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Commentary Review: Selfie (S1/E3)

SELFIE's 3rd episode was a disappointment. Okay, truth be told, this entire series was a disappointment.

COLD OPEN: Selfie‘s on the decline, and viewers haven’t been feeling the show the last 2 episodes. Episode 2 was an improvement, so I’m hoping there’s something, anything encouraging to keep this show alive. Here’s to high hopes.

ACT ONE: So, right out of the gate, Eliza is a horrible person, not paying attention in a meeting. Look, we’ve all done it, looking at our cell phones in a meeting. Check an email here, check a notification on Facebook for a brief moment. But that gets trumped when the top bosses are present. Every single person on Earth knows that, which made me ponder how Eliza became the #1 salesperson in the company with no people skills. Yes, she’s pretty. I get it. But that alone couldn’t get you to #1. With her communication style, there’d be no way the pharmaceutical world would tolerate Eliza’s behavior. But not only is Eliza clueless with social interactions, she’s also mean. She ate Jane’s food. Twice. We understand Eliza must be portrayed as a particular mess. But Liz Lemon (NBC’s 30 Rock) was a mess we cheered for. She was awkward and socially inept. I mean, her best friend was Jenna Maroney…Jenna. Liz’s biggest problem was being old and candid, while Eliza’s biggest problem was being rude.

Henry’s storyline kicked off well with him establishing a rapport with Larry the scientist, only to have it backfire. The plot wasn’t original, with the cliche “be-nice-to-someone, that-someone-needs-crazy-favor-you’re-guilted-into-obliging” plot. It wasn’t hilarious, but it made me smile.

SEFLIE is missing the essential mentor-mentee relationship 30 ROCK installed: believability (Source: ABC)

ACT TWO: So, this week, Eliza’s assignment (gah, this isn’t school, it’s human decency) is to befriend Jane, a VP of the company and…the owner of the food Eliza steals. So, Eliza does her research, finding out Jane is a Yelp fanatic and memorizes her reviews word-for-word. Initially, this works very well (with an awkward dance routine to boot). But Eliza overplays her hand when she prevents Jane’s husband from eating something he’s allergic to….a piece of information never disclosed by Jane. Jane freaks out over the stalker-like tendency, obviously. But I’m here going, “who cares? She just saved her husband’s life. She obviously cared more about your husband’s well-being than you did”. So Jane should have been appreciative. While, again, understandably weird, Eliza still saved a life.

Henry has more problems with Larry, who’s now staying in Henry’s place. Henry helps Larry get his wife back with a flash mob…only to find that the wife hates flash mobs. This is where the storyline turned for me. 1) There are incredibly few people on Earth that would do that many flash mobs ever. And 2) who the heck doesn’t like flash mobs? We then step into the cliches again where Henry screams how annoying Larry is with Larry behind him. Shocker…

ACT THREE: Eliza fails her assignment. Henry tells the friend to do something subtle to get his wife back, which works successfully. Eliza admits that she eats standing up (yeah, that was happening) over waste baskets because no one will sit with her at lunch, an occurrence since elementary school. Which is why Henry stands up and eats with her, near the trash can he selected specifically for her. Which, as a whole trying to seem sweet, was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I get that it’s sweet that no matter how ridiculous Eliza gets, Henry is willing to go through it all with her. But standing alone? Really? Really? I’m sorry, I don’t accept it. She’s a grown women standing over a trash can eating someone else’s lunch. Nope.

THE CONCLUSION: The problem with (show creator) Emily Kapnek shows is she writes main characters not-so-well, and secondary main characters incredibly well. On Suburgatory, Tess was the annoying, condescending main character, while George (her actual father…who she still called George…for no good reason) was the funny, down-to-Earth, interesting character in the show. Eventually, they emphasized George more as the seasons developed, but a weak-ish supporting cast hurt the show. I’m seeing similarities with Henry as the refreshing version of George and Eliza as the rude version of Tess. While the final 2 minutes of the last 3 episodes have been nice and there have been some episodic improvements, I find myself enjoying Henry storylines more so than Eliza storylines. When they’re together, I just find Eliza as sad and unintelligent, and it’s completely unnecessary. What made 30 Rock work was that the mentor-mentee were believably stupid. I feel for Eliza not having friends, but she’s a colossal idiot unnecessarily. Maybe this would make sense if we knew how she was raised by her parents…maybe? I don’t know, I’m finding myself disliking Eliza.

SELFIE shot itself in the foot with an unconvincingly-believable Eliza. That’s the show’s downfall (Source: ABC)

The show isn’t improving fast enough for a shot at a spring run. I had high hopes for Selfie. Heck, high hopes for Emily Kapnek. Here’s to high hopes, huh? Mainly, I feel great disappointment on this one. But what did you guys think? Are you still on board with Selfie or are you jumping off? Sound off in the comments.

Things That I Noticed:

  • Henry’s rip-away suits were pretty funny.
  • The way Eliza talked to Jane initially to befriend her (after Henry showed her) was horrible; but Henry’s reaction afterwards was the best.
  • In the first episode, didn’t Eliza get a clothing lesson in dressing subtly; and then the second episode, get ridiculed for wearing skimpy clothing? Does Eliza learn anything at all?
  • Once again, the most interesting supporting character is rarely in the show. Why hasn’t Eliza and Charmonique gotten closer yet, or at least Charmonique help Eliza with her improvement somehow?
  • Why would the boss force Henry to help out Larry?
  • The wastebasket in the last scene was of the London Tower, and with Karen Gillan being Scottish, was that calling England “trash”? Clever, Emily Kapnek. Quite clever.

Previous Episode: Episode 2 Review
Following Episode: Episode 4 Review

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