When asked to name what is the one quality that make Mr. Robot one of the best television shows right now (and arguably in recent memory), you’re bound to hear plenty of conflicting responses. Also, since you only have to pick one (given that there are so many to choose from), chances are you have a hypothetical gun to your head for this choice.
For most people, it’s the hacking scenes – there’s just something cool and satisfying about a show that portrays its craft so realistically, even though said people obviously couldn’t corroborate the accuracies and technicalities of the hacks. Just the sheer effort behind the scenes to comb through the details and ensure you’re getting it right but still not alienating viewers by making it too much (like typing on a keyboard like you’re actually typing and not just randomly pounding keys for fuck’s sake), is pretty impressive.
Some would say it’s the acting, and that’s a good choice as well. Everyone from top to bottom has done a spectacular job in this category, earning praise and accolades for their performances. You’d probably tip your hat to the music department too, for setting the mood appropriately and the excellently curated score of vintage and current hits that doesn’t look forced. Maybe it’s the cinematography that’s right up there with Breaking Bad and Utopia.
However, if you ask me (and if I have to pick just one), I’ll have to go with the satire. Not only is Elliot and F Society’s credo anchored on it, but the entire show exists to serve as one. And in lieu of that, here are some of the top satirical moments in the show.
You know the show was headed for a collision course with the almighty the moment they had Elliot “The Iconoclast” attending a fellowship meeting habitually – and when it happened, it was one of the most beautiful scenes in the show’s relatively young existence.
Not only did Elliot skewer Jesus, but the concept of organized religion as a whole, expounding on a popular accusation that compares it to an “opium for the weak” as well as the latent hypocrisies.
He didn’t mean to say it out loud, though! Or is that d’oh?
While the show takes potshots at Apple and their “overpriced” and “overrated” iPhone line (see Mobley and Trenton’s first meeting), it’s not letting another manufacturer off the hook. One that’s still hanging on (releasing the Priv a couple of years ago) despite losing a large chunk of ground to its competitors, with even its wrinkly-balled market making a beeline towards Tim Cook. The writers, by way of Elliot, was more than happy to plunge the knife even further, associating Terry Colby’s BlackBerry to a device owned by morons that can’t move on.
Phony heroism and social media rants
In just one minute, Elliot manages to let loose on a variety of topics and persons. Beginning with “counterfeit” heroes like Steve Jobs (hey, did you know that his salary is just 1 dollar?!) and the venerable Lance Armstrong – although Tom Brady and Mel Gibson’s inclusion are a tad tame compared to those guys, and I doubt Bill Cosby even qualifies as a “hero” pre-scandals – but his point stands nonetheless. He then caps it off with how people use social media to project a certain image to amass approval and envy. It’s the perfect scene to introduce viewers to the world of Mr. Robot, encapsulating Elliot’s view of the world and possibly “giving birth” to the name of his rag tag band of hackers.
“Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world”
Not all social commentary is delivered by Elliot, we also have one depressing monologue from Tyrell – this time from the evildoer *excuse me* “corporate” side. Tyrell argues that getting to the top doesn’t require a strong sense of purpose, qualifications or even hard work – all you really need is the will to take. Clearly a shot at the brownnosers at the office, Wall Street guys, or just politics in general.