As a person who watches more TV than can possibly be good for her, I find myself deeply emotionally invested in news of what all the networks will be airing next fall. But the news isn’t always good, and sometimes you see a network moving forward with an eye-rolling concept like Selfie, ABC’s new show that sounds like a moralizing parable about how the kids are doing everything wrong, with their selfies and twerking and badwrong values.
According to Screencrush, the new show is a take on My Fair Lady, but Eliza Doolittle is an Instagram celebrity who needs lessons from Henry Higgins on how to have actual friends and human relationships. The network describes it thus:
‘SELFIE‘: “Instafamous” Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But one lonely day she has a revelation: being friended is not the same as having actual friends. She asks marketing guru Henry (John Cho) to ‘rebrand’ her self-obsessed reputation and teach her how to connect with people in the real world. Loosely based on My Fair Lady, Selfie explores the modern struggles of Eliza and Henry, as he tries to teach her how to live life offline—whether she ‘likes’ it or not.
I adore both John Cho and Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan, but c’mon … this sounds like the plot of a middle-school musical my grandmother would write to teach the kids how all their newfangled values are wrong and they should really get their heads screwed-on straight.
The actors are great and it is written by Suburgatory writer Emily Kapnek, so maybe there’s something to be optimistic about there. But still, the social media buzzword title reminds me of the ill-fated attempt to turn the “Shit My Dad Says” Twitter account into a terribly unfunny sitcom. And Gillan’s outfit up there does not do much to inspire confidence. It has the forced, Devil Wears Prada look of “this is what people who don’t know what Instagram is think style bloggers wear.” I’m just waiting for John Cho to tell her that she doesn’t need to wear that much makeup, because guys don’t really like red lipstick anyway.
I’ll probably watch because the cast is great and I’ll try anything at least once. But I will be crossing my fingers until September that I am not in for 30 minutes of moralizing about how selfies are narcissistic and vapid and Internet relationships are not real.
On the plus side, ABC has also gone ahead and ordered Marvel’s Agent Carter, a whole show set in 1946 about agent Peggy Carter from Captain America. That at least sounds completely awesome.