The last time we got to see former Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan, she was rocking a bald, blue head and trying to beat up Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy. For her upcoming ABC comedy Selfie, she’s got a head full of vibrant red hair and is the absolute worst person I’ve ever had to spend any amount of time with. JK! IMHO, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but this series is #fuckingridiculous by how incessantly it mauls viewers with trendy words, phrases and Instagrammy visuals. You can see for yourself in the admittedly funny pilot episode above, which is now available for viewing well over a month before its network debut.
Selfie, created by Suburgatory’s Emily Kapnek, is a loose modernization of the classic musical/film My Fair Lady, with the trouble of an awful accent replaced by an obsession with all things popular and social media-friendly. Gillan stars as Eliza Dooley, a talented sales rep whose life is guided by a path to fame through marketing herself online. She has hundreds of thousands of internet followers that she calls “friends,” but she doesn’t actually have any physical companions to call her own. As such, she’s thought of as a perfectionist outsider by her coworkers, instead of whatever she would actually want them to think of her.
And so, after a particularly funny gross-out moment involving barf bags, she enlists the help of the terribly named Henry Higenbottam, played with a sense of normalcy by John Cho. He’s capable of taking disasters and making them successful, but Eliza is a challenge that no one person should have to suffer through. As you’ll notice, even though Henry is similarly on the fringe of society, he’s far more proper and introverted, and is far closer to an actual human being than the fun-free monster that Eliza tries to make him out to be.
It’s a good premise, it’s got some clever jokes, and represents a transformation that I’d love for millions of young people to go through. But Eliza’s super-stylized way of speaking, combined with the quirky visual tics, is grating on the nerves. Still, seeing David Harewood in a comedic role is worth a bit of aggravation, and I truly hope future episodes spend more time with Bryn (Allyn Rachel) and her make-under book club. They’re like Cinderella’s mice, only with a ukulele.
Find Selfie when it premieres on ABC on Tuesday, September 30. And don’t forget to live Tweet it while taking pictures of your dinner that night.