3% is a Nextflix series Hunger Games for the adult political enthusiast. In this post-apocalyptic society, nothing matters except your ability to contribute to your society.
3% is the new Netflix original series with the most genetically diverse cast we’ve seen. But this is beyond a political pander in attempt to obtain minority approval. See, its strategically visual storytelling tailors the premise of a society ruled by the meritocracy that splits their dystopian slums from an unseen utopia.
I’ve been finding myself in awkward misunderstandings when I tell people about this amazing series.
“Hey, have you seen 3%?”
Considering it’s a number and a symbol for a title, it’s pretty unorthodox. But the title refers to the select few people in a dystopian society that pass a test called “O Processo”– or “The Process” to make it to a promised-to-be-perfect society called “the offshore.” The only supposed way to pass this test is only through your own merit. Meaning, just passing the test doesn’t mean your family members can join you. Any hereditary influence on the utopian society would mean aristocratic power… or power in the way a King passes unearned social status to his son. This society’s major belief is that the only justified hierarchy is between the state that administers test and the unproven humans. And those placed in state power have been those that passed the Process and are elected by the oligarchs who also passed. Only those with merit even get a shot at being elected to power. There is no middle ground; only pass or fail; you either have merit or you don’t. Each person is tested both on their own individual capabilities and their abilities to problem solve in groups.
A post-apocalyptic setting is suggested as the area around them looks barren yet their technology proves very far ahead of time. The fact that the cast is so genetically diverse yet race, cultural differences, nor pride in past nationhood is even remotely mentioned might mean that the audience is looking at a post-racial society– a civilization where people judge others based on what they can personally do for themselves and civilization. Their capabilities are proven only by their actions and nothing else. Not ancestry, racial history, family lineage, nor looks. Suggesting this visually is some of the most genius writing you could do because it works on the subconsciousness of the audience. If too many people were people ‘looked’ Black or ‘looked’ White, or any particular culture, the audience would subconsciously have their own biases as to the culture of this civilization based on their knowledge of culture as we know it. Writers of 3% don’t want this to feel culturally relatable nor familiar– they want it to feel new and fresh. In having such a genetically diverse cast, 3% feels ethnically ambiguous enough to feel like a struggle of human ability and not a struggle of arbitrary social classes like race or inheritance. This makes sure that–while you might be enjoying that melanin– what’s most important to the story is the idea that everyone is born equally worthless until they prove otherwise through their capability. This brings about ableist undertones seen right at the beginning with a woman that appears to be mentally ill. It makes you wonder if the process made her lose her mind due to her experiences or if her mental illness was what hindered her from passing. Does a person’s experiences determine their intellectual capability or does their intellectual capability determine the experiences they create for themselves. A question of the chicken and the egg.
Even the personalities of each individual are very diverse. From the emotionally ambitious feeler, to the chaotic good, the dictatorial ESTJ, to the introverted individualist that just goes with the flow(my favorite character btw–definitely INTP)… you’ll never see two characters that are just alike. But although all these characters have a focused temperament and some even change their motives, they are still multi dimensionally balanced so that they aren’t too predictable. And yet nothing they do seems outlandish or forced whenever there’s a twist. They each occupy their own space with their own merit. And whenever they overstep boundaries, that’s where the true conflict lies; clashing personalities and constantly changing power dynamics with each part of O Processo. You would think that all of them at the end are very similar. But even as the 3% are all very different in personality… showing that there is no inherited personality that is truly guaranteed to pass. All ‘types’ of people have a chance. And one of the last determining factors of whether or not they’ll make it is almost completely their choice and free will… at a price. Each have merit in different ways, further strengthening the concept of power of individualism within a group of people.
The title starts to make more sense now. 5 people from 5 different languages can read this [show 3%] all in 5 different ways. Numbers and symbols are universal, leaving no room for semantic discourse compared to if they decided to simply title the series “Merito”
I want to go more in depth about how political this thing gets but not enough people have watched this for me to go tossing out spoilers. There’s barely any talk about this amazing series. So I’ll give you guys a week or two to watch the whole thing. And I’ll come back with a follow up video.