COMMENT: 100 Humans hits pretty hard and at the very least is an opportunity for us all to feel less alone, writes Siena Yates.
It's a strange thing that at this moment, we're simultaneously more isolated and more connected than ever before.
While Covid-19 might be keeping us all indoors and self-isolating, it's also reminded us that we're all in this together, no matter where we're from, what we look like or what we believe.
Which is why my latest binge-obsession, 100 Humans, has come at exactly the right time.
The Netflix series is perfect fodder while we're all isolating, if for no other reason than we've all suddenly got a lot more time on our hands and are turning to Netflix to keep us busy.
But more than that, it gives us an insight into humanity, what makes us tick and why, through a series of pseudo-scientific and social experiments conducted on 100 volunteers of all races, religions, sexualities, sizes and genders from across the United States.
It has - like any Netflix show - been divisive, but the trick to 100 Humans is not to take it too seriously.
I haven't studied science since I was 13 so I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it's safe to say there's very little actual science involved here. Hell, one of the first "experiments" we see is designed to see if there's a link between a man's dance skills and his sperm count based purely on the idea that we think men who dance well are sexier. What I'm saying is, if you're here for science, data and definitive answers, then please move on. But if you're here for a distraction and a bit of light-hearted insight into human behaviour, then 100 Humans is as good a self-isolation binge as any.
It's unlikely you'll learn any facts, but you will learn how your opinions, preferences and actions align with a pretty representative group of people. We're talking anything as dumb as which way the toilet paper roll should sit, to things as important as racial bias and how we treat people based on their level of conventional beauty.
By far the best episode of the series is the one on physical bias, in which the volunteers - called "the humans" - are tested on how they react to people who are older, fatter, tattooed or of a different colour.
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One experiment asked the humans to question six people and put them together to create three couples. All but one of the humans simply assumed all the couples were straight, male/female couples. Spoiler alert: Only one couple was.
Another - and probably the most important one of the whole series - took the humans into a shooting gallery to test their racial bias.
The humans were given "guns" and then actors of different ethnicities would step out from behind barriers holding either a gun or a cellphone and the humans had to make a knee-jerk decision on which to shoot.
The idea was obviously to only shoot the people with guns, but the real test was actually focused on two particular actors, who both stepped out holding cellphones. One was black, the other white.
Twice as many of the humans chose to shoot the black man than the white - even when the actors switched positions and even though the black man was someone the humans all knew.
It's important stuff… until it's not. This is the kind of show that can have an important political moment, but then also ask questions like "Is there a right way to use the toilet?" in a way which makes you feel like even the creators didn't know whether to take any of it seriously or not.
The only redeeming factor in terms of any meaningful results is that they interview experts who can confirm or deny the findings of their experiments.
In terms of entertainment value, it's safe to say there are more misses than hits as far as the experiments go. With the show itself, the episodes often drag on, the voiceovers can get super cringe-worthy and more often than not, I found myself fast-forwarding through a lot of it to get to the end results.
However, when it does hit the mark, 100 Humans hits pretty hard, and while you won't get definitive facts or answers from it, it is somewhat representative of common behaviour and is at the very least an opportunity for us all to feel less alone.
Whether you want to see gay couples represented, white bias addressed head-on or someone talking about how to wipe after peeing when they have genital piercings, there's a watercooler moment for everyone.
One of the humans summed it up in a way that's surprisingly poignant for these times:
"Being around 100 strangers that I would never normally interact with made me realise how often I just walk past these people in the street or see them in a grocery store, but they're just like me and we're not alone in life."
Whether we bond over a global pandemic, a Netflix streaming party or putting the toilet roll in the over position (ie. the correct way - don't @ me), it's just a reminder that we're all human.