[This post contains spoilers about the Black Mirror episode, “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley, Too.”]
Call me dramatic…but Miley Cyrus’s Black Mirror episode, “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley, Too” is a total roller coaster. It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and downright nuts, and it’ll make you rethink everything you think you’ve ever thought about fame. You’ll feel as if your mind has been completely blown…until you realize that it might just be a slightly more extreme version of what happened when Miley hopped on a wrecking ball and showed us that she’s not the sweet, Southern Hannah Montana character we thought she was.
But…it’s not. This episode felt much less like a statement about fame and fandoms and more like a warning about being brainwashed by “positivity.” Sure, Ashley O. initially reminded me of Hannah Montana, but once I thought about it, I realized she had much more of a Jojo Siwa vibe. Don’t believe me? Here are the receipts.
Ashley O. is definitely not Black Mirror’s version of Hannah Montana.
Even as someone who once owned a long blonde Hannah Montana wig (complete with the trademark bangs, obv), I didn’t watch Miley on Black Mirror and feel connected to Rachel the superfan. Sure, I once considered blowing all my babysitting savings on a Daisy Rock guitar to match Miley’s, but I never ventured into full-blown stan status. Hannah Montana didn’t have some powerful message that I latched on to. I was just a 12-year-old who thought a show about a fictional character was kinda funny. And I was really into her flashy style.
In the Black Mirror world, Ashley O. is an actual pop persona, not a fictional character. The fans never see the wig come off, even when she is in an actual coma. Even if Miley Cyrus was able to bring her Disney experience to the role to make this thing so GD juicy,“Rachel, Jack, and Ashley, Too” is a whole different beast.
Ashley O. is pretty much Jojo Siwa.
Black Mirror’s Ashley O. is basically a cult leader disguised as a glittery pop star. Her song lyrics are all about achieving your dreams and loving yourself, and the AI companion, Ashley Too, spews the same message. She preaches positivity until she short-circuits, and most of her fans sip the lavender-branded Kool-Aid even after her true, grungy identity is revealed.
Ashley O.’s TV interview feels like something I’ve already seen before…but not anything Hannah Montana–related. It reminds me of an appearance that 16-year-old pop star Jojo Siwa made on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She rattles off all the products she sells with her face on them just like Ashley O. seamlessly plugs the Ashley Too companion. Jimmy asks Jojo about the positive message she constantly promotes, and it’s not long before she weaves it into a full-blown sales pitch.
“If you’re wearing a Jojo bow, you’re a Siwanator. If you’re a Siwanator, you’re someone who is strong, confident, powerful. You believe in yourself. You believe in everyone, you love everyone, you support everyone,” she says. “Say you’re at school and you don’t have anyone to sit with at lunch. You see there’s a kid wearing a Jojo bow, you know that you can sit with them because they’re a Siwanator.”
In short, Jojo is telling her fans that they can become strong, confident, and powerful if they simply drop $15 on one of her branded hair bows. It’s basically like “don’t have any friends? Just buy my shit, and you’ll have me!” Uh…creepy? And also exactly what happens to Rachel, the girl whose only friend is a piece of Ashley O. merch in Black Mirror.
Black Mirror 6/5 #AshleyToo 💜
A post shared by Ashley O (@mileycyrus) on
The episode’s actually about buying into things to make yourself feel better.
Yes, “Rachel, Jack, and Ashley, Too” tells the story of a tortured pop star who is being used to make tons of money. But that’s just an extra plot line. It’s actually more about mindlessly spending money on merch that is supposed to make you feel like “the best possible version of yourself,” even if it has another person’s face plastered all over it.
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