First Watch: Selfie: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)

If you’ve been to Tonight’s Watch before, you probably know that I love Doctor Who.

So, it should be needless to say that I was pretty excited when I heard that Karen Gillan was going to get her own show on American television. Not only is that great news for Gillan, but it does speak to the popularity of the new Who that the series is actually launching careers across the (Amy) pond for people other who aren’t named David Tennant now.

Then, my excitement waned significantly when I found out more about Gillan’s new show.

Let’s talk Selfie.

Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) is the top sales rep at a pharmaceutical company, but that doesn’t seem to matter much. No, more important than Eliza’s professional success is the fact that she is a social outcast turned socialite by the grace of social media. However, that doesn’t last very long (in the pilot, anyway). Eliza learns the hard way that fame is fleeting when a business flight with her beau reveals that he is a married man and she becomes the laughing stock of all of her colleagues. Back at home, Eliza hopes for some comfort or, at the very least, a caring word from one of her millions of internet friends only to find out that not a single one of them cares enough about her to help her out in her time of need. With that, Eliza goes from media maven back to social pariah once again.

Enter Henry Higgs (John Cho).

Henry Higgs is a marketing genius who just managed to successfully rebrand the image of the pharmaceutical company’s satanic-hallucination-inducing nasal spray and just the man Eliza needs her life. Eliza goes to see Henry and begs him to help rebrand her self-image as if she were a product getting bad press. Initially, Henry is more than a little skeptical, but he changes his mind fairly quickly.

The rest of the episode is a rollercoaster of successes and failures for Eliza as she cleans herself up with a “make-under” from her hipster neighbor Bryn for a day as Henry’s guest at a business wedding, only to fall back into her own world when she starts feeling a little insecure. This leads to a big fight between Eliza and Henry that lasts a good five minutes before both of them realize that they need each other to become better people and they make up in the rain outside of Henry’s house.

How sweet.

I have to say that I was caught off guard by how good Selfie turned out to be. I don’t think it will be in the running for best new comedy, but it is definitely streets ahead of some other shows that have premiered so far this Fall season (see: Black-ish). Selfie turns out to be exactly like its main character; initially rough around the edges, but eventually shows the promise of something more substantial just beneath the surface. When Karen Gillan’s Eliza Dooley isn’t being over-the-top obnoxious, Selfie manages to put out a comedy that is equal parts funny and charming—and that is a good sign. Since my biggest complaint about the show is Eliza, I am sure that the show will only get better as Eliza evolves throughout the show thanks to Henry’s guidance.

Well done, Selfie.

  • Rating: Surprisingly good.
  • Comment: Selfie may look shallow and substanceless at first glance, but it turns out there is a bit of charm underneath all of the hashtags and hip internet lingo.
  • You might like  if you like: unnecessary modernizations of classics,

Selfie airs Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM PST on ABC.

 

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About Daniel

I'm a guy who spends way too much time playing board games and watching television with his friends. View all posts by Daniel

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