He's a friendless, crabby, workaholic who hates the internet. She's a similarly friendless, shallow, Instagram rockstar. It's a tale as old as time. ABC just released the pilot for their new show Selfie, and it should probably just be called Pygmalion: There's An App For That.
In the pilot, pharmaceutical sales rep and social media mean girl Eliza (Karen Gillan) enlists the help of Henry (John Cho) the company's marketing genius, to "rebrand" her into a nice human after embarrassing herself in front of the entire company and realizing she has no friends. Eliza, Henry, rebranding—sounds a bit familiar, eh?
As standard for many pilots, we meet all sorts of characters like Charmonique the receptionist and Bryn, Eliza's hipster-twee neighbor (along with Bryn's book club). We are also taken through a whirlwind of ridiculous events including a wedding and a whimsical scene in which Eliza literally pushes Henry into the rain in a move that would make Natasha Bedingfield swoon. It hits all the pilot clichés and manages to be…well, a bit much. It is saturated in trendiness—there is not one line in Eliza's narration devoid of a pop culture reference, from Flappy Bird to Frozen.
Her sexual "looseness" is the subject of many a remark and jab, there's a ukulele cover of "Bad Romance," and if there was any question of this being a 21st century Pygmalion reboot, Henry calls Eliza "my dear" and Eliza calls Henry a "coxcomb." Like I said, there's a lot going on, and all of it is predictable. I really enjoy both Cho and Gillan. They've both done fantastic work. Cho does his best to bring out his inner Rex Harrison, while Gillan does her best with that American accent. Most important of all, they have good chemistry. Still, the show's earnestness in asking if a social media obsessed girl can really have it all is inundating and yet still falls short.
All the questions audience member should be asking at the end of a pilot are there: Will they end up together? Will she learn how to be a normal, maybe nice person? Will she stop being such a slut? Will she realize that hipsters are people too? (FYI, they're not.)
But it's just the pilot, right? We'll see how it goes in future episodes. I mean I probably won't, but please let me know.