It's odd that tech platforms seem to know what we might like better than we know ourselves, says Willa Paskin. "The exactitude with which we are catered to can lead us to believe that we can buy the perfect mass-produced thing to express our individuality, only to discover upon purchasing said mass-produced thing that it only expresses our sameness," says Paskin. "At the tail end of 2019, our sameness is Baby Yoda. He is the ad being served in everyone’s Instagram feed. Baby Yoda’s ability to unite so many people, all powerless before the cuteness of a 1:1 eye-to-face ratio, is the kind of communal TV moment whose relative loss we have been lamenting. And yet, though I am not a Gen Xer—i.e., someone with generational fealty to the concept of selling out—after my Yoda-loving heart stops a-pitter-pattering, I do feel a little like a robot, a droid beep-booping along as I carry out Darth Disney’s command to organically promote Disney+." She adds that there are worse companies than Disney, "but still, it makes me uncomfortable thinking about how our pure Baby Yoda joy is getting commoditized into word of mouth for a new streaming platform and a deeply middling TV show—and how that was the plan all along."
Baby Yoda is your God now: "If TV had a Person of the Year for 2019, Baby Yoda would be it. He is lovable and terrifying. He may well grow up to be our master," says James Poniewozik. He adds that Baby Yoda is "defying you to have a problem" with it. "Yes, this is a corporate entertainment hegemon, encroaching to conquer TV as it did the movies — but look at how it sips its little soupy cup! How can you be mad at that?" he says. "The Mandalorian is a delightful and artful entertainment. It’s also Disney saying, yes, we will re-gift you your childhood, over and over — but it will also be new, and cute, and genuinely inventive, and tweaked just an acceptable amount."