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S04.E04: Hang the DJ

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3 hours ago, Madding crowd said:

Pretending that a couple is spending an entire year together in a little house seems to have little relevance to a real world situation. I guess I was glad they were matched in the end, but confused as to why their simulated characters would not look like them. Would pierced, Amy feel the same as preppy Amy? I don't know, I just didn't care for this one. 

I think the point was that no matter the externals (pierced vs preppy vs whatever else) they still picked one another. 

As for the time frame, if it's anything like the tech in White Christmas they can speed up the time frame. Frank's year with Debbie Downer could take place in the same time frame as Amy's one night stands. Three weeks for one Cookie could be five minutes for the other.

I'd have to watch again to see if there were any indications but the tech might use something similar to Facebook's "Nearby" feature - maybe all 1000 simulations happened in a few seconds after Frank and Amy's phones both registered them as being in the same place. App finds others nearby, runs 1000 simulations and pops up a pick of the person you're looking for if it finds a match near you. 

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8 hours ago, Princess Sparkle said:

Because of the song playing in the very last scene; it's Panic by The Smiths.  When Frank and Amy match in real life, the lines "Hang the DJ" from the song are playing.

I realize the song is playing with the lyrics. But is there something more than that? Some deeper meaning?

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1 hour ago, 17wheatthins said:

https://www.inverse.com/article/39703-black-mirror-season-4-hang-the-dj-song-the-smiths-panic-tinder

Specifically this paragraph:

Which leads us back to the Smiths. As hundreds of Franks and Amys are beamed up into some kind of computer hub, the camera pulls back to reveal the “real” Amy, in a bar, looking at dating app. This app claims she and Frank have a 98 percent match. The two smile at each other flirtatiously, as the chorus of “Panic” plays in what feels like a contemporary pub. Legend has it that Morrissey and Johnny Marr wrote the lyric “Hang the DJ,” as a protest against a specific DJ named Steve Wright, whom they despised because of his insipid taste and adherence to a kind of corporate approach to music. So, the idea of singing “hang the DJ,” was about rejecting the music being played for you, to think for yourself, to rebel.

The song was written about a specific instance where Wright played a pop tune by Wham! right after reporting on the Chernobyl disaster with the refrain being about the hypocrisy of modern media. Not that Morrissey isn't an ass in his own right but that was the origin of the song. 

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On 1/2/2018 at 8:42 PM, ICantDoThatDave said:

I kinda disagree.  The "copies" weren't that much different from the "copies" in USS Callister, to me.  If Daly in USS Callister hadn't kept their memories of the outside world, is it really any different?   If this couple in Hang the DJ did remember their past lives, is it really any different?  They're still code-people who think they're real.  But they're not, in either case.  They're just lines of code programmed to act in a certain way.

Basically I struggled in USS Callister to see Daly as the bad guy, because I just can't bring myself to see code-people as real, no matter how much they're programmed to think they're real.

A valid point of view that seems to be the majority in the Black Mirror universe(s?) but is under-represented here. The nature of identity / consciousness / humanity / souls has been debated philosophically forever and Black Mirror is just the latest sci-fi to tap into it. 

For me the issue isn't whether they're "real" or not so much as whether they experience what we would recognize as suffering an are incapable of doing anything about it. So in Hang the DJ the reason I'm fine with it is less that they don't remember their past but that it gives them an ending which they seem happy to accept.

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I agree that there are differences between the code-people of this episode, and the code-people of the USS Callister. In The USS Callister, the code-people are definitely people, with full memories, capable of thoughts and feelings and spontaneous actions, whether or not the simulation is running. Here, the code-people have more limited memories, and seem to exist in very limited spaces (we never saw them at their own individual homes, or at work, or doing anything besides swimming in the same empty pool, skipping stones in the same pond, or playing on the same deserted squash court), and if they are genuinely sentient, it is in a more limited capacity, since they seem designed to only have one aspect to their lives and not notice what is missing.

I think the point of this episode is less about the suffering of the code-people in the simulations (though it is certainly about that), and more about the increasing desire of real people to offload anything that is unpleasant or painful onto technology. The app Frank and Amy were using found them a match, but it did so by going through the entire years-long dating process FOR them, until it found them someone for whom they would "hang the DJ" (refuse to dance to someone else's music) and risk their lives to be with. But while real Frank and Amy freed themselves of the inconvenient and painful dating process, they also rejected everything that made their relationship meaningful. Everything their simulations learned by being with the wrong person, or being with many people, the way they dealt with rejection or rough patches, the things they learned about themselves and how they relate to others... all that was nullified with the simulations. Sure, Frank and Amy are compatible, but would they really risk their lives to be together if they didn't have the history that their simulations did? What kind of people will they be now that they have "skipped to the end" of the dating process without really experiencing anything? What kind of world will we live in when the absolute most important decisions in our lives can be made by a computer in moments? How much meaningful human experience will we be willing to sacrifice for convenience? I agree with some that the episode wasn't exactly a thrillride, but I do think Black Mirror is at its best when it poses these sorts of questions and makes you think about the impact that developing technology will have on our world.

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On January 4, 2018 at 9:46 AM, Madding crowd said:

I liked Frank and Amy, but overall thought this episode was kind of dreary. Sometimes I can't quite wrap my mind around the technology. If the simulations existed only in the dating world, and knew nothing about life other than a general list of likes/dislikes, how could the simulations actually help make a match? It seems like this would be no different than the current dating systems of matching people based on hobbies, interests etc. I guess what I am saying is the computer simulation dates could not at all approximate real life, especially when they last for nine months or a year. How would a computer understand that many things could happen to this person in a year: job changes, family members moving or dying, new hobbies, interests etc. 

Pretending that a couple is spending an entire year together in a little house seems to have little relevance to a real world situation. I guess I was glad they were matched in the end, but confused as to why their simulated characters would not look like them. Would pierced, Amy feel the same as preppy Amy? I don't know, I just didn't care for this one. 

 

This is why the simulated people in this episode are very clearly just that, simulations of a dating profile and not close to real people. They did nothing but think about dates and compatibility, nothing about family, jobs or outside interests. And the few times they weren't dating they were working out so as to keep their physical appearance attractive for dating. The whole story that we saw was just 1 out of the 1000 other simulations on a phone dating app that then matched the two protagonists in real life with a 99.8% compatibility rating. 

On December 29, 2017 at 11:34 PM, Miles said:

Wow, at first I wanted to say the ending is bittersweet, but really it's increadibly fucked up. In order to asses compatibility, it creates seemingly perfect copies of people and puts them through shit, only to kill them at the end, a thousand times for each potential pairing.

Two people found their perfect match, but a thousand people suffered and died for it. Wow, that's fucked up.

 

what? This is way off. The computer program did 1000 simulations. What we saw was only 1 of the simulations. What people did it "kill"? The other people that the situations dated had better compatibility with other people. Our 2 protagonists had a 99.8% compatibility rating because they "rebelled" in 998 of the 1000 simulations. In how many simulations did the guy and that dreary year long partner end up together? 0, so they were a 0% compatibility in real life. The whole point of the this was to show 1 simulation of 1000 and then create a compatibility rating. The work of a dating app. That's all. Nobody "died"

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What I didn't get about this episode is why they had to spend time with so many 'people' they had no chemistry with. Of course they'd choose each other when they only got to be with people they had no connection to. The real test of compatibility would be for them to be paired with other 'people' who they clicked with, who's company they enjoyed, who they had great sex with but to still be constantly drawn to each other. It would also have made sense for them to spend lifetimes together. To 'live' through illness, parenthood, job loss, wealth, meeting an attractive co-worker during a tough part of their marriage and still always choose each other. That's the type of compatibility I'd want from a match with that type of system. Not someone who chose me from a selection of vain bores, grumps, meaningless flings and people still obsessed with an ex. 

I know it could be argued that all that happened in some of the other 999 simulations but I'd rather have seen one of those meaningful simulations than one where they each chose the only option with any sort of potential. I also find myself curious about the two scenarios in which they don't choose each other and what sort of match rate they each had with other real partners they were paired with. I'd like to have seen that and then have a coda at the end of the episode to show that their real lives might just be starting on a path toward one of the situations that their relationship would struggle to survive while Mr/Ms 96% is hanging about. A happy ending that still comes with an element of uncertainty. 

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While I didn't care for San Junipero or USS Callister because of the whole plot revolving around simulations instead of real people (well, I enjoyed San Junipero during the time that they were actually real), I did like this one. It's been my favorite so far this season, actually, although there are two still to go, the reason being that I wasn't expected to feel sympathetic to the simulations. They're not treated as real people in this one, they're treated as a tool, which is what virtual NPCs should be. It's a clever idea for a dating app and is awesomely interesting tech. To know beforehand (as I would be more inclined to use a dating app that explained the tech behind the matching- so I assume this app marketed itself honestly) that a simulation of yourself clicked with the simulation of another person to the point that they'd fight to be together seems a much greater basis for success than our own fallible choices based on what another person has (possibly falsely) written up about themselves.

On a side note, the main actress was gorgeous!

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On 12/30/2017 at 2:38 PM, bourbon said:

So, they kept saying that the app had a 99.8% success rate. Then at the end, when they "escaped," it said 1000 couples and 998 rebellions. Does that mean rebellion is the desired outcome? And those two whose celebration Amy and Frank ran into each other at were the two who "failed" when they accepted the outcome? I'm still not getting it 100%. Maybe 99.8%. :)

This show is just so relentlessly bleak that it's nice to have an occasional shot of light. I liked San Junipero all right. I also liked Hated in the Nation and USS Callister, where it was bleak but the bad guys got punished at least. 

I took it as they ran the simulation with Frank and Amy 1,000 times.  998 times they went over the wall together and rebelled. Two of the times they accepted their chosen partners and didn't end up together.

I don't think the other people were real. I took it as Amy and Frank's own bubble universe with other fake people around them - which is why they all froze when they rebelled.

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10 hours ago, LadyArcadia said:

I took it as they ran the simulation with Frank and Amy 1,000 times.  998 times they went over the wall together and rebelled. Two of the times they accepted their chosen partners and didn't end up together.

I don't think the other people were real. I took it as Amy and Frank's own bubble universe with other fake people around them - which is why they all froze when they rebelled.

This exactly. Thank you. I was totally confused by the ending but this and the other comments cleared things up.

I was getting flashbacks of the second Matrix movie with the Architect. Turns out I wasn't that far off!

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On 12/30/2017 at 4:13 PM, Luciano said:

Unlike in some of the other episodes, these aren't copies with their memories (neither of them remember anything from before) and they don't appear to be able to get physically hurt (the taser). It's really just coding with the information given by the real Frank and Amy (likes/dislikes/personalities/etc). The real Amy and real Frank at the end look a bit different style-wise, but I'm betting real Amy likes swimming and real Frank loves to tell jokes.

Right. So you’re the sort of person that makes jokes.

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On 1/4/2018 at 10:52 AM, Princess Sparkle said:

Because of the song playing in the very last scene; it's Panic by The Smiths.  When Frank and Amy match in real life, the lines "Hang the DJ" from the song are playing.

The song is about rebellion. The whole purpose of the app is to see how many simulations you can get to rebel, whatever percentage out of a thousand Frank and Amys rebel is the compatibility percentage of the real life Frank and Amy. I would guess in the real world, these simulations all ran in less than a second, and gave them their results while they stood there in the bar, smiling goofily at each other. One question is, are the other people around them in the simulated world actual couples, or are they the only ones being tested? Maybe they are just other people who signed up for the app. So, Mr. *sip* Aaahhh guy gets to date a lot of other people during his test. Does his time with Amy count for him, or is he just an NPC?

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The episode was OK.  I kind of figured the point would be they choose who they want and forcing them to fight the system proves their love for each other. 

They just seem to be going to the "simulated reality" stories a bit too much.  It was like Star Trek TNG with all the episodes where they are 'caught in a breach of the space time continuum', or some such variation. 

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This one was a pleasant surprise for me, I liked it a lot better than I thought I would from reading the blurb.  I liked the twist ending where the perfect match is actually the one the couple choose out of free will, not what the computer tells them.  I wonder about a couple of things though.  In the case of this simulation, Frank and Amy run off together 998/1000 times, so that's the 99.8%.  So that is the target a couple has to hit?  What if it's 99.4% or 98.7%?  Not perfect enough?  And I also think these people are wholly sentient like the digital clones in U.S.S. Callister, which does raise some moral issues as they only get to exist for this romantic sim and then disappear forever.  I agree in part with the bubble universe theory mentioned above.  Sure, they can run a thousand simulations with Amy and Frank, then a thousand with Amy and someone else, ad nauseam, until they find that 99.8% match.  Or it could really be like a massive multiplayer thing where it is just one gigantic sim that they run a thousand times and find out which couples rebelled with each other 998 of those times.  Whenever a couple rebels, the sim freezes for everyone except them, and when it restarts no one realizes what just happened.  The MMO approach would be a lot more complicated that the bubble universe method though.  But I still think that Amy and Frank are themselves digital copies and not the real couple in the sim.   I remember a comment that Frank and Amy made near the end about how they would just "show up" at the restaurant and not remember how they got there, which proves to me that they are virtual people.  And neither ever mentions their real world lives, and question this world with it's forced computer assigned relationships like it's real and talk about escaping it.  The real them wouldn't see any reason to "escape".  I don't think the real people want to live through a thousand simulations, they just want the end result they're paying for.  Otherwise, why pay for the service?  You can suffer through broken relationships in real life.  The other couples in their bubble universe are there to flesh out the virtual world and to be available as dating/relationship partners, but they are also copies of real world people and occupy their own bubble universes where they go through the thousand simulations to find their match.  The computer simply reuses these people in everyone's separate sims.  On the whole I liked this one a lot, not all Black Mirror episodes have to be dark.

Edited by Dobian
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On 12/30/2017 at 11:38 PM, LittleIggy said:

That was Aethelstan? Wow.

My thoughts exactly.

i did NOT even recognize him ! ( but I DO recognize your username from the Vikings forum :) )

Now I have to go rewatch this one just to see Athelstan.

i didn’t like this episode because I have to think too damn hard about the meaning/ interpretation.

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So interesting concept, that the app can run 1000 simulations in a few minutes to figure out your soul-mate.  Reminded me a bit of Person of Interest, when the machine was running all the various simulations in an instant.

But the app was only limited to others that signed up, right?  What if your real 'soul mate' didn't sign up?  And as others pointed out, what if you don't have a 99.8% soul mate, but only a 99.1% one?  So a few holes there. 

Still, nice to have an episode where tech is used for good, and not abused for a change.

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I didn't really care for this episode for the main storyline I just couldn't buy that people would sign up for that kind of world where all they do is go on dates in some weird comunity where they seem to have no jobs and no family. 

Then with the twist it reminded me too much of The Good Place where in just about every simulation Michael came up as long as Elenor found Chidi she figured it was actually The Bad Place.

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