I’m at home alone for the next couple of weeks. And while technically I have uni work and general housekeeping to do when I’m not full time on placement, this seemed to me like the perfect time to get stuck into a tv series that my fiancé wouldn’t necessarily watch. So I started watching Mr. Robot (both seasons are on amazon prime). I’m only a couple of episodes in but so far I absolutely love it. And even though the first season came out a couple of years ago, it is so relevant today.
The character of Elliot is so well written. Before I started watching, I’d read a few reviews/articles saying things like “oh, well he’s meant to have social anxiety but he can still do x, y & z and he works in an open plan office so it’s not a good representation and it does no favours to real people with real anxiety, etc. etc.”
I disagree. Completely. I think it’s pretty damn accurate. Anxiety takes many forms, and things that some sufferers simply wouldn’t be able to do are things that others wouldn’t think twice about. For the record, I don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Meeting and having to socialise with people I don’t know is something I really struggle with, and I’d say I’m quite introverted, but it doesn’t really affect my daily doings too much, so I’ve never considered it any sort of problem, it’s just the way I am. Which means I might not be the best person to comment on this, but I’ll offer up my opinion for the pot either way.
So I could really identify with Elliot when he couldn’t walk into Angela’s birthday party. And I really felt for him. The open plan office quibble is, I think, ridiculous. You can’t say that just because you have social anxiety, you wouldn’t be able to work in an open plan office. Some people might struggle, yes. I’m not saying that it would never happen. But it’s not like you have to constantly interact and communicate with all these people, they’re just there. People coming over to you and trying to instigate conversations might pose problems, yes. But that could just as easily happen if you had your own office with people knocking on the door.
And the way the show shows him having a conversation with someone, and then revealing that it never actually happened but was a conversation in his head – I do that all the time! I play out little scenarios in my head of how a conversation will go and then obviously it doesn’t happen anything like how I thought! Or I’ll perfect a contribution to a group conversation in my head, only when I actually pluck up the courage to say it I realise the conversation has moved on and my perfectly constructed response is now utterly irrelevant.
One thing I can’t identify with is how he seems to be ok on the phone. I hate phoning people. People I know, I can just about deal with (though seriously, what’s wrong with a nice text, eh?), but energy suppliers, insurance, hairdressers, takeaways, banks, hotels, restaurants and everyone else – no thanks. But like I said, anxiety takes all forms.
So yeah. I’ve not long got stuck into the series, but so far, I think it’s really good.