Last month, Cazzie David and Elisa Kalani released Eighty-Sixed, an eight-part web series that follows Remi (portrayed by David herself) as she attempts to play a game that has no clear rules, but a definitive end point: simply put, Remi wants to win her breakup.
David shares the screen with her domineering ex-boyfriend — rather, the projections of him that Remi believes to be true. Throughout the series, his “presence” is pervasive, and his supposed perception of Remi post breakup is omnipresent. She tries to anticipate his reactions to the things her friends post online – motivational Facebook posters people believe will cheer Remi up and Snapchat videos of her friends Lily (Kristi Lauren) and Owen (Owen Thiele) sage-ing her room – assuming the responses will be wrought with disapproval and disgust. He is with her when she takes photos with friends at a party as a proving point she is having fun for herself (though she isn’t and she just wants him to think she is, but doesn’t want him to think she’s posting because of him, so she can’t post the photos of her “having fun” because it will look too overt but the photo doesn’t match her friends’ Instagram aesthetics so neither can they so she asks a stranger to post the photo of her and tag her in it. It’s complicated.)
The writing of the series highlights an interesting a contemporary phenomena: that people are easily accessible and as a result, it makes us believe that we know them and are able to gauge their reaction to things based on their digital habits alone. The excessive usage of social media and the angst that is often partnered with it is critiqued a lot throughout the web-series (episodes ranging from two minutes to thirteen), not only through the lens of a young woman forlorn and reeling over her broken relationship, but in the habits of herself, her friends, and the people around her. (My personal favorite scene being David’s character asking one of her friends to get off their phone so she could go on hers, making sure not all of them are on their phones at the same time which would perpetuate the stereotype millennial have been given. It’s a fear I too have had; it’s funny because it’s true). Episodes explore using a finsta to stalk people under a cloak of presumed anonymity and replicating seemingly organic events for a post.
Eighty-Sixed does an excellent job of highlighting the strange habits we’ve grown to accept as part of our everyday life without offering resolution, which I ultimately think is okay. You don’t necessarily have to stop putting things on Snapchat because it’s become something of a cultural extreme, but enough distance to know that life isn’t lived through your phone screen is beneficial to give yourself. Recognizing you cannot anticipate the behavior of others simply because of their online persona is crucial, as is eradicating the notion that we think we know how people will think / feel / react to something before we approach them.
The series is funny, interesting, and #relatable. (…but actually); I’d definitely recommend checking it out! To view Eighty-Sixed, simply click here. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!