Me, to myself: “Wait, seriously? I’ve never written anything about San Junipero?”
Me, checks my archives. “Nope.”
Me: “Seriously? Never?!”
Me: “Apart from bending everyone’s ear about it and repeatedly watching it with your wife, nope, but it’s Valentine’s Day and you already wrote about HARLEY QUINN so hey, you be you.”
Obviously, the show BLACK MIRROR has become shorthand for dystopian anthology nightmare fuel, and rightly so. It’s intentionally subversive in all of the well-meaning ways, but also usually in very off-putting ways. The show literally kicked off with the prime minister fucking a pig, which ended up being more truth than fiction somehow.
However, San Junipero is something different, and something I’ve desperately missed with speculative fiction. I’m old enough to feel terribly beaten down by the world for so many goddamn reasons. I often just want a few creature comforts. I’ve had too much of the unrelenting misery porn of the past 15+ years of what passes as ‘high-concept melodrama’. At least THE SOPRANOS had its moments of levity as opposed to say, the nihilism of THE WALKING DEAD. (At least THE LAST OF US has a lot of dad jokes, but those are all penned by fathers inserting words into daughter figures so …yeah.)
San Junipero delivers all of the goods: it’s a very sweet meet-cute, it’s an adorable and safe and welcoming queer story, and it’s a sweeping romance that goes through ages that also manages to be wildly sci-fi.
It has everything and delivers it in under a goddamn hour and it is amazing, but it’s also astounding because it’s literally the story of someone finding a safe space, and finding accepting (and sometimes loving) arms.
I’ve written briefly about this before, but I cannot underscore it enough: find a space where you feel comfortable. Surround yourself by folks who don’t judge you, folks you can talk to. Find a loving partner that accepts you. If you can, move somewhere that is explicitly know for being accepting.
San Junipero espouses all of that and does so in a vividly entertaining way! It’s all about misfits reaching out, helping each other, moving on, but also being in the same orbit, and it scarily mirrors parts of my club-centric youth.
It is a surprisingly hopeful and non-traumatizing depiction of a long-lasting relationship, and the goddamn episode makes me glow every time I watch it. It’s emblematic of just wanting the best for your protagonists, your favs, those you muse over, and also yourself, and they get a proper and heartfelt ending.
It is legitimately one of my favorite pieces of media in years, and again, I can’t believe I haven’t penned hundreds of words about it already, but here we are.
OH! And goddamn, the needle drops! Best use of “Heaven is a Place on Earth” ever. Just watch it already. I’ll shut up now.