Thursday, November 29, 2018

"The Oral History of 'San Junipero'"


Charlie Brooker: I thought people would find it more shocking or surprising, that old people had been talking to each other about fucking, but no one ever comments on it.


Laurie Borg (producer): Our biggest challenge was creating period America on a tight budget, so the key decision I made was to film most of the interiors in London and most of the exteriors in Cape Town. I knew we could not afford to film in the U.S., but also knew South Africa could deliver “period” Americana streets and coastlines.


Mackenzie Davis: I loved the very first Yorkie outfit: the pleated khaki shorts and aqua sweater over a pink polo. It still makes me laugh that she could have put together anything for this new self and she chose something that looks like her mom laid it out on her bed the night before a charity golf tournament! But it was authentically her, and there’s something so beautiful about this woman choosing to be authentically herself in this moment of unlimited possibility. The thrill of her identity and her queerness is the event, the reason for all of this, not the opportunity to reinvent her exterior self and sell a coolness that would appeal to anyone else.


Charlie Brooker: I thought we gave some huge clues, but people generally didn’t pick up on them! There’s a moment in Tucker’s when the guy shows Yorkie this arcade driving game, and a car crashes on the screen. She has this horrible visceral reaction because it reminds her of the car crash that paralyzed her. Once you know what’s going on, it makes perfect sense. We even put the noise of a car crash on the soundtrack, so I thought people would immediately go, “Oh, she’s been in a car crash in real life.” But no one ever picks up on it, until maybe a third viewing.

The other big clue was playing the Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma” over a shot of Yorkie. You see, I seem to think that viewers are writing all these small details down! But they’re not. People only notice when a plot doesn’t make sense. It’s good to give the audience a chance to get it, though, because otherwise it might feel like a complete cheat.

In 1996, Yorkie is seen standing near an arcade game called Time Crisis. That was my little video-game joke because at that point you think they’re traveling through time. There’s also House of the Dead further into the future. Of course, a “house of the dead” is essentially what “San Junipero” itself is.


Charlie Brooker: People were worried for Kelly and Yorkie because they’d seen us destroy people in “Playtest” and “Shut Up and Dance.” There’s an extra tension in a totally merciless show like this. That’s why “San Junipero” worked.
Related: "Is She a Lesbian or Just From the Midwest?"