Snowflake Mountain and the future of Netflix

snowflake mountain He is, depending on your age, location, and political sympathy, either pandering to you or trolling you. His bias is there in the first word of the title, and he’s a favorite of conservatives who view those to their left, especially the young, as being too sensitive. And his hypothesis appears to be tailored to support the worldview of people who are most likely to use snowflake as an insult. Presented as lazy, selfish, and dependent on their parents, ten adults spend time in a wilderness camp (thinking they are on their way to a luxury villa), where two military vets-turned-survival experts have been tasked with flogging them. in shape.

Annoyance about displaying this absurdity would be in the interest of executive producers, reality TV professionals, Cal Turner (UK noviceAnd the undercover headand Joe Harcourt SmithCircle). However, it is useful to understand what snowflake mountain He does it, both on its surface and under it – not just because it transparently benefits from our constant intensification culture warsbut also because this approach says a lot about which direction Netflix might be headed, halfway uncharacteristically bad year of service.

“Snowflake Mountain” cast members Deandra, left, and Rae

Dad’s house

The values ​​declared in the presentation are conservative in a relatively benign sense. Joel Greaves and Matt Tate, survivors who also serve as de facto hosts and Greek chorus, offer a grim vision of the perpetual scapegoat: Kids Today. “There’s a pile of guys who can’t even unload the dishwasher, let alone hold a job,” they lament in a pre-montage, over shots of cast members applying makeup, lounging on sofas, and generally grumbling. what is this General Z Dodging the need for independence is not job training, student debt cancellation, or the same sense of geopolitical and environmental stability enjoyed by the previous two generations; It’s been two weeks in the forest, skinning the deer and maintaining their primitive sewage system. The applicability of such experiments to modern life is not questioned.

But there is more contradiction snowflake mountain He draws between fallen camps and idyllic human specimens Matt and Joel that remain visibly unexplored. While the latter is present as tough, rugged white men (the most rude members of the cast describe them as “two random people who look like they’re from… crocodile hunters [sic]’), the majority of their men are young men of color who hail from big cities. And the show doesn’t let viewers forget it. In one episode halfway through the season, I must have heard the words New York He said it dozens of times. So there are uncomfortable echoes of racial stereotypes in The queen of well-being Vein when Joel complains, early on, that campers “don’t want to earn anything, they just want handouts.”

Matt Tate, left, and Joel Graves

Dad’s house

Meanwhile, the portrayal of the girls as absurd, shallow and materialistic — and two of the boys as androgynous, though the show avoids discussing their sexual orientations — presents an opportunity for viewers to immerse themselves in unacknowledged sexism and homophobia. Nobody makes clear, let alone challenges, the assumption that historically masculine skills like mountain climbing and punching through planks are more beneficial to young men in 2022 than traditionally feminine skills. Especially in the early episodes, cameras stay on campers’ faces as they wail and scream in pain and collapse. It is impossible to enjoy such cheerful sadism unless I imagine that you have sincere contempt for people like these so-called snowflakes.

The series gets nicer as it continues. Despite all the positions the tough guy takes, Matt and Joel gradually reveal themselves with emotional intelligence. Instead of demanding perfection, they praise campers for making serious efforts. By the middle of Season 8, snowflake mountain He began to focus on progress rather than suffering. If the occasional real brat quits — a decision they knew would cost their colleagues $5,000 of a potential $50,000 prize, to be awarded to an outstanding cast member at the end of the experiment — most participants would rise to the occasion. The change in tone serves two purposes: it makes the effectiveness of Matt and Joel’s survival training a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it provides plausible deniability regarding the show’s political biases in the potential event that draw criticism from liberal audiences. Ditto the belated addition of a survival coach, Kat Begney, who only joins the team once the initial race and gender dynamic has been established.

While there are plenty of TV shows with tacitly conservative agendas, I find it difficult to name one outlet less partisan than outright marketed Fox News, from title to tractor This is basically a great camp clip-up, for viewers eager to see young, people of color, and people who read as women suffering at the hands of macho military men. Among other things, this indicates an effort by Netflix to distance itself from accusations of liberal bias – or what Elon Musk, a newly renamed Republican, has described as a “streaming device.”Wake up the mind virus“—which now afflicts the entertainment giant as hardworking as non-political as Disney. When the price of just portraying a queer character in a children’s movie is distorted by far-right activists because of “luringPlatforms desperate to keep these subscribers may have to pay lip service to their extreme worldviews.

The two camps in “Snowflake Mountain” Devon and Solomon

House of Dads/Netflix

And it seems that Netflix can no longer alienate them or anyone else. It’s no coincidence that Musk’s “Mind Awakening Virus” tweet was not in response to any particular show, but rather to newsletter That company’s stock was falling amid a six-figure subscriber loss. After years of content publishing and frenetic international expansion, C Group boasted that its biggest competitors were not other streaming services but Fornite and sleepNetflix is ​​now publicly reckoning with the prospect of hitting a growth cap in the US. “Are we the underdog now?” Bella Bagariathe company’s global head of television, ask out loud In the last keynote speech at the Banff International Media Festival. “That’s great, this is a good place for you.”

Is that it though? By that I mean: how does pivoting on the status of the sporadic underdog go with Netflix’s current strategy of maintaining market share by spending on competing platforms in hopes of attracting the largest possible segment of viewers? Unlike, say, Apple, which can take risks and take risks because TV and movies won’t be its primary source of income, Netflix can thrive, financially, only by being all things to all people. presence of snowflake mountain, with its premise of pandering and dogged bigotry, implied a decision to welcome people offended by values ​​such as inclusivity and compassion into that big tent. As well as the fact that after months of controversy On the mutant jokes in Dave ChappelleStand-up specials, Netflix has chosen not only double drop On its support for Chappelle, but also aerophobic material similarly from Ricky Gervais.

The more audiences you try to please, the more audiences there are that you risk alienating. This is the paradox of the era of political polarization. In other words, quote the title of the historian Howard ZinnBiography, you cannot be neutral on a moving train. Likes spotify When she chose to continue funding Joe RoganPodcast despite promoting misinformation about COVID – a choice Indexes cost From Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and many other famous musicians – the operator is betting on the loyalty of subscribers who signed up years ago, when the service had an entirely different focus and demographic targeting. If the dust on Chappelle is any indication, it’s the next quarterly report, and not the presence or absence of backlash from the audience, that will decide whether we can look forward to more shows like snowflake mountain from Netflix.

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