Dammit, ABC, why did you have to cancel Selfie?
I had a blog post all written out about, singing the show's praises, when I learned it had been cancelled. In fact, I was mid-"you have to watch this show" spiel to a friend when she tentatively informed me that she had read of its unfortunate fate that morning. My attempts to persuade her to watch it instantly became far less convincing.
But after a rocky start, Selfie turned into a truly fantastic show, and thanks to the gods of Hulu, its full 13-episode run is still being aired. If you're looking for a really fun (and, at times, surprisingly emotional) show for a quick binge over the winter break, it's definitely worth a try. Especially since, judging from comments from the creator and the slightly rushed feel of the latest episode, the writers knew doom was coming and potentially managed to tie up the show in the 13 episodes it received.
Selfie is completely adorable, feel-good comedy. John Cho and Karen Gillan are fantastic as the workaholic, socially awkward Henry and the gregarious social-media addict Eliza, and they're backed up in the show by a fun and diverse set of secondary characters. Although the show had high potential for uncomfortableness -- an older guy in the office teaching the hot young saleswoman how she should speak and how she should dress in order to be acceptable -- it quickly found its footing as half opposites-attract romcom, half workplace comedy, where Eliza has as much to teach Henry as Henry has to teach Eliza, and where being a more relaxed and honest version of yourself is perhaps the most important lesson to be had.
The dynamic between Eliza and Henry is really wonderful -- hilarious, heart-warming, sometimes painful, and definitely squee-worthy, depending on the moment. John Cho might traditionally be seen as a "risky" choice for a romantic lead (which is, of course, ridiculous, as he's both charismatic and adorable), and I really hope that no executives decide the show failed based on their non-white male lead, and not based on the off-putting title.
I think potential viewers were wary of the social media aspect, and may have thought the show would be shallow as a result. Neither is a problem. Once the show stopped trying so hard with its social media elements in the pilot, all of its references felt authentic, and great fodder for laughs ("Which Game of Thrones character are you?" Henry must ask, as he gets pulled into the perils of Facebook. Sansa Stark, apparently). It's actually fun to see a show embrace social media addiction, considering how much media tends to ignore its importance entirely, and surprisingly there's no "social media is bad" message, but, like the Henry and Eliza's characters, a suggestion of the importance of a middle ground. Just as Eliza could connect better with people if she wasn't so focussed on social media success, likes and shares, Henry could connect better if he wasn't so anti-technology and so afraid to express himself.
Add in lots of laugh-out-loud lines, a great will-they won't-they romance, and the slight issue of this "comedy" show making me cry last week, and I fall more in love with this show with every new episode.
The downsides? The first episode doesn't sell the show well, it's weird at first to hear Karen Gillan speaking in an American accent, and there's the slight issue that it got cancelled with only 13 episodes made. But if you want to try a new bite-sized sitcom with a (sadly) very definite end, then treat yourself to this one. It's feel-good, lots of fun, and far more enjoyable and progressive than you might at first expect.