Selfie: Season 1/ Episode 1 "Pilot" [Series Premiere] – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

For those of you who are willing to have patience, you may have a potentially good series on your hands.

Review (with Spoilers)

Anyone who goes to an AMC theater early has probably seen a trailer for this program during the “AMC First Look.” Which, to me, presented an interesting story about a young girl trying to reinvent herself. However, after watching the premiere, I feel like the girl we actually get is a mix of Paris Hilton, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, and a bit of Amanda from Ugly Betty.

Topic 1: Meet Eliza

From the start, Eliza (Karen Gillan) seems like someone a bit too obnoxious to be the lead character. However, the show continuously tries to humanize her and make her either likable or someone you feel bad for her, by showing that pretty much everything is superficial. For one, Eliza seemingly is still that socially awkward, ugly duckling she was in high school. It’s just now she gets her hair done, knows how to use makeup, and after years of emulating some cheerleader in high school, thinking she was the ideal, she has found herself becoming the worse version of said cheerleader.

But, in order to try to rebound from what seems like a vapid character, the writers try to give Eliza depth by saying she is one of the top salespeople at the children’s pharmaceutical company (1) she works at. However, her co-worker Ethan (Tim Peper) quickly erases any sense that she may be like Elle Woods. If just because he says the reason she sells so well is because of her tight mini-skirt. Something which, throughout the episode, she doesn’t give you any real reason to refute.

Topic 2: The Fall of Eliza Dooley

Then, once more, the show tries to quickly win you back by having one bad thing after another happen to her which I think was supposed to inspire sympathy. Thing is, if anything you think she deserves finding out the guy she likes is married, getting puke all over her, and being embarrassed in front of the company. In a way, you almost end up hoping it will humble her. But, with this show being about Eliza, it seems her humiliation only opens her eyes to the fact she doesn’t have friends and makes bad decisions when it comes to men. Not so much that she herself has a rather obnoxious personality.

Topic 3: I Wanna be Made Over – Eliza and Henry

So in order to possibly turn all her Facebook and Instagram likes and friends into perhaps real people, she decides to seek out the company’s top marketing guy Henry (John Cho). Someone who is a bit condescending toward her, if just because he is old fashioned and practices respectability politics. For, with Eliza’s style being very Elle Woods-like, it makes it hard for the hound dogs of her workplace to take her seriously. Him especially. But with him turning around a nasal drug which made kids hallucinate, Eliza is hoping with her little stiletto-clad heart that he will make her over. Something which he hems and haws about at first, but then he gives in.

Thus leading to the likely story of the series which deals with Eliza learning to dress and look more traditional and perhaps act like a lady, and Eliza, in turn, helping Henry become more fun and exciting. As opposed to how he is now which is far too straight-laced. And, as you can tell by one of the last scenes in the episode, eventually these two are going to hook up if not date.

Overall

Honestly, this show is the type which will either get cancelled its first season or with time get better and justify why it was greenlit. The thing is, though, unless you are the type who is patient and gives a show a chance past its pilot, or you are a fan of one of the actors, I’m unsure why you would even stick around for episode 2. Gillan isn’t that great of a comedian, and the jokes written are all pretty bad. The story is predictable and according to the Wikipedia page for this, it is supposed to share a premise with My Fair Lady, and yet as much as you can see it is inspired by that movie and definitely Legally Blonde (2), at the same time I don’t think there were notes taken on why those two films are culturally significant.

For, speaking on Legally Blonde since it has been years since I’ve watched My Fair Lady, while you are told Eliza is supposed to be good in her profession, she never shows you. Then with the jokes, they try to bring some sense of social commentary, but there seems to be a lack of recognition that selfies aren’t done just to be vain, nor using social media to document your life. Sometimes it is because you want to share your life, get a nice esteem boost, or similar things. All of which is ignored for Eliza seems more geared to be mocked than to actually be a likable lead you wish to follow episode after episode.

Things To Note

  1. One which seemingly doesn’t give a damn about sexual harassment or any type of issues which would throw HR into a rage. Such as Henry’s boss Sam Saperstein (David Harewood) kissing Henry, a bit too long and too hard, without his permission and then saying he thought it was Asian custom. Then, of course, there are all the comments about Eliza.
  2. Also, there is Charmonique (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) who pretty much is the Paulette to Eliza’s Elle Woods. Though, unlike Paulette, Charmonique isn’t trailer trash but does lean toward some of her own stereotypes. Of which, hopefully, her being a single mother maybe the only one. Either way, you can see that Eliza and Charmonique you perhaps couldn’t imagine hanging out and joking with each other, but through Henry’s work, they are on their way to becoming unlikely buddies.
  3. To me, Eliza seems like someone who would be more so a supporting character.
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Author: Amari Sali

New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.

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