So I finally got around to finishing the first season of Mr. Robot.
It hit pretty close to home. I can relate to Eliot (the main character) quite a bit, even if I'm not that crazy. But an inability to connect with people, leading to a strong digital presence? Oh yes.
I've always idolized hacker culture, even if I was never savvy enough to be part of it. I grew up in techie surroundings; I got my first computer when I was 7 (1990), an 8086 with a whopping 640k of RAM. It ran DOS. You had to know what you were doing to get it to do anything, so lots of tinkering ensued. As I got older, I banded together more and more with the particularly techy folks, but never got beyond a power user really. I knew enough to do what I wanted to do, but as with most things, I never really explored further. I tended to just wait to be shown something.
I remember spending time on ICQ when that was a thing (although apparently it still exists!), and the fun and novelty of talking to people from all over the world. By the end of high school, my friends and I had our own private IRC channel someplace, which remained through my first year of college before I split off from that group. I think that's part of the reason I've been enjoying Hubski so much (even though I've only been here a week)...it feels like online communities used to. I also think it's why I've been so active—I really miss that online place where I fit, and so I have a lot of pent up nostalgia of a sort. I'm not going to think too hard about the extent that I'm trying to find a substitute for real-life connection :).
Anyway, back to the show. As I said, I don't have the level of technical knowledge to do what Eliot does. But the idea of sitting in the dark doing amazing things on a computer as a surrogate for actually connecting with people? Let's just say that I get it. Rami Malek, who plays the lead, is fantastic at doing people that are just a little off. I first saw him in The Pacific, about U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and his character then was ever so slightly unhinged. He does the thousand-yard stare very well. He's great in Mr. Robot too. Crazy in a very different way, but he's totally believable. Christian Slater is the only other actor I recognized, but the whole cast is fantastic.
I did find the main twist to be kind of predictable, and the story isn't 100% plausible. But the characters involved absolutely are, and that's ultimately what matters.