In 2011 when I heard that Zooey Deschanel was getting her own sitcom titled “New Girl” I couldn’t wait to see it. Despite the fact that I’m nearly twice her age, I’ve always had a big crush on her. I know she always plays characters that are a little bit ditzy and I go for the more intellectual nerdy types but she is just unbearably cute. Unfortunately her show “New Girl” just didn’t show me anything interesting. I don’t know if she was too ditzy or if her roommates just want interesting or the show just wasn’t funny or romantic or any of the things I expected it to be. It’s in its fourth season now. I don’t know why. Maybe 20 something-year-olds get into it more than an old fart like me.
When I found out that Karen Gillan was getting a sitcom I try not to get as enthusiastic. While I have the same sort of dirty old man crush on her as I did with Zooey ever since I first saw her in Doctor Who as the doctor’s companion Amy Pond. While she does have a similar bubbly personality, the character she played in Who at least did have a brain and could hold her own against the Doctor. The title of this new ABC sitcom “Selfie” also didn’t give me much hope. It sounded to me like they picked the hot new word of the day for a title to draw people in. So I had especially low expectations and brace myself for high disappointment when I watched the first episode.
Even my pre-lowered not very high expectations were not even nearly met. I didn’t really know what the show was going to be about. As it turns out the concept isn’t that bad on paper. Basically it’s a remake of “My Fair Lady” for the 21st century. Gillan plays Eliza Dooley (wink wink to Eliza Doolittle). She works for a pharmaceutical company in the sales department. She is extremely self-absorbed and addicted to social media. She has thousands of “friends” on Facebook and other sites but no actual friends in real life. She dresses outrageously. We are told that she is a sex addict but don’t look for any even PG rated scenes of her in bed. The show opens with her caught in an embarrassing airsickness incident on board a plane with a bunch of her colleagues snapping pictures on their cell phones and thereby making her into one of those people that she likes to make fun of on the internet. The fact that she is a self absorbed image-conscious person actually gives an interesting double meaning to the title “Selfie”. So the title isn’t as ridiculous as it seems.
She then enlists a marketing man named Henry (don’t know if his name is Higgins or not) to give her a kind of social makeover and turn her into the kind of person that could have actual friends. Henry is played by John Cho a.k.a. Harold from the Harold and Kumar films and as Sulu in the reboot of Star Trek. The classic George Bernard Shaw “My Fair Lady/Pygmalion” storyline seems to me to be a ripe idea for a 21st-century update. While it did have a few tender moments, most of it was so ridiculous that it was unwatchable.
I could attempt to watch an otherwise ridiculous show just to see Karen Gillan. Maybe as the show progressed it would improve as Eliza is gradually transformed. But it seems to me that as she is attempting to suppress her Scottish accent, a lot of the charm has gone out of her personality. I really wonder if she could play the part better by going ahead and using her natural voice.
Based solely upon my Karen Gillan obsession I will give it another one or two episodes but for 99% of you my rating and recommendation is “Skip It”.