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Sorry, Charlie Brooker, it looks like Ross Geller was hip to the concept of San Junipero back in 1999.
In a new crossover ad from Netflix, titled “The One Where Ross Invents San Junipero,” Ross (David Schwimmer) is seen talking to Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) in the iconic Friends apartment.
“By the year 2030, there will be computers that can carry out the same amount of functions as an actual human brain,” explains Ross, recounting a mind-blowing idea from a book he just read. “So, theoretically, you could download your thoughts and memories into this computer and live forever as a machine.”
Though Chandler’s reaction is, naturally, one of feigned interest (“And I just realized I can sleep with my eyes open,” he later adds), what Ross is describing recalls the Emmy-winning “San Junipero” episode of Brooker’s anthology series Black Mirror.
The video cuts to the stars of the Black Mirror episode, Mackenzie Davis and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, dancing to the tune of Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” in San Junipero, where nostalgia therapy allows the sick and elderly to live forever young in an alternate world.
The Friends clips comes from “The One Where Phoebe Runs,” which aired in November of 1999 during the comedy’s sixth season. “San Junipero,” released with the rest of Black Mirror‘s third season on Netflix last October, quickly became a viral and critical hit. The upcoming fourth season is set to premiere later this year.
This is the second crossover stunt Netflix has pulled on behalf of Black Mirror and “San Junipero,” which won Brooker two Emmys for best TV movie and best writing for a TV movie at this year’s awards show. Earlier this summer, for a video stunt promoting the latest season of Orange Is the New Black starring fan-favorites Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) and Taystee Jefferson (Danielle Brooks), Brooker told THR he shipped Netflix the episode’s recognizable neon sign for the video. “We should do more mashups with other shows, that would send the Easter egg people into overdrive,” he said last month of the techno-paranoia anthology’s avid fan base.
Since “San Junipero,” Black Mirror has become a common pop culture reference in TV shows, including Saturday Night Live, The CW’s Riverdale and another Netflix original series, Friends From College.
The Netflix ad directs people to watch both Black Mirror and Friends. The streaming giant acquired all 10 seasons — 236 episodes, totaling 83 hours — of the NBC classic sitcom in 2014.
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