Creeped Out is a Netflix release that really isn’t. I have noticed that Netflix will call something an original series even though they just bought the rights. This show was originally produced by CBBC, explaining why the second episode has very hard to understand British accents. I checked Bruce McDonald’s IMDB and yes…he’s english and wrote for the Eastenders. Eastenders or EastEnders (sp?) is show that I believe is about poor people in London or something…I’m not investigating anymore than that.
I watched the first episode Marti with my girls (7,9). They were quite scared by the opening and one other scene that I will get to later. The show is a lot like the 90s show The Outer Limits. It has a lot of spooky and technology themes that teach a morality or cautionary tale. I was primed to like this show because I loved the Outer Limits and one of the writers is really nice: Melinda Snodgrass (follow her on twitter).
The story opens with Kim. Kim is a pretty girl in high school who none of the boys pay attention to because that actually happens in real life. She has nerdy friend that also is a pariah for no particular reason. Kim is forced to hang out with her loser friend and pine for a boy who looks like Justin Bieber. She gets a new phone and pays for it somehow. This phone is indestructible and self-aware.
The phone’s AI calls himself Marti. Marti is really really creepy. He works autonomously to make Kim popular and succeeds. Kim gets the attention of the cool kids, including Bieber. Just when Bieber is about to go out with her, in true Lifetime MOW fashion, Marti reveals himself to be a jealous psycho boyfriend. He threatens to destroy Kim’s new found popularity unless she agrees to be only his. YIKES. When Kim gets fed up, she tries to destroy the phone, it doesn’t work. Kim tries to call customer service and a woman answer who slowly takes Marti’s side. Then, the voice switched to Marti’s voice and my daughters both screamed. They didn’t understand why fully it was so scary, but I finished the show alone.
Marti blackmails Kim to take him to the prom and she agrees. It’s really creepy. She eventually defeats Marti, but he destroys her popularity. She entombs Marti in cement, but then considers releasing him six months later because she really liked being popular.
The show had a real Outer Limits vibe and played upon human weakness and need to be loved. There’s always been the morality tale of giving up your soul for fame, but this is more basic. Kim wants to be loved and our technology has never made us more isolated from real love. Marti’s popularity is twitter popularity: fake. Marti gave her multiple friendships that were ended as quickly as they began like muting or blocking someone. On the other hand, Kim’s nerdy friend took the good with the bad and continued to love Kim. It spoke to dependence and isolation because of technology and our total dependence upon instant love.