ABC has proven itself capable of delivering creatively strong comedies over the years, though almost all of them don’t last long (see: the late, lamented Trophy Wife, underrated gem Suburgatory, gone-too-soon Happy Endings, very funny Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, subversive Better Off Ted and, looking back further, cult classic Pushing Daisies). It’s too early to tell whether Selfie, starring Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame, will join that lineup of strongly written, low-rated comedies, but the pilot episode shows some promise, despite a few missteps.
Centering on Eliza Dooley (Gillan), a self-obsessed sales rep in her early twenties, Selfie takes aim at the general public’s crippling addiction to social media. Eliza is “Insta-famous,” having amassed 263,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Out of those ‘friends,’ though, she can only claim to know a select few. Everything about Eliza is built for public consumption, from her perfect body (openly ogled by the camera) to her vampish lipstick and Louboutins. Caught up in her online identity, Eliza misses a few key details about what’s happening around her. To name one, she’s sleeping with a co-worker named Miller (Blake Hood) but doesn’t pick up on the fact that he’s married. For another, none of her co-workers possess even a modicum of respect for her – to them, she’s just another attraction of being plugged in, and they’re more than happy to tear her down given half the chance.
Both of those aspects of Eliza’s life collide on a work flight, when she spots a wedding ring tanline on her hook-up’s finger and becomes violently ill. Suddenly an object of ridicule, Eliza’s rude awakening continues after the flight, as none of her friends voice concern for her well-being, and she realizes that the social media presence she’s cultivated doesn’t translate into real life. Desperate to ‘rebrand,’ Eliza turns to cynical marketing rep Henry (John Cho), who reluctantly takes her under his wing and attempts to teach her the basics of off-screen human interaction.