On Tuesday, ABC presented their new Tuesday comedies. Last year, comedy The Goldbergs was a leading newbie comedy on Tuesday and got promoted to its now comfortable Wednesday night timeslot this year. So ABC’s hoping for a repeat performance, this time by newcomer Selfie.
Selfie follows pharmaceutical rep Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) who’s incredible obsession with social media has made her feel alone and without real friends, despite her thousands of followers. So she consults the help of marketing guru Henry Higgs (John Cho) to re-brand her into sociable, caring human being.
So, let’s get over two things. 1) Yes, this is literally My Fair Lady, the 1956 musical that’s famously known as “the perfect play”. I mean, the original characters were Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins. I mean, really. 2) Let’s cut to the chase here. This was not a good pilot.
Have I seen worse? Yes. Could episode 2 be better? Possibly. But I doubt it.
The show just doesn’t present anything really authentic. Is there a social media-obsessed person among our friends and acquaintances? Yeah, sure. But are they really that annoying? Well, not that annoying. And would you want to follow their lives as a strive to be more like a regular human being? No, not really. A celebrity becoming a regular human being is interesting considering where they came from, especially if they are on their high horse with their nose stuck up in the air. What did Eliza really come from…like really? I don’t really feel too bad for Eliza, and while I think it’s alright that Henry is helping her out (and while I slightly want her to be more personable…because I like Karen Gillan), I also don’t find him all that awesome either. They are opposites, and I get that opposites work (I mean, Sam and Diane, am I right?). But I don’t necessarily care for these characters. I want to cheer for them, but I naturally don’t.
Understand something: I love Karen Gillan. So much. More than I’m willing to admit in this paragraph. But her American accent isn’t completely convincing and the character never felt genuine. But then I thought back to series creator Emily Kapnek, who also created Suburgatory (Kapnek’s previous 3-season ABC show). I realized that this show and Suburgatory had similar issues. My huge problem with Suburgatory was that I did not like lead character Tessa. Both Tessa and Eliza rub me the wrong way, in the sense that they feel like just a show character, as opposed to an actual person we can connect with. And while I understand that this is Eliza’s issue (not connecting with people) and she needs to improve herself, the writing hasn’t done a good job of convincing me she really wants change.
And John Cho, I’ll get him some credit. You can tell that his straight man, take-life-seriously mantra makes him successful, but doesn’t allow him to be vulnerable, thus why he himself has issues connecting. Kapnek does make Henry more realistic than Eliza slightly, but not too convincingly. Also, I don’t like any of the supporting cast. They just step on stereotypes. Except the secretary (Charmonique, played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph). I can tell she’ll be the cool one on this show.
The dialogue was just “tots cray”….I’m sorry, I won’t do that again. Kapnel said she studied her 12 year old daughter for dialogue, which wasn’t a bad idea. But high school and college kids probably knew more up-to-date, more savvy language. But let’s say for a second that I thought the plot was remotely decent. When Henry (not a spoiler because this was in sneak peeks all the time) asks Eliza for the receptionist’s name, I thought that was really good. But when Henry tells Eliza to ask all these follow up questions, Eliza’s difficulties were like dragging a horse with bare hands. I understand that making the conversation not about you (Eliza) is an issue with a media-obsessed person. But not to a point where she couldn’t even ask simple questions. Again, we head back to believability. The plot is only pinned together where Eliza can literally do nothing. And I’m having a hard time believing that.
Also, the makeover part to take her “down a notch” for the wedding was a bit…incredibly weird. And they way the receptionist (spoiler) applauds Eliza when they have a conversation about her son is just…even weirder (end spoiler). And the narration needs to go. The last show allowed to narrate was Scrubs. I don’t know. I’ve already spoken too much about this show in general, so let’s wrap this up.
I want everyone to understand that I want this show to succeed. I really do. This is a concept not really out there. We avoid social media shows or movies because it’s seen as desperation. “The old network trying to be hip with the young kids”, they say. So people avoid it, like they avoid online dating shows. So to have the guts to try it is admirable. But I wish everything just didn’t feel fake or exaggerated. If they take everything towards the middle from the extremes, the show can be successful. But I watched Suburgatory. Those characters kind of did, but not as much as I thought they should have. Let’s watch two more episodes and see where we land.
Next Episode: Episode 2 Review