Amazing news! I’ve found something that makes the current situation – you know, the pandemic one, the US presidential one, the world on fire one – even worse! Just fractionally, but still worse. It’s called 100 Humans and is on Netflix. While its eight episodes are each 30 to 40 minutes long, they seem to stretch time out like a wire disappearing over the horizon into an infinite beyond.
It’s boring, is what I’m saying. We’re going to be holed up in our homes for the next 10 to 14 weeks while, God willing, the coronavirus peaks and passes, and Netflix has given us what may be the longest, dumbest and – in a crowded field – most worthless reality-experiment-pseudoscience show in history.
The setup is that 100 people who represent a cross-section of American society are put through a selection of nonsensical tests to see if nonsensical theories are validated, or not. If I tell you that the first episode is devoted to determining the secrets of human attraction and that the first experiment is designed to test whether a man being a good dancer is indicative of a high sperm count (which is not and never has been a thing, not even – one suspects – to the host who suggested the test, when his producers shoved the script at him four seconds before they turned on the cameras) then you’ll have some idea of where we’re at. Which is at the bottom of the barrel, scraping furiously with broken-nailed hands and weeping.
While we wait for the dancers’ sperm test results to come back from the lab – and, not that it matters in the slightest, but it’s not a blanket test of all the men in the 100 but a self-selecting sample, so everything is even more utterly pointless than it would otherwise have been – we turn to the pressing question of whether people are more attracted to those in uniform. The answer is yes, no, sorta, maybe, meh.
Is being funny sexy? Does familiarity make you more attractive? Will good looks keep you out of jail? Where did they find the occasional members of the professional scientific community they drag in to mumble about Darwin, peacock’s tails and the halo effect, as they drag each section out far beyond its limit?
The first episode ends with the dance competition among the 10 spunk-producers. It turns out – brace yourselves – that there is no correlation between dancing prowess and the number of gametes your testicles are sheltering at any given moment. Two concepts joined momentarily by a programme-maker on a deadline prove to have no greater connection beyond being an excuse for a dance-off that might hook an audience’s interest long enough for the ratings to register. Astonishing.
Other episodes deal with questions in a manner so asinine and tedious as to add nothing to the sum of human knowledge or entertainment. Whatever point of self-isolation or Covid-19 induced anxiety you’re at, I would advise you not to watch. It will only bore you further and/or fail to distract you sufficiently from your troubles to be in any way worth your while. Regrout the bathroom, rewatch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, colour in the Os in the Bible and live-tweet your progress. Play Cluedo against yourself, memorise pi or have a nap. Because 100 Humans is no good. No good at all.