Shout-out to Selfie Ignite for recommending today’s topic!
It might be somewhat redundant (even hypocritical) to say that as a society, we might be spending a tad too much time on Social Media. Creating artificial avatars for the approval of an artificial audience. In a sea of endless endorphins and addictive designs, at times we can lose perspective, for the things that matter, like love, for example. In 2014, an updated telling of My Fair Lady (read Pygmalion) re-examined the tale of Eliza and Henry Higgins and navigated the rising interconnected, always online world of the 2010s, in Selfie.
Hot-shot sales rep, Eliza, might be known for her Instagram account, and her Twitter followers, but she doesn’t have the esteem of her peers, after a horrifying faux par on a business trip highlight her flaws. She enlists the astute insights of Henry Higgs, marketing genius at the children’s pharmaceutical concern she works at. Henry is Eliza’s opposite, a lot more focused on reality, avoids the superficiality of social media, Stylish, but alone. After some consideration, embarks on the arduous journey to rebrand Eliza into a more grounded member of society. As their personalities clash with each other, so do their feelings for each other.
While there is a lot to like in the short-lived romcom, the strength of Selfie is squarely in its star power. Karen Gillan, who before appearing here, and her successful appearances in the M.C.U. on Doctor Who, and The Kevin Bishop Show. Here, playing the social media savvy, yet shallow Eliza almost flawlessly (although her Scottish accent does leak out on brief occasions). Playing the role of Henry Higgs is John Cho who shows off his effortless charm in Cowboy Bebop. They make for a brilliant combination, with palpable chemistry. Yet, the rest of the company does have its fair share of interesting characters. Like the receptionist, played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who has her extensive wig collection, and even appearances from the likes of Natasha Henstridge and other stars.
Being made during the comparatively antiquated time of 2014. Some of the more overt references to social media trends do feel at times quaint, especially with so many re-evaluating their relationship with social media. Selfie, alongside being plastered with so many website’s classic logos, depicts Snapchat being some curious novelty, Facebook being a trendy site (with poking galore) and even the rise of Korean pop music. While it is fun to recall, its trendiness doesn’t get in the way of its revamped love affair. Lasting for only 14 episodes (with just 5 airing on T.V.), the show, took a little while to grow into the prematurely cancelled darling dealing with the blossoming Eliza-Henry Relationship.
The reimagining of Pygmalion in the 21st century, specifically the early 2010s, showed prominent signs of picking up a returning fanbase, raising playful concerns about the rampant rise of social media, and packaging them with a fun and breezy romcom. The social media love affair feels a lot more prominent even a decade later. Fans are still keeping the torch for Eliza’s and Henry’s relationship to this day. Suffice it to say, Selfie is a picture-perfect sitcom of the time, with little need for Photoshop.
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