This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day.
Can Black Mirror's Compromised Teenager Find Inter-Office Romance In 'Shut Up And Dance'?
He's just a bank-robbing pawn, standing in front of his boss, asking her to love him.
Listen up, Black Mirror. It's clear by now that you only exist to make us afraid of the internet, TV, technology in general, and other human beings, but I for one will not allow your steamroller of misanthropy to flatten my optimism. This episode has two adorable kids who would clearly be great together, and I'm going to find a way to pair them up if it's the last thing I do!
Let's start with the young lady, Melissa.
What a catch! She's already worked her way up to middle management in the burgeoning field of fast-casual dining, but she didn't get there by being a slavedriver. When she assigns a task -- like cleaning up the mess left behind by a sloppy pre-schooler -- she's pleasant and sympathetic about it, cognizant of the fact that nobody enjoys wiping up a mixture of strawberry milkshake and "why can't the real Pikachu come to my birthday party" tears, but resolute in her quest to keep the restaurant reasonably free of child-snot. And while she may run a tight ship, Melissa understands that there's nothing to be gained by forcing employees to work while they're sick. Nor is she going to interrogate every single one of them as to whether they're really feeling ill or are merely faking it so they can carry out the whims of a sadistic 4chan troll. No, she'll just send them home to rest up and, if necessary, get some of that horrible nationalized medical care that Mr. Trump has assured me would doom America if we ever made the fatal mistake of adopting it.
Anyway, then there's Kenny. I'm not going to mince words here: this guy does have a little bit of red ink in his ledger, starting with his name. Kenny? He's nineteen years old, and while nobody's going to fault him for still living at home -- London rents make New York and L.A. look downright affordable -- he's certainly old enough to use an adult's name. (Unless he becomes an easy-listening artist, in which case he's eligible to claim the Loggins/Rogers/G. exemption.) But he's a good and conscientious employee, and goodness knows those aren't exactly a dime a dozen these days. He does his job, he's kind to the customers, and unlike some people, he doesn't spend his lunch breaks trading misogynist banter about Facebook photos with his gutter-minded colleagues.
Kenny's a responsible fellow outside of work, too! Here he is faithfully minding his little sister while Mom enjoys the single life...
...and there he goes on his carbon-footprint-reducing bicycle!
The polar ice caps thank you, Kenny!
Of course, sometimes life throws bigger challenges at you than babysitting or table-bussing. Sometimes the ground opens up beneath your feet and sends your entire world into disarray. So what does Kenny do when faced with such trauma? Hide in a corner and cry? Okay, yes, for the first several hours, but after that he bucks up and follows orders! By God, he's a good employee and a good son and he's going to be a good internet meat puppet too. He'll do right by his manipulators, even if that means bending a few of society's so-called rules. (Or, you know, breaking most of his country's actual laws.)
Isn't that the kind of young man you want in your corner, Melissa? The kind who will never give up, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds?
The kind who will go ahead and commit armed robbery because this candy-ass had to chicken out and call dibs on getaway-driver duty? Yeah, that's right! Your Kenny's got some massive cojones -- so massive, in fact, that they occasionally press against his bladder at inopportune times, but hey, sometimes God gives with one hand and squeezes your urethra with the other.
Granted, given the circumstances in which Kenny eventually finds himself, it's going to be somewhere between ten years and five consecutive life sentences before he's available to squire young Melissa to dinner and a movie. On the plus side, I think it's pretty clear that he needs at least that much time to work through some of his thornier issues, which I have carefully avoided mentioning here because, well...shudder. Nonetheless, I have every reason to believe that Kenny can be rehabilitated, and if Melissa is just willing to be an eensy bit patient, this romance could absolutely happen. So, nicely played, Black Mirror, but my faith in humanity will not be broken.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a cake to deliver. Otherwise the world's going to know who really wrote all that steamy Franklin & Bash fanfic.