Released: 27th December
Seen: 27th December
2020… this year can hurry up and die at any moment. Seriously, the actual year itself could just fall over, scream “Help, I can’t get up” and we can all just kick it to death. Here’s how awful this year was, Charlie Brooker decided to not bother doing a season of his depression porno Black Mirror (which is one of the best shows with one of the best pilots, more pilots should include world leaders having sex with farm animals) because he didn’t want to make us feel even worse. Instead he decided to make a mockumentary titled Death to 2020, very much in the style of his Wipe series where he would comment on the major events of the year and god it feels cathartic to see the year getting the punching it deserves.
Unlike the normal Wipe series, Brooker doesn’t host Death to 2020 but instead has called in several people to play assorted characters, from Hugh Grant playing a historian who occasionally confuses history with episodes of Game of Thrones to Leslie Jones playing a behavioral psychologist AKA bartender to Lisa Kudrow playing Kellyanne Conway, but in a way that’s legally distinct enough that Kellyanne can’t sue.
Death to 2020 utilises talking head interviews about the big events of the year, from the bushfires to covid-19 to that thing the Americans claimed was a democratic process. The special itself lasts a little over an hour and you almost wish it could’ve taken longer to get a few more body blows into the year. Every single line of dialogue was funny, either a laugh out loud gutbuster moment, a shocking “I can’t believe you just said that” or a clever observation that’s perfectly worded in ways only a satirist could come up with… or just getting Samuel Jackson to say ‘fuck’ which is something I will always enjoy because no one says that word as well as he does.
They also aren’t afraid to call out both sides, it’s not a hyper partisan special that’s just constantly taking shots at Trump (though he does get some of the most intense jokes but only because he’s the worst person and deserves it), it also throws down on Biden and on the left in general. Death to 2020 basically hates the entire year and everyone is in the crosshairs this time.
There’s a strange catharsis in seeing all these moments that emotionally destroyed us getting a merciless thrashing by a great satirist and an engaging cast, sometimes so bluntly that it’s confronting. One particularly fascinating character is the soccer mom played by Cristin Milioti who starts off seemingly normal, then you realise she’s been on Facebook too long and is heavily into conspiracies and also is everything you’d describe a Karen to be. Her entire character arc culminates in the final moments where they ask her what she’s learned in 2020 and… well, if you wanted to make the point about how people go from Karen to fascist, this is how you’d do it.
If anything the one person who felt out of place might be the only person playing a real person, that being Tracey Ullman as Queen Elizabeth II… but I also don’t really care how out of place she feels because Tracey Ullman doing the Queen is always incredible and should just be in everything no matter how out of place it can feel.
Death to 2020 is, and I mean this as a compliment, like that feeling after you’ve been constipated for a long, long time and you finally get to use the bathroom. It’s intense, sometimes hard to get through and will bring a tear to your eye but you feel a huge sense of relief afterwards because you got a whole lot of crap out of your system. It’s the sendoff that 2020 needed and now it’s over.
…what the fuck do you mean there’s still 3 days left?