aims not just to promote, but to understand, democracy. Global in its outlook, multifaceted in its purposes, the Mitchell Center seeks to contribute to the ongoing quest for democratic values, ideas, and institutions throughout the world. In THE ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER PODCAST, we interview scholars, journalists, and public thinkers grappling with the challenges facing our democracy. Many of the episodes are linked to our other programming, such as our 2018-19 "Democracy in Trouble?" series, our 2019-20 "Reverberations of Inequality" series, and our ongoing "Capitalism / Socialism / Democracy." Other episodes are one-off interviews with scholars associated with the Mitchell Center -- or with thinkers whose work is central to our effort to understand democracy in all of its complexity.

On this episode of the podcast, we sit down with Beth Bobbitt Director of PR at Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville. The museum has been open since 11/11/11 and has enlightened and engaged over 4.2 Million guests since.

"Nosedive" is the first episode in the third series of the British science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. Michael Schur and Rashida Jones wrote the teleplay for the episode, based on a story by series creator and co-showrunner Charlie Brooker, while Joe Wright acted as director. It premiered on Netflix on 21 October 2016, alongside the rest of the third series. The episode is set in a world where people can rate each other from one to five stars for every interaction they have, which can impact their socioeconomic status. Lacie (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a young woman overly obsessed with her ratings; she finds an opportunity to elevate her ratings greatly and move into a more luxurious residence after being chosen by her popular childhood friend (Alice Eve) as the maid of honour for her wedding.

Under Netflix, the episode was given a much larger budget than the previous episodes of the programme, when it had been under Channel 4. Brooker wrote an outline for the episode, then Schur wrote the former half of the episode and Jones wrote the latter. Production was undertaken in a manner similar to a short film; "Nosedive" was filmed in South Africa, with Seamus McGarvey as director of photography and Joel Collins and James Foster as the production designers. The tone of the episode is less bleak and more comedic than other Black Mirror episodes, with the ending significantly more positive than in episodes of the programme's prior two series.

The episode received mainly positive reviews and is middling in critics' lists of Black Mirror episodes, qualitatively. The pastel visual aesthetics were widely praised, along with Max Richter's soundtrack and Howard's performance. A criticism from several reviewers was the episode's predictability and ending, though the script and comedic undertones were praised by some. Many critics noted the similarity of the episode to real-world app Peeple and China's Social Credit System, along with fictional works about social media with themes of gender and obsession with image. The episode was nominated for several awards, including a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Howard and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for McGarvey. A board game Nosedive, based on the episode, was released in 2018.

"Nosedive" is the first episode of the third series of Black Mirror; all six episodes in this series were released on Netflix simultaneously on 21 October 2016. Brooker says it was selected to be the season premiere "partly to slightly ease people in",[1] at Netflix's recommendation.[2] Alongside "San Junipero", "Nosedive" was first shown in 2016 ahead of its Netflix release at the Toronto International Film Festival.[3] Two days prior to the series' release on Netflix, Brooker hinted that "Nosedive" is "a pastel, playful satire about modern insecurity."[4]

Whilst series one and two of Black Mirror were shown on Channel 4 in the UK, in September 2015 Netflix commissioned the series for 12 episodes (split into two series of six episodes),[5] and in March 2016 it outbid Channel 4 for the rights to distributing the third series, with a bid of $40 million.[6] Due to its move to Netflix, the show had a larger budget than in previous series,[7] which one critic suggests is responsible for the "impressive line-up" that was noted by many reviewers.[8] Another critic called this episode the show's "most ambitious yet";[9] due to its larger episode order, series 3 was also able to vary its genre and tone more than previous series.[10] One reviewer also noted that "Nosedive" contained "only American characters".[3]

In November 2016, to tie in with the episode, Netflix released a tongue-in-cheek app called Rate Me. The app allows users to rate people, by their Twitter handle, and view their own rating and the ratings of others.[11]

Rashida Jones and Michael Schur wrote the episode. Known for comedy and sitcoms, the pair had previously worked together on many shows, including Parks and Recreation, but had never written anything together before "Nosedive".[14] A fan of Brooker's works, Rashida Jones had been in contact with him for a few years beforehand and after the programme's move to Netflix, he suggested that she could write an episode. Schur was also a fan of Black Mirror and Rashida Jones suggested that they could co-write the episode. With Jones and Schur on board, the main character changed from someone focused on playing the ratings system to a people-pleaser, the work presentation was changed to a wedding and the idea of Lacie having a childhood talisman was introduced. Lacie's brother was originally an ex-boyfriend.[2] Schur wrote the first half of the episode (up to Lacie beginning her travel in a rented car), while Rashida Jones wrote the second half, and the two then combined their scripts.[14] In the initial draft, the episode ended with Lacie's work presentation going viral and her achieving fame. The final version of the ending showed Lacie in a jail cell, the rating device removed from her, allowing her to find freedom. An unused idea was that of rage rooms, where characters would go to destroy things to let out their anger.[2]

In 2016, Schur had an account on Twitter but not Facebook or Instagram, as "there's a bunch of strangers talking shit about you in there", and Jones expressed a similarly negative attitude, stating "I do have very strong, very conflicted feelings about rating systems and social media."[14] Brooker notes that "you are rewarded for having a more extreme opinion" on social media; in the episode, as on the internet, almost all ratings given are either one or five stars.[15] Similarly, Schur opines that social media causes people to exaggerate their behaviour, particularly their rudeness.[16] Jones believes that the episode, as with all Black Mirror episodes, "pushes you into the near future", while Schur considers it to be more of a "parallel reality". Brooker has described the episode as "like a cross between Pleasantville and The Truman Show".[13] Jones says the belief that "women are taught to be liked, and men are taught to be powerful", credited to Sheryl Sandberg, is relevant to the episode, with Schur agreeing that Lacie's gender is important to the story,[15] though Schur notes that edited images on social media are causing negative body image issues for men as well.[16]

The episode was the third in series three to be filmed.[2] Joe Wright directed the episode, Seamus McGarvey was director of photography and the production designers, working for VFX company Painting Practice, were Joel Collins[17] and James Foster.[18] The episode was shot in four weeks[19] in Knysna, South Africa,[2] a coastal town five hours (by car) from Cape Town chosen as it felt like an American coastal town.[17][2] Series three episode "San Junipero" was also filmed in South Africa.[17] In an interview with Variety, McGarvey noted that the episode was shot in 4K resolution at the request of Netflix; he said the colour scheme was a mixture of duck-egg blue, "peppermint green" and "strange peach colors", and that props and "even the drinks people are drinking" were chosen with care to create a "sickly pastel feel".[19] Wright said that he made almost no changes to the script's dialogue.[20] Brooker has said that Wright's pastel treatment was a "very strong visual idea that we had not foreseen".[21]

Brooker pointed out that directors of Black Mirror episodes (in this case, Wright) have more "power" than in serialised television shows, as "it is like making a short film", and he said that Wright had "been feeling quite bruised after doing Pan, and [Black Mirror] was a good thing for him to get his teeth into which wasn't the full five-year commitment of a movie".[1] McGarvey had previously worked with Wright.[19] Watching rushes from the filming, Brooker was initially sceptical about Wright's saccharine style, but began to understand it as the filming progressed and the music was added.[21] The scenes in which Lacie is driving utilise a computer-generated landscape designed by Dan May, the episode's art director.[17] She was initially planned to drive through multiple landscapes such as a desert, but this was changed for budget reasons.[2]

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Lacie, the episode's main character. She was suggested by Wright, who auditioned her a decade previously for Atonement.[20] Howard gained 30 pounds (14 kg) for the role, saying in an interview with Marie Claire that body shaming is a "huge part of the subtext of the story".[22] She chose a laugh for Lacie which mixed "fear", "disingenuousness" and "depression".[2] Howard first joined social media during Thanksgiving 2015 and was approached with the treatment of the episode a fortnight later, in December 2015.[22][23] 350c69d7ab



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