Though the pastel-blasted setting of this episode won't feel familiar, its subject matter should. Reputation-based apps like Uber and Peeple, dubbed "Yelp for People," are already here. And Ryan's tirade might call to mind the dramatic internet exit of Essena O'Neill, the former Australian model who made headlines last year for deleting and skewering her main social accounts.
"I've spent [the] majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance," wrote O'Neill last October. Social media's current structure relies on "contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement."
That orchestration consumes Lacie and Naomi, because in their world, almost everyone is a public figure, trying to quantify and bolster their reputation. Proponents of such approval, like Naomi, might say, Hey, my score holds me accountable for my actions and encourages me to be my best self. But opponents, like Ryan, would have to counter: It turns you into a fake PR robot, one who's obsessed with image and who bases relationships solely on the potential for personal gain.
"Nosedive" favors the latter stance and, as Lacie plummets from near perfection to an ironic freedom, shows why striving to be that picture-perfect robot can be so unrewarding.