With the scale of command social media has over a great deal of our everyday lives, upon reading about Selfie, I was somewhat surprised that a series of a similar ilk or concept had not come to fruition already.
The premise of the sit-com in essence is a contemporary take on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and its subsequent musical adaptation My Fair Lady. For those who have read or seen either of the aforementioned, the names Eliza Dooley (Karen Gilllan) and Henry Higenbottam (John Cho) will likely ring a bell as adaptations of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.
Immediately following the ‘snappy’ title sequence backed by none other than ‘#Selfie’ by The Chainsmokers, we are introduced to Eliza. She’s a social media obsessed Insta-famous sales rep, whose attention-fuelled opinion of herself has warped her view of everyday life so much so that she appears completely oblivious to the fact that no one she knows personally actually likes her.
We then meet – in rather swift fashion – Henry. This is someone who you would expect to be a virtual polar opposite of Eliza, however for the most part this is not the case. An apt description would be a ‘colossal stick-in-the-mud, severely lacking any real friends’. He himself states he “finds it rather easy not to form personal connections in a city that only values wireless connection”, after an associate points out that it could be the reason why he’s so good at his job: he has no distractions. Ultimately, they’re both as anti-social as one another, just at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The key to what makes this modernisation of a 20th century classic and gives it so much potential is, clear as day, how both Gillan and Cho portray their respective roles. Looking at both Eliza and Henry, neither represents any of the core qualities that would make a person almost immediately likeable, but rather an exaggerated embodiment of a corrupted social psyche. However, that’s where Karen and John come in. They both have the ability to coerce the viewers into liking these characters in no small part due to our familiarity with their real-life off-screen personalities.
I hope when Selfie’s official debut comes around at the end of the month, that it does strike a chord within all who decide to give it a chance, as it’s evident so far that there is a invariably relevant underlying meaning to this story, in much the same vain as ‘the perfect musical’.
“You’re addicted to the instant gratification of unearned adulation from a group of perfect strangers you insist on referring to as your ‘friends” – Henry Higenbottam
Words by Alex G