I’m a pretty indiscriminate T.V. show watcher. Sometimes I’ll start hate-watching something and realize I love it. That’s what lead to my life-long romance with America’s Next Top Model, after all, and it’s given me so much.
It was this same instinct that lead me to watch Selfie. “That sounds dumb,” I thought, “I should watch it.” (If you don’t do this occasionally, you are a liar.)
Like other rom coms out this season, including A to Z, which I also liked, Selfie operates under the premise that the internet and social media are keeping us from everything good in life. If characters aren’t narcissistic and self-absorbed because of Instagram likes, they’re ruining their chance at a real romance by obsessively Googling their partner. The whole thing reeks of an obsessive ambivalence. The internet, they imply, is killing our chance of connection, but you better give a show a name like Selfie, or else the kids won’t watch it.
Selfie‘s basic premise is an update to My Fair Lady. A woman rough around the edges is taught how to behave within the parameters of society by a straight-laced, sophisticated man, but wait … ! She in turn teaches him how to have fun and love life.
At first, the premise seemed kind of sexist to me. “Idiot, vain woman has no idea how to be an adult and a man has to teach her.” Slap the Selfie title on it, and the whole thing seemed like one big judgment of my generation, especially the women.
But be patient, opinionated, overly-sensitive Becky! Because this show is not so stupid. Things are seldom as stupid as they seem, except for the book 50 Shades of Grey, which I legitimately tried to get into like four times and just couldn’t.
The characters in Selfie are not simple caricatures of a generation. They’re carved out with such wit and randomness that I found myself laughing constantly at their antics. For example, when Eliza joins a book club in her building and learns she needs to be twee to fit in, she shows up wearing vintage clothes and apologizes for smelling like dead people. “We all do,” the ringleader says.
I laughed most during a plot wherein the characters are trying to help a co-worker get his wife back and have to prevent him from staging yet another flash mob, because she hates them. “What am I supposed to do with these?” a guy in the office says, shooting a bunch of streamers out of his sleeves. I dunno, that was hilarious.
But alas, no matter how much we were all starting to appreciate the precise wit of this show, it has been canceled. A to Z has been canceled as well. Does this mean that audiences don’t, as networks seem to think, want to watch shows about social media and the Internet being horrible? Could be. I just hope the wit that made Selfie surprisingly good finds its way into next season’s shows. Would it have survived with a less dumb name? I like to think so.