What Can We Learn From Selfie?

Posted by Mormei Z & filed under Television.

The cast from Selfie. Credit: ABC
The cast from Selfie. Credit: ABC

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Selfie, the ABC romantic comedy starring John Cho and Karen Gillan was recently cancelled on November 7th when ABC neglected to buy more episodes after their preliminary order of 13.

Although ratings were not high for the show from the beginning, the series had promise. It’s a shame it was cancelled so soon before it could really find its bearings.

The show centered around the life of Eliza Dooley, a woman caught up in the dazzle of social media who would do anything for another follow on her Instagram account. She begins to realize her swarm of likes and follows on the Internet are not necessarily representative of her social life in the real world. She meets Henry Higgs, a marketing image genius, and seeks his help to rebrand herself. He agrees, and thus commences an unlikely friendship and suggested romance.

These names Eliza Dooley and Henry Higgs may sound familiar to the well-seasoned musical enthusiasts among you. The characters were based on Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady. In the musical, Higgins teaches Doolittle how to become a more refined woman who can navigate high society. In many ways, Selfie is similar. Dooley must redefine herself in a more human way: she must separate herself from the media outlets in which she has become so heavily reliant on. Henry Higgs is there to help and an interesting tension is created between the two characters.

What was fantastic about Selfie was the fact Dooley and Higgs were an interracial couple. Here is this traditional story from 1956 about a powerful white man remolding a girl from the gutters, completely transformed in Selfie. John Cho and Karen Gillan have a relationship that is a little less condescending and more centered around guidance. These pillars of support and love that are created between them is a healthy depiction of an interracial couple that is rarely seen on television.

Selfie also manages to steer away from any stereotypical mixed-race couple tropes. Race is never a factor and is not the sole definition of the characters.

With just a few episodes aired, it was clear what direction the producers were hoping to take the show. Ultimately, it comes down to the bad ratings which had the show axed from ABC’s list. Whether it was awkward writing or muddled character motivation, the show just didn’t have what it takes to make it to another season.

Hopefully in the future another show with the same angle comes to fruition and takes hold. Let’s be honest, we all want a little more John Cho in our lives.

You can decide for yourselves what to think about Selfie and check out the last episodes on ABC’s website.

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