OK, I know what you’re all thinking. And with a name like that I don’t blame you. Trust me this is more about the world where such a thing happens and you never really get a look at it in a way that would make it one of those things so calm down and listen.
The Year of the Sex Olympics is the tale of a dystopian future written by Nigel Kneale famous for the Quatermass stories (I will get to Quatermas and the Pit a … hmm might be a good one for Halloween). The Sex Olympics are actually a televised event with buildup used to actually put the populous off having sex by making them feel inadequate – the people shown doing it so well that they shouldn’t even bother. And why do they show this? Why it’s for population control. You see a few decades ago, before I was born, there was a genuine concern that advances in technology and health would result in a larger growing population ballooning out of control. This was thoroughly disproved not long after but did result in a very dumb episode of Captain Planet. It’s clear this was made during the time before that though.
Humanity is divided in two, the Hi Drives who are all the smart people running everything and the Low Drives who are all forced in front of TV screens in big groups. From what we can see the High Drives seem to live most their lives just doing things to distract the Low Drives as to how bad things are, using TV… OK this drama was disturbingly prophetic, to the point it’s hard to watch at times. You see a dystopian vision of the future and then often I found myself going “Oh god no, this actually happened” more than once especially near the end.
We see a world so desensitized, so sterile, that things we would find disturbing and sickening ultimately become a source of entertainment to distract those they would rather not deal with and I’m not talking about the Sex Olympics (I am still referring to what happens in the drama though). The problem for them is, the audience just isn’t buzzed by any of the stuff anymore and then a reaction comes in the worst possible way.
Our lead , Nat Mender proposes an idea, a show with no interference from the producers where a family go to live out in the world like in the old days. Yes…. the story has the invention of reality TV… and also in how that went down in the worst ways… this gets really dark and depressing in just how much it mirrors what actually happened. And in the end we see an audience laughing as a man’s life is in ruins, a genuine real life man someone just like them, and the producers all cheer in success as one man the oldest amongst them realizes to his horror, it’s not just the Low Drives that have been living sterile worthless lives, but they themselves too. His proclamations unheard over the cheers and laughter and the promise of another season, another life sacrificed.
This is a dark tale, and one that in many ways came to pass. While the reasons were different, the push for higher viewings through sensationalism turning to the darker elements of entertainment did. People that knew of this drama when they saw Big Brother were agape as the horror Nigel Kneale predicted came true.
“…I ordinarily wouldn’t interrupt something quite this serious or morbid in tone but I’m simply adding on here that Sgathaich is most definitely telling you all the truth regarding the Sex Olympics. It is quite simply one of the most depressing things either of us has ever watched. Nigel Kneale may have been one of the most prophetic authors of all time but DEAR GOD do you wish he wasn’t correct. We ended up having to watch something considerably more cheerful afterwards for the sake of our own sanity. Now…I should make my leave as unobtrusive as possible. Thank you for indulging me.” Nephrite
Kneale had previously adapted the also dystopian future tale 1984 and some people see this as a spiritual successor. I can see that, though the oppression is done in a more subtle way. I can’t stress enough how uncomfortable watching this made me, it’s good but… makes you feel really bad for the direction things are going at times.