A&E Opinion What's Hot — 31 August 2016

By CJ Peterson

@cjpeterson51

The world is whatever it’s perceive it to be.

And while this may be a freeing and liberating testament, it begs the question of what is factual and what is not.

USA Network’s Golden Globe award winning series, “Mr. Robot”, has captivated its vastly growing audience by manipulating just that: reality.

But while the show that many have declared as the new “Breaking Bad” prides itself on bending the minds of it’s viewers, also tackles an array of real-life issues ranging from personal privacy to mental illness.

“Mr. Robot” is centered around its main character, “Elliot Alderson”, who also doubles as the show’s highly unreliable narrator.

Elliot is what can be categorized as a vigilante hacker. Keeping the internet safe by turning in one online pedophile at time while also working for a cyber-security company, “Allsafe”, which provides security for the world’s largest conglomerate, “E Corp”.

But the real story of “Mr. Robot” lies within Elliot mentally.  

In episode one of season 1, Eliot reveals that he has severe social anxiety making it difficult to talk to those around him.

On top of that that, he also suffers from a severe case of undiagnosed schizophrenia, which is indirectly attributed to mental trauma suffered during his childhood.

The voices heard by Eliot and the people that he sees are figments of his imagination, created in his head to limit the amount of pain that he endures (both mentally and physically at times) .

In other words, it is a coping mechanism developed by his mind.

The show acknowledges that mental illness is a real thing that real people suffer from. Transforming it from a fictional narrative to a socially conscious work of art.

But the social dialog doesn’t stop there.

“Mr. Robot” also discusses personal privacy and just how vulnerable we all are. And by doing so in a very technically-accurate fashion, demonstrates how easy it is for someone to get in.

Credit card information, passwords, usernames, even social security numbers are all things obtainable at the push of a button.

The programs’ staff even consists of several IT specialists who fact check every hack and coding sequence that transpires on the show. After all this is advertised as a tech program.

But personal information isn’t the only thing at risk.

Later in the series, Eliot is recruited to a team of highly skilled coders, known as “F-Society”.

In a collaborative effort, Eliot and F-Society plot to hack “E Corp” and erase all of their data, deleting all mortgages, credit card bills, student loans, and car payments. Essentially eliminating the public’s debt (an idea that many of the show’s fans connect to David Fincher’s film “Fight Club”).

But besides the slight comparison to Fincher’s cult classic, Mr. Robot has utilized an original plot line to become one of the most popular television shows in the country.

Coupled with the socially aware subject matter, Mr. Robot has successfully hacked into hearts and minds of it’s viewers.

Turning itself into a must watch program, presumably for seasons to come, making that the new reality.

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We are the award-winning student newspaper of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.

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