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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- Modernizing classics is tricky business. There are so many elements that can only translate to the time in which the piece was written, while others can transcend time and can be interpreted in many ways. Emily Kapnek decided to take a turn at modernizing George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (later popularized by My Fair Lady) into a sitcom about social media and connection today. Though reticent, the casting of two talented leads, it was worth giving a look.
Eliza Dooley is a woman obsessed with achieving fame in the world of online social media. However, she comes to a point where she realizes that followers and Facebook friends do not always result in having friends in the real world. So she decides to enlist the help of Henry Higgs, a marketing guru. Together, they explore what it means to be a part of this digital age.
Selfie has some promise. The modernizing of Pygmalion works well as a set-up for a show and the first couple episodes show that it’s not just a “kids these days with their phones” and what have you. The pilot offers promise by presenting a cute, but somewhat predictable story wherein these two characters meet each other. However, it’s the charm of the two leads that keeps it afloat.
Karen Gillan is a talented actress and has made quite a stay across the pond from her work on Doctor Who. It’s nice to see her headline an American sitcom playing such a different role than what she’s used to. John Cho also does good work as the stuffy Henry Higgs who doesn’t quite gel with the innovations in social media. These two characters come off as two extremes of the coin, but Gillan and Cho manage to pull off the less subtle aspects of the series.
With so much that happens in the digital space, it’s interesting to see a sitcom that takes a look at what it means to truly be connected to the rest of the world. Selfie isn’t quite at that level as a show, but it easily could be. There’s a lot of directions this show could go in to make it stand out more in this massive crowd of new sitcoms. Selfie isn’t a tremendous sitcom, but it has all the right parts going for it that it could be.
Selfie airs Tuesdays @8 pm on ABC