On Wednesday, Netflix fell quietly Snowflake Mountain with a little promotion in the run-up to its arrival. And it only takes watching the first 30 seconds of the reality TV series to understand why.
If you had not already guessed, then the “snowflake” is in Snowflake Mountain refers to the derogatory term widely used by the right wing – and often begins with the word “liberal” – to describe a person who is overly sensitive. The eight-episode series follows a group of young adults who are allegedly “overly emotional, easily offended and dramatic.” Their parents, with whom they all still live, send them to the desert, where two military veterans teach them survival skills that will somehow be transferred to maturity and responsibility when they return home. Later it is revealed that they are also competing in one Survivor-style competition for a prize of $ 50,000.
The authenticity of the show is immediately in doubt as we get a brief overview of the cast. You sense that the participants are either actors or non-professionals who were instructed to appear overly narcissistic and lazy by producers. For example, a 19-year-old woman named Devon, who “parties 24/7”, says her only contribution to society is being vegan. A British white guy 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.
Overall, Snowflake Mountain has a well-known Fox sensibility from the early to mid-2000s on the subject, mixed with that kind of obviously crazy tone from other Netflix shows like e.g. The floor is lava and Is it cake? The series lacks the stakes it tries to establish given how overtly scripted it all feels. And the challenges are as daunting as watching your neighbor cut down a tree, which is literally one of their tasks. (Although there is a particularly shocking, unshakable scene where the vegan Devon has to slaughter a deer carcass).
The portrayals of the cast become more bearable over time, treating them less like one-dimensional caricatures and more like recognizable people with background stories. Meanwhile, the survival experts, Matt and Joel, a former Army Engineer and a former Navy explosives technician, respectively, are deliberately disarming and accommodating to claim a message that people committing mass destruction for their livelihoods are actually harmless. Towards the end of Snowflake Mountainyou realize that it delivers the same centered messages from Netflix’s Emmy-winning original series Queer Eyeonly this time aimed at progressive, urban millennials and Gen-Zere.
At a time when Netflix stock is plummeting due to a huge loss of subscribers this year, which is only expected to get worse, Snowflake Mountain read as a desperate attempt by the streaming service to judge conservative viewers who may not see themselves represented in their current program list. Netflix has already taken a right-wing stance in our current culture war by letting transphobic comedians thrive on its platform, so why not invite bigoty subscribers to mock a decidedly diverse group of young people introduced in the most stereotypical way?
“Netflix has already taken a right-wing stance in our current culture war by letting transphobic comedians thrive on its platform, so why not invite bigoty subscribers to mock a decidedly diverse group of young people introduced in the most stereotypical way?”
One can imagine Netflix executives defending Snowflake Mountain by claiming that it makes fun of young people broadly as opposed to the colored and queer people who are on the show. But viewers who already come up with uninformed generalizations about younger generations – like the idea that they do not work, are too sensitive and are financially privileged – and seriously use the term “snowflakes”, typically have great views on the demographics shown in the series . Although the show is getting more grounded and sympathetic, it has already done its job of confirming any biases conservative viewers may have of, for example, black women and gay men.
Overall, Snowflake Mountain is another example of Netflix that likes to applaud itself for having progressive values and embracing diversity, and wants to have it both ways. It’s also another reminder that technology companies, especially those as big as Netflix, do not actually have morals, and we should not really make sure they have any. If their latest reality series is a success, we should only expect more of this kind of boot-licking, conservative garbage in the future.