On Wednesday, Netflix quietly fell snowflake mountain with little publicity leading up to its arrival. And you only have to watch the first 30 seconds of the reality TV series to understand why.
In case you haven’t guessed, the “snowflake” is in there snowflake mountain refers to the pejorative term often used by the right – often preceded by the word “liberal” – to describe someone who is overly sensitive. The eight-episode series follows a group of young adults who are said to be “overly emotional, easily offended and dramatic.” Their parents, with whom they all live, send them into the wilderness where two military veterans teach them survival skills that will somehow translate into maturity and responsibility upon their return. It is later revealed that they are also entering a competition survivorStyle contest with a purse of $50,000.
The show’s authenticity is immediately questioned when we get a brief overview of the cast. They sense that the contestants are either actors or amateurs instructed by the producers to appear overly narcissistic and lazy. For example, a 19-year-old woman named Devon who “parties 24/7” tells us that her only contribution to society is being vegan. A British white man named Liam childishly claims that cleaning “is not for me, honey!” And a black man named Carl tells us while playing basketball that he dropped out of college with no further information about his life.
In total, snowflake mountain has a familiar early-to-mid 2000s Fox sensibility to its subject matter, mixed with the kind of overtly zany tone of other Netflix programs like The floor is lava and is it cake The series lacks the stakes it’s trying to establish given how obviously everything is scripted. And the challenges are as engaging as watching your neighbor chop down a tree, which is literally one of their chores. (Though there’s one particularly shocking, unabashed scene where Devon, the vegan, has to butcher a deer carcass).
The cast’s portrayals become more tolerable over time, treating them less like one-dimensional caricatures and more like recognizable people with backstories. Meanwhile, survival experts Matt and Joel, a former Army combat engineer and former Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician respectively, intentionally disarm and are accessible to convey a message that people who make a living from mass destruction are in are actually harmless. towards the end snowflake mountainThey recognize that it conveys the same centrist message as Netflix’s Emmy-winning original series strange eyeonly this time for progressive, urban millennials and gen-zers.
At a time when Netflix’s shares are plummeting due to a huge loss of subscribers this year, which is only expected to get worse, snowflake mountain reads as the streaming service’s desperate attempt to bring conservative viewers to justice who may not see themselves represented in their current program listings. Netflix has already taken a right-wing stance in our current culture clash by allowing transphobic comedians to thrive on its platform. So why not invite bigoted subscribers to poke fun at a decidedly diverse group of young people who have been introduced in the most stereotypical of ways?
“Netflix has already taken a right-wing stance in our current culture clash by allowing transphobic comedians to thrive on its platform. So why not invite bigoted subscribers to poke fun at a decidedly diverse group of young people who have been introduced in the most stereotypical of ways?”
One can imagine Netflix execs defending themselves snowflake mountain by claiming it pokes fun at young people in general, as opposed to the black and queer people cast on the show. But viewers who are already making uninformed generalizations about younger generations — like the notion that they’re too sensitive and economically privileged not to work — and earnestly use the term “snowflake” typically have bigoted views of the demographics featured in The Series. Even as the show becomes more grounded and likable, it has already done the work to validate any prejudice conservative viewers might have towards black women and gay men, for example.
All in all, snowflake mountain is another example of Netflix happily applauding itself for having progressive values and embracing diversity, and wanting it both ways. It’s also another reminder that tech companies, especially ones as big as Netflix, don’t actually have any morals, and we shouldn’t really trust them to have one. If her latest reality series is a hit, we should only expect more of this kind of boot-licking, conservative trash in the future.