There are certain television shows and movies that are extremely Spartan-esque. Think 300. Rocky. Survivor.
Then there are movies and shows that are decidedly un-Spartan. The Real Housewives. Man v. Food. Jersey Shore.
A new show on Netflix fits in the latter category, though there is a Spartan-like twist that makes it intriguing and very much on brand.
Snowflake Mountain, a new eight-episode reality series that premiered on the streaming service on June 22, features 10 entitled 20-somethings who struggle to hold down jobs, still live with their parents, and spend their nights partying. As Netflix describes them in the show's trailer, they are "overly emotional, easily offended, and dramatic." In other words, they are about as un-Spartan as it gets.
Initially told that they were heading to a luxury resort for an all-expenses-paid party, they were instead taken to North West England's Lake District, where they were informed that they would have to test their mettle in the wilderness.
The goal? Teach them responsibility and discipline, get them out of their comfort zones (and their parents' houses), toughen them up, and finally get them to grow up. The winner of the competition is awarded $50,000 at the conclusion of the expedition.
Over the course of the series, former U.S. Army combat engineer Matt Tate and former U.S. Navy explosive ordinance disposal operator Joel Graves puts them through a variety of challenges, including swimming in freezing water (which Spartans know all about) and getting food from a floating raft. They're armed with limited supplies — which devastated one contestant, Deandra, who swears that she can't live without her makeup — and have to live off the land, sleeping in tents and fending off spiders.
If these challenges don't sound too daunting to you — and we imagine they don't — you will understand when you see the contestants, and their firm resistance and disgust to doing anything remotely hard.
“I hate walking," said 23-year-old Randy, an aspiring pro wrestler, according to the New York Post. "I try to avoid it at all costs. I don’t even know if I’ve walked up a hill before.”
Deandra, the 24-year-old makeup artist, complained that Tate and Graves were way too harsh, and she didn't appreciate it.
“I thought that they were super mean,” she said, according to the Post. “I struggle with listening to authority. That’s been my whole life. I’m not a fan of rules. If somebody tells me not to do something, I’m going to purposefully do it, and then take a picture.”
Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena, whose mission in life to get people off their asses and doing hard shit, was predictably apoplectic upon hearing of the cast of characters, and their reluctance to anything remotely difficult and unfamiliar.
"Being a 'snowflake' should not be celebrated," De Sena said. "Our society is losing a sense of what we should be doing for our children."
Thankfully, and importantly, this show doesn't appear to be celebrating the "snowflake" attitude and persona. On the contrary, it's calling it out for what it is: immature, lazy, and unproductive. It's also harmful. What happens when the inevitable hard times come, as they always do? How will people be prepared for those curveballs when they've been coasting and taking the easy way out their entire lives? It's an unsustainable lifestyle that's doomed to lead to a whole host of issues down the line.
To some of the contestants' credit, it appears as if the tough love in the wilderness did them some good, which we're not surprised about. We've seen it time and time again, literally hundreds of thousands of times: When people do hard shit, as miserable and harrowing as it might be in the moment, they always come out stronger, wiser, more capable, and with a fresh perspective and a new frame of reference.
“It humbled me," said Deandra, according to the New York Post. “It made me feel more prepared for any situation. You could stick me in the wilderness right now, and I’ve got you. Bring me some hay and twigs, and we’ve got a fire!”
Devon, a 20-year-old partier who is reportedly failing out of college, shared a similar sentiment.
“It did push me on my feet to be more of an adult,” she said. “I learned [that] it’s OK to fail. Sometimes, you just need to bask in your failure.”
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Click here to watch the trailer and see the "snowflakes" in action.