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.
Nearly every woman and non-binary person I know, married or single, straight or not, has reported a fundamentally negative shift in their relationships with men as a result of the events of this year, be it in pursuing new relationships or engaging with the ones they have.
Frank and Amy’s shared uncertainty about the System——mirrors our own skepticism about our own proto-System, those costly online services whose big promises we must blindly trust to reap romantic success.
I’ll admit, as a single millennial particularly invested in speculative fiction ( and much the targeted audience for an episode like this.
But as the credits rolled, even I was bewildered to find myself not just tearing up, but openly sobbing on my couch, in a manner I’d previously reserved only for .
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.
It gives those of us still dating (and despairing) both the catharsis of recognition, of seeing our most miserable experiences reflected uncannily back to us, and the promise of a better future.
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.
With a Sigur Rós-esque score to rival ’s soul-rending, almost abusive deployment of Album Leaf’s song “The Light,” the tenderness between them is enhanced, their delicate chemistry ever vulnerable to annihilation by algorithm.
5 YEARS, the device reads, before loudly announcing he has “destabilized” the partnership and abruptly recalibrating, sending that duration plummeting, bottoming out at just a few hours.
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.
Among its six episodes, which hit Netflix on Friday, is “Hang the DJ,” a heartbreaking hour that explores the emotional and technological limits of dating apps, and in doing so perfectly captures the modern desperation of trusting algorithms to find us love—and, in fact, of dating in this era at all.(Spoiler alert: major spoilers for the episode “Hang the DJ” follow.)The story follows Frank (Joe Cole) and Amy (Georgina Campbell), millennials navigating an opaque, AI-powered dating program they call “the System.” With disc-like smart devices, or “Coaches,” the antiseptically calculating System leads participants through mandatory relationships of varying durations in an enclosed campus, assuaging doubts with the cool assurance that it’s all for love: every assignment helps provide its algorithm with enough meaningful data to eventually pair you, at 99.8% accuracy, with “your perfect match.”The System designs and facilitates every encounter, from pre-ordering meals to hailing autonomous shuttles that carry each couple to a tiny-house suite, where they must cohabit until their “expiry date,” a predetermined time at which the relationship will end.