I’ve been spending the entire day watching Mr. Robot, instead of actually studying or getting some other things done. I specifically have a goal for watching stuff (be it tv shows, anime, or films): and that is to learn from them. If I’m not especially affected by what media I am consuming I don’t want anything to do with it.
Mr. Robot is a show about a man who wants to save the world. He suffers from social anxiety, and is pretty much a nobody: he works as a techie in a cyber-protection business. He hates capitalism and blames money for how trapped people are in their lives. One day he finds a way of taking down the biggest tech conglomerate in town, and in doing so, would essentially liberate people from the leash money has on them. He wants to save the world. Also, he’s schizophrenic, and despite how much I ship him and life, he’s an incredibly (and obviously) unreliable narrator and I kind of don’t like those a lot.
At the end of the day when I was starting to get a bit sick of watching the same thing over and over again (to be fair it is slightly trippy, and in a sense has given me the push to learn more about schizophrenia, like a lot, lot, more) I googled the cast. In particular I was interested in “Trenton” the hijab-clad hacker.
I stumbled across an article in a website that flags certain shows because of how racist they are. Mr. Robot was there. I could see that the portrayal of Asian people, Hispanic people, and Muslims in the show was kind of really shit.
Rami Malik (main character) and Sam Esmail (writer and executive producer) are two Arabs, however. And the show is pretty good. I had only been really paying attention to the treatment Trenton received as the only hijab-clad girl there, but apart from reinforcing a couple stereotypes at first she is (sometimes) her own person.
But Rami (who plays Elliot, a hacker who wants to goddamn save the world damn him), and all the white people that surround him, even goddamn Bill Parker (low-key security guard guy who was the focus of one glorious episode)… they all have a lot more personality.
And immediately after realising this I got this instant reaction of regret. Like, god, I had just spent an entire day on some bullshit show that helped me learn a little about a handful of things (schizophrenia, hacking, that V for Vendetta and Macbeth are pretty awesome stories to rip-off of) and a lot about racist depictions of ethnic minorities in mainstream media.
What a goddamn waste.
But also, not. I have a deeper desire to learn about schizophrenia, considering that’s what one of my main characters in one my stories probably has. Hacking? I just liked seeing the dynamics of it, honestly. Felt like any Hollywood blunder anyhow, so I know not to trust it. And both V for Vendetta and Macbeth play prominent roles in Mr. Robot, which is epic of course.
So perhaps this waste of a day hasn’t been that bad. Perhaps learning a little about this tv show has helped me to learn a lot about myself. Sadly, I’m DNF-ing this show. My innocence has been eradicated; I can no longer watch this show with any interest without focusing on how racist it is.
Props to Mr Robot though. It explores healthy (and non-healthy) gay and lesbian relationships (in a couple of episodes for no longer than twenty minutes at a time), and features a transgender character who we’re told we’re never going to see again, for, like, ten minutes. Bravo.