Every Christmas needs a Grinch. Thankfully, Charlie Brooker has stepped up to take that role. The cynic is exactly what we need to neutralize the nauseating Christmas ads, family shots and general cheer occupying our screens this December. And a whole 90mins of cynicism is enough to keep me going until next year.
Brooker has taken it upon himself to dismantle the concept that Christmas is something to cherish. White Christmas portrays a miserable Christmas dinner with one member (John Hamm) over-enthusiastically forcing convo and the other (Rafe Spall) getting drunk in the corner. A scene I expect to be re-created in every home come December 25th.
The show features a therapy like reveal of how to get to Brooker’s alternative to being on the ‘naughty list’, or hell if you prefer. However this dystopian vision is triggered by the rise of evil, intrusive technology which is, quite frankly, Brooker’s forte. With a comical twist on why Christmas can be a bit shit, sentiment is scattered sporadically through the dark humour. Brooker’s hell is a boring cabin which would fit in in any low budget horror movie.
Black Mirror: White Christmas: C4, Tues 16th Dec: https://t.co/8UqbUankUN
— Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) December 15, 2014
Taking on issues with dark humour
While being light hearted at times it tackles some pretty large issues. Concepts such as being a slave to oneself, blocking people out of your life and mind control are thrown around amongst the festivities. Scenes in which Spall has to watch his daughter grow up from the outside are heartbreaking. However, this is balanced by the happy-go-lucky American humour of Hann. Offering horrible dating advice, which I recommend no one takes on board, he manages to make tinder look like a decent way to meet a somebody.
They’re aware of their darkness “We all laugh at funerals,” shrugs Spall, with Hamm adding: “There’s moments to laugh, and freak out and cry and scream.” When his wife ‘Jen’ read the script, “she came back in, blanched. ‘Jesus, that’s a little dark.’ Merry Christmas!”
However, Brooker added that “there’s nothing in it as bleak as what EastEnders is going to do.” It may not be as bleak, but I know which I’ll be tuning into.
Tune in if: you want to feel better about a Shitty first date and think Amazon’s new Echo smart-home device is creepy.
Black Mirror: White Christmas airs Tuesday 16 December 2014 at 9pm on Channel 4. Have your say on the programme in the comments section below.