A ‘Selfie’ I Can Actually Get Behind

Chances are I’m not among the target demographic for the new ABC comedy Selfie, and that’s all the more reason it should stick around.

The word “selfie” is a polarizing one.  Ending any word with “ie” is an effective way to keep most men from using it.  Couple this with the fact that we’ve become so inundated with the selfshot photo and you’ll likely end up with most people being dismissive of the show solely based on its title.  At first, I wasn’t particularly interested in a show named after a buzzword either.  However, while working my day job, I crossed paths with some of the production staff who were prepping Selfie and they were all very cool people (which always scores points with me) so I decided the show was worth a half hour of my time.  After seeing the pilot, I’d described the show to others as “cute” and decided to stick around the following Tuesday.  Needless to say, I’m glad I did because the show only got better with each episode.

The premise of Eliza (Karen Gillan) being a social media obsessed twenty-something might seem shallow on the surface, but anyone over age 25 (me) can identify with Henry (John Cho) being baffled by how much the virtual world matters so much to someone living in the real world.  I quite enjoyed seeing the skewering of someone’s codependency on social media as their main source of gratification.  Those who choose the easy route of stereotyping would say this is because I live in Los Angeles, the world capital of image-crazed narcissism, but social media obsession is rampant throughout the world, and not just among young women like Eliza.

Over the last few weeks, Selfie has begun coming into its own.  Karen Gillan continues to show off her penchant for physical comedy by making come-hither moves funny rather than sultry, and John Cho has carefully brought more balance to the uptight Henry.  The supporting players have been considerably beefed up, shaping the show into a workplace comedy showcasing a diverse group of characters with stories to explore.  Considering steady viewership of more than three million, this new comedy has a chance at really taking off.

Or does it?

This past Friday, ABC announced they were canceling Selfie, making this show the latest casualty among the romantic comedies that debuted this fall, alongside A-Z and Manhattan Love Story.  In my amateur opinion, taking into consideration that Selfie is an 8 PM show with nothing to lead into it, three to four million viewers is a pretty good start, especially in an age when it’s getting harder to grab and keep an audience’s attention.  It seems only a handful of shows make it beyond their initial 13 episodes to survive for a full season and considering how much more common that is, I believe many people don’t even want to give new shows a chance for fear of becoming invested in something which ultimately might not last.

A few other primetime comedies had a weak start (Cheers and Seinfeld come to mind) and yet went on to great success by developing the show and growing their characters.  Imagine if they’d been taken off the air too soon.  Hey, Selfie is even up for a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New TV Comedy” so clearly somebody’s watching, even if ABC doesn’t think it’s quite enough.

As of now, Episode 7 of the series is set to air this Tuesday night but there’s no word on the remaining six from the series order.  My minimum hope is that we’ll get all 13 episodes so there can be a cohesive story with a conclusion, if nothing else.  I do recommend that everyone catch up on the first six episodes of Selfie on demand and tune into Tuesday’s episode.  Maybe a spike in viewership will help the chances of the show carrying on.  You can also sign this petition on Change.org and tweet using the hashtag #saveSelfie to show your support for the series.

Imagine a show about social media being saved by social media.  You couldn’t plan for a better tie-in than that.

UPDATE (11-24-14): It looks like the remaining episodes of the season will be available on Hulu starting tomorrow, with a new episode going live every Tuesday for the next six weeks.  Spread the news, watch them repeatedly and let’s prove quality shows can survive and thrive, even if they’re not on a major network.

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