THE SHOW: Selfie from showrunner Emily Kapnek
WHEN: Tuesdays 8/7 c (Premiered September 30, 2014)
THE CAST: Karen Gillan and John Cho
THE SETUP: Based loosely on Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, Selfie tells the story of Eliza Dooley, a social media self-obsessed young woman who gets the help of a marketing expert to help change her image after she discovers she has no real friends.
If you’re looking for an Emmy Worthy (though what does that mean exactly these days anyway?) comedy series then this isn’t the show for you. However, if you’re looking for a fun, romantic comedy type series reminiscent of My Fair Lady and Never Been Kissed, then this show might be right up your alley. In other words, it’s right up mine! I smiled all the way through Selfie. Is this a laugh out loud sitcom with funny gag after funny gag? No. But it is a likable romantic comedy in sitcom form with funny moments and is great for fans of the genre.
Now this series would not work if the two leads didn’t have chemistry. Thankfully, the chemistry between Karen Gillan and John Cho is fantastic! They’re both very charming and play opposite each other well. I look forward to how their relationship and obvious romance will develop.
The writing was also great with clever dialogue and funny situations. I especially liked how the writer gave three-dimensional characterization to the two leads, particularly with Eliza. My worry going into the show was that it would be too much about social media and selfies with an unlikable, obnoxious female lead character. I was very wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The show really saves itself by giving us a Never Been Kissed type flashback of young Eliza in middle school at a dance where she is completely ignored.
The show really saves itself by giving us a Never Been Kissed type flashback of young Eliza in middle school at a dance where she is completely ignored.
So this shallow, self-obsessed girl she’s become is really a reaction (or an overreaction of being the unpopular outcast as a girl). So she is redeemable. Hence the whole purpose of the series…
Overall, I appreciate that Selfie has no cynicism to be found, unless you count the characterization of John Cho as Henry, the overly serious exec who’s helping make Eliza over. But no doubt Eliza will melt all that cynicism away over time. This is an upbeat series for the romantic at heart who do not take every movie or TV show too seriously. I rate it four corsets with four vintage hearts.
It was only a matter of time before My Fair Lady, or Pygmalion if you will, came into the modern age of social media narcissism. I mean, what else needs a makeover? Requiring more beauty on the inside this time around (unlike She’s All That), I found myself surprisingly rooting for this familiar tale in a new setting. Unfortunately, because of the familiarity of the story, I don’t think audiences will flock to Selfie in big droves. I’m really hoping that isn’t the case because it is a lot of fun and sometimes familiar tales make for the most comfortable evenings in.
Then of course there is the chemistry between Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) and John Cho (Star Trek). It may be almost as adorable as David Tennant’s puppy eyes, almost being the operative word. In an imperfect pilot thanks to unmemorable side characters, their chemistry is the true star of the show. For a half hour, I had a good time and unexpectedly found myself cheering for Eliza, despite her self-absorbed and shallow antics. I see the beginnings of a really interesting female character that is very 3-dimensional. So, if you love romantic comedies, I say give Selfie a chance. You might just leave with a smile. I rate the pilot 4 corsets overall and 5 vintage hearts for a likable, blossoming romance.
So, I’ll admit that I was a bit put off by this shows name at first. Because of this, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be a fan of what sounded like another hyped up series about spoiled rich girls living it up in the city. Well, I was wrong. This modern take on My Fair Lady actually has some promise. Karen Gillan, Amy from Doctor Who, plays her part perfectly as the self-absorbed shallow pretty girl obsessed with gaining fame through social media. One thing I do like about the concept of this show is that it exposes the hold social media have gained on our society. We are looking at a whole new generation that lives their lives through social media. We definitely see an example of that in Selfie.
But, back to Miss Gillan. She’s immediately unlikeable (a good thing in this case) and I literally had to hold myself back from constantly screaming and cursing at her. Acting opposite her is John Cho playing Henry Higgs, the man who is set with the task of turning her into a decent human being. The multiple training exercises Henry gives her provide some entertaining moments, and Cho and Gillan work well together. The two have good chemistry as far as their comedic timing goes, while they can also be believably vulnerable with each other, as we saw at the end of the pilot. It’s pretty clear that it’s going to turn out to be your typical romantic comedy, but I think the cast give it the potential to perhaps raise it above it’s rather shallow surface. I rate it 3 corsets overall and 3 vintage hearts for romance.
What did you think of Selfie? Let us know in the comments.
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