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'Selfie' recap: On trying (and failing) to make friends

Starting to watch a show that you already know has been canceled — and I’m not talking after-a-solid-five-season-run canceled, but wow-the-network-really-bailed-on-that-fast canceled — is like expiration dating. Your time together might be beautiful, but it’s guaranteed to be brief, and you might just be setting yourself up for heartbreak. This series will be dedicated to watching these shows with fresh eyes and an open, breakable heart — starting with ABC’s gone-too-soon rom-com Selfie.

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “A Little Yelp from My Friends” | Aired Oct 14, 2014

What I think I really love about Selfie is that, at its core, it’s about a truly honest attempt at self-betterment. Sure, Eliza might be a little vapid or flaky at times, but she is sincere in her desire to be a better person (or at least, a person she will like more — she isn’t actually a “bad” person to begin with).

Even though I maintain that she isn’t a “bad” person, Eliza does have some tendencies that are less-than-ideal — like her habit of retreating from situations that make her uncomfortable by spacing out or focusing on herself or other distractions, like social media. Episode three, the hilariously-titled, “A Little Yelp from My Friends,” starts with such a moment. During a meeting at work, Eliza’s called out for not knowing her coworkers or paying attention to anyone or anything other than herself and her cell phone. It’s an embarrassing callout, but it acts as a call to action for Eliza: She wants to get to know people.

She tries to bond with her coworkers, particularly Joan, the woman who called her out in the meeting, but she fails. It’s another instance of the show highlighting its central premise: Eliza is great at connecting on social media and atrocious at connecting IRL.

At Henry’s encouragement, Eliza sets out on a quest to bond with Joan. This is Eliza we’re talking about, so she goes about learning all she can about Joan in exactly the way you’d expect: cyberstalking. To Eliza’s immense dismay, Joan is basically invisible on the Internet, but she does love one semi-social site: Yelp. Joan is a top reviewer on Yelp, and Eliza reads all of her reviews in an attempt to bond with her.

As a result, Eliza is able to show up at Joan’s favorite exercise class, bond with her over details about her favorite places to shop, and show up at her door bearing her favorite local pizza. When Joan realizes that Eliza has been stalking her Yelp reviews to get to know her, she’s not happy. She kicks Eliza out, and that office friendship is over before it really began. It’s unfortunate because Eliza’s actions, while a little creepy when taken out of context, were well-intentioned. She wanted to make a connection and help Joan see that she was more than a Twitter addict with perfect hair, and she didn’t see another way to get Joan to look at her differently. It’s a great example of the heart and realism that was infused into Selfie‘s storylines.

It is difficult at times, however, to discern where the show lands on Eliza. Is she rebuffed by Joan because we’re meant to feel for her and empathize with her, or are we meant to see her rejection as a morality tale (“Don’t be obsessed with the Internet, or you’ll NEVER MAKE FRIENDS EVER”)?

I choose to interpret it as the former. Why else would we see Henry, Eliza’s exact opposite in so many ways, fail at the same task? Henry is great at faking connections, but not at following through on real friendship with his coworkers. When Larry, one of his coworkers, is left by his wife, he clings to Henry, who has to learn to interact with Larry beyond casual office niceties. Henry realizes, after helping Larry navigate winning back his wife, that he can’t stand the man — something he says while Larry is in earshot. The lesson seems clear: Trying to force friendships, whether using the Internet or not, is a bad idea.

The episode ends with Eliza and Henry eating lunch together over a trashcan in his office, which he’s had his assistant buy specifically for Eliza to eat over (earlier in the episode, she claimed she had to eat standing up for digestive reasons, but by the end she admits that’s just an excuse she’s made for years so she won’t have to face the rejection of no one wanting to eat with her). Subtle moments like these make me feel really invested in Eliza and Henry’s budding friendship (and probably-eventual-romance, because it is network TV, after all) and prove that even early on, Selfie wasn’t as shallow as its name might imply.

All 13 episodes of season 1 of Selfie are available to stream on Hulu.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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