netflix is a joke

Netflix continues to court coveted “bigot” demo with pandering reality series ‘Snowflake Mountain’

Photo Credit: Pete Dadds, Netflix

Oh, Netflix, you’ve really stepped in it again.

Perhaps you hadn’t heard, but, earlier this week, the flailing streamer launched a new “reality” competition series called Snowflake Mountain, which purports to trick 10 entitled young adults into attending a wilderness camp where they’re stripped of their privileges and whipped into shape by a pair of “survival experts.”

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Right off the bat, the show telegraphs what it wants us to think of its cast: That they’re a joke. In its opening minutes, we’re introduced to our “snowflakes”—who are largely people of color and/or queer individuals—and they’re shown to be whiny, lazy, overly sensitive, self-centered, and even *gasp* vegan.

The cast of Snowflake Mountain. Photo Credit: Pete Dadds, Netflix

As Snowflake Mountain wants us to believe, these people have become such a burden to their families (naturally, they all still live home), that their parents duped them into attending a survival school boot camp, which will apparently teach them to grow up, be more responsible, and…. not be such a snowflake.

For some reason, the whole thing is presided over by two random dudes named Matt and Joel. They tout their military experiences and bemoan a generation of people who “can’t even unload a dishwasher, let alone hold down a job.” Sure, they’re congenial enough, but it’s never remotely apparent why they’re the two in charge, and we’re certainly not sure why they think learning how to chop down a tree or skin a deer is going to help these individuals hold a job in the real world. Or even unload a dishwasher for that matter!

Snowflake Mountain’s Matt and Joel. Photo Credit: Pete Dadds, Netflix

The fact that the series dropped with little fanfare or promotion from Netflix should tell you all you need to know—they’re aware of what they’re doing. Coming from reality television veterans Cal Turner (Undercover Boss) and Jo Harcourt-Smith (The Circle), some might argue that Snowflake Mountain is just another silly and innocuous offering from the streamer, like this year’s much more charming Is It Cake? But it’s hard to overlook the way in which the show ushers in right-wing rhetoric and conservative talking points.

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Once you get past the “snowflake” of its title (which the series defines as a “modern phenomenon”) you’ll find that the show dabbles in harmful stereotypes of all varieties. Many of the young women in the cast are depicted as arrogant and materialistic, and some of the more effeminate men are painted as incompetent when tasked with manual labor. The entire cast leans so far into caricature that one has to wonder if these are hired actors, or at least real people who were nevertheless instructed be overly obnoxious and helpless in front of the camera.

Photo Credit: Pete Dadds, Netflix

As the show goes on, these rigid depictions of “the youth” do loosen up, and many cast members—hosts Matt and Joel included—are given space to prove they are fully dimensional human beings, but the damage has already been done. Even if it does ultimately land on a more centrist message, there’s an agenda at play here on Snowflake Mountain, and it’s clear that Netflix’s mission to appeal to as broad an audience as possible is backfiring.

In a year where the streamer has made headlines for giving a platform to transphobic excuses for comedy, a series like Snowflake Mountain only further proves that they’re actively making space for an “anti-woke” audience, that they want to pander to bigots who fear a future that’s more open-minded and inclusive.

Related: Russia’s new reality show takes homophobia to a weird new level

Meanwhile, Netflix is eager to take to social media to tout the success landmark LGBTQ stories like Heartstopper, which just looks hypocritical when you realize that Snowflake Mountain is the kind of cheap, mean-spirited, prejudiced drivel they’re willing to put their resources behind.

Snowflake Mountain is streaming now on Netflix, though we can’t recommend you engage with it, lest the streamer thinks this is the type of content people actually want to see. As an alternative, this series trailer should tell you all you need to know.

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