Nosedive: An In-Depth Analysis of Being Voted Down In Life

Nosedive: An In-Depth Analysis of Being Voted Down In Life

Imagine living in a world where you rated every single action you do. And I know, that is already realistic, but what if you were literally rated? What if when you accidentally run into someone coming out the elevator they turn around, swipe out there fine and give you one star? And what if this rating decided where you are in life? Meaning you can’t live in a certain house, not because you don’t have the money, (a whole other issue) but because you aren’t rated highly enough.

Black Mirror is a show that takes “what ifs” and carries them out to the extreme. Nosedive is an episode of the TV show Black Mirror where this society is real. In this society, your social status quite literally decides where you are in life. If you are well-liked and have a high rating you can move up in your career, living in fancier houses and have access to exclusive things that you never would with low ratings. The complete opposite is possible when you have a low rating. You may lose your job, and your house, be isolated from society and even be restricted from driving certain vehicles or boarding public transportation.

Black Mirror is one of my favorite TV shows and while Nosedive isn’t my favorite episode it’s definitely the one that lingers in my brain more often. Recently, after taking a psychology and sociology class back to back, I’ve been looking at everything from a different point of view. After rewatching Black Mirror for the millionth time, I’ve decided to do a breakdown of some episodes.

If not for anyone else, then for me, so I can stop psychoanalyzing everything in my head and free my mind.

Lacie is the main character in this episode. In the beginning, she is the perfect model citizen. Overly polite, perfectly confirmative. The only time she truly acts like herself is with her brother. Lacie is trying to move out of the house she shares with him but it is too expensive. However, there is a 20 percent discount to those with a 4.5. She begins to overly actively try to increase her rating since the house won’t be available to her for long. As the story goes on she begins to unravel and “lose control” of her perfectly balanced character.

Throughout the episode many sociology and psychology concepts appear. The strongest ones fall under deviance, culture, social norms, development, and emotion. This society’s culture encourages politeness and conformity. It is designed for people who know how to keep quiet, nod their head, and listen to succeed while dramatically leaving those who even dare to talk a little louder out in the dirt. 

There is a moment in the episode, when Lacie is looking for an adapter for her car to work. She talks to a worker at the gas station and afterward, he only gives her two stars. He then says it’s because “it wasn’t a meaningful encounter.” Every rating you get affects your score. Even though he didn’t think much of it, Lacie scores dips lower, simultaneously affecting everything she has in her life. This is a bit comedic, because if someone were to express how they truly feel they would also get voted down.

Although the norm in this society is that being polite and kind will keep you afloat, people still value genuine conversations. If they feel like you aren’t being real or the encounter didn’t mean much you will get a low rating. Aside from the actual rating part, this ties into today’s society. On the train, you are expected to be calm and mind your business. Any deviation from this norm will be met with stares and whispers about how weird or crazy you are. 

Deviance is a big theme in this episode as well. When Lacie learns that her flight has been canceled and she can’t board a different flight that is exclusive to 4.2 stars, which she can’t board because she is a 4.1, she starts to get upset. This causes all the people to immediately vote for her one star, ruining her chances of boarding any flight altogether. Before this, she had gotten downrated for simply holding up the line due to the situation. Any violation of the social norms set in this society can drastically ruin your life. 

This is not a big difference from the modern day. You are expected to keep your voice down in public settings, respect other people’s personal space, and don’t be too energetic. Even a child sitting down during the pledge of allegiance will cause a big situation. In their most basic form, these aren’t terrible concepts but the fact that people are so quick to label someone based on one action is sad and unfortunate. 

Black Mirror is a TV show that takes social norms and values of today and exaggerates them. It is very interesting to see how quickly things get dark when we truly indulge in certain values. Although this is a fictional universe this is exactly what is happening today.

Strengthened by the faith in religion, there is currently a panic spread across America because abortion rights are about to be overturned. The argument has been ignited for some time now- whether killing a fetus is murdering a life or not. The pro-life side is fueled by Christians and religious followers who believe it’s a life that is being killed,and in the Bible, killing a life is a sin. Apparently, this is being tracked all the way to the Supreme Court and soon the government will have a say in what a woman chooses to do with her body.

The show may be fake but it does mirror reality, hence the name Black Mirror. As creator Charlie Brooker said about the next season of the show, the world isn’t ready for this yet.

“At the moment, I don’t know what stomach there would be for stories about societies falling apart, so I’m not working away on any one of those [‘Black Mirror’ episodes].”