11.09.2014

#Selfie, Social Alienation, and a Tale of Two Nerds

Selfie and Social Alienation

I've recently learned that Selfie's cancellation has been confirmed and much to my surprise, and I'm quite disappointed.  The show has slowly grown on me, the characters were becoming more recognizable, and the episodes were getting increasingly funny.

My main reason for rooting for this show is obvious; I'm a John Cho fan.  Always have been, always will be.  I've already lost count of how many canceled shows he's been on now and I loathe just to think of adding this one to the list.  A commenter on this article even remarked, "America wasn’t dying for a rom-com about a redhead being romanced by an [sic] John Cho? Go figure."

Now, I'm obviously more partial to Blasian romances (obviously), and I'm tired of the (also tired) POC/white pairing trend but I accept that not everyone will agree, and I hate to see such good (and rare) chemistry go to waste.

To be honest, I don't get why the show was canceled once people were finally "getting" the show.  Once the theme of social alienation became fully defined within the narrative, not only did the title Selfie somewhat gain a new level of meaning, but so did the series itself.  The episode "Even Hell Has Two Bars" sealed it when Eliza and Henry are sharing an intimate conversation out in the middle of nowhere, and they withdraw once their phones pick up signal.  Suddenly, they break eye contact, physically move apart, and start skimming emails and texts, eyes glued to their separate screens.

The social alienation brought about by modern technology is a worthy topic with several sub-themes to explore, and once I realized that, I realized how and why Selfie had a potential for longevity.

A Tale of Two Nerds

Reading about Selfie and the varying analyses of social alienation got me thinking about these two guys in my building.  I work in a building which houses multiple companies, one of which is a vast engineering company hording covering several floors.  On the one hand, it's annoying they have so many floors and most of the good parking spots.  On the other hand, I get to see nerds from every end of the spectrum every day and it is awesome.

Ladies of the Narrative would love the Nerd from the 4th Floor; he's just sexy.  He's tall, lanky, with perfectly squared shoulders and perfectly cut jet black hair.  I love, love, love the way he fills out his clothes.  I'm guessing he's in his 30s, because although he appears youthful, he also has that certain grungy, IDGAF demeanor which often results from crossing the Big 3-0.  But, alas...he never speaks to anyone on the elevator, nor makes eye contact.  He spends most of time with his eyes either glued to his phone or glued to the floor.

The Nerd from the 9th Floor is a thoroughbred nerd, replete with the boyish adorkable charm.  He's much shorter than Mr. 4th Floor, and his clothes fit more loosely, but he talks.  Here in the South, men are big on letting women off and onto elevators first, holding open doors, saying a polite greeting, etc., and Mr. 9th Floor is no different.  The morning he greeted me out of the blue, I responded promptly, noting that he'd brought his coworkers cookies.  I told him they were definitely going to love him on his floor, to which he shyly confessed, "Yeah...um, leftover cookies."

Our small-talk conversation continued until he reached the 9th floor, and I noticed that despite his being more sociable than Mr. 4th Floor, Mr. 9th Floor seemed surprised that I was talking to him in the first place (ladies, you know what I mean about some dudes being "surprised" that you're talking them).

This past week over lunch with one of my female friends, she asked why I would even bother checking for Mr. 4th Floor since he seems so closed off.  I had to explain that it wasn't that simple; if you meet a seemingly asocial white guy or black guy who's not making eye contact, and is repeatedly withdrawn into himself, there's a very good chance that's just how he is.  But with an Asian guy, you don't know what you're dealing with until you actually talk to him.  He may seem to shut out the world, but the second you speak to him, he just might perk right up and start chatting away.

It's like the chicken or the egg question: does he withdraw from the world to reject those around him, or does he withdraw because he himself feels rejected?

Henry Higgs's obsessive withdrawal away from people and into his work is a powerful theme on Selfie and needed to be explored further.  As of this past week, we've learned how Henry withdraws, but we haven't even begun to understand what causes him to withdraw in the first place.

And now we've lost a golden opportunity to do so.

7 comments:

  1. I admit to not watching to Selfie or any other comedy with or without POC's in them.Still, I didn't think that it would do well after looking at the shows ratings. Still..I was hoping for John to have better.Maybe one day he'll get the right show that will do well.

    It would be nice that if was put into more dramas, then comedy. I don't know..with Asian men, it's too easy for Hollywood to do as they think that most Asian men are asexual or jokers. even though Selfie didn't resonate with many people.

    I also notice some things about some programs on ABC with minorities on them/writing them. I noticed how quickly they're ready to cancel a show, won't keep on air or if a minority asks for high pay, Hollywood will not budge yet you look at a sorry show like Mistresses ..that doesn't have the greatest ratings...is getting a THIRD season. They did it for them,but in spite of me being disgusted by it at the end..not for Twisted? Isn't that something? If TV exec's could do it for Mistresses, they could have done it for Selfie.

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    1. You know, I'm worried. I worried for Black-ish and Jane the Virgin. These POC-led shows that are coming out and winning points major with POC are getting lukewarm support. I'm having flashbacks to when Mara Brock Akil was talking about how little support she got from the networks when she was running Girlfriends, despite the fact that it was a successful show and at one point, it was the longest-running show of the 21st Century.

      Selfie started off weak, but began to improve and gain a following. At 42, John Cho looks better than most male leads do in their early 30s. This show had potential. It needed time and tweaking and it could've been a success.

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    2. I agree with you about Selfie's potential. Most shows are like that..slow at the beginning, great in the middle and the end. White dominated shows can be given a second chance,but it seems that the networks will not afford for POC shows like Selfie. Regrettably, I never got to look at the show,but judging by you and the comments of other people, the show started to pick up some steam.

      I also will agree with you about the longevity of POC dominated shows. It's funny how they say that they want diversity..to a point. I just think that some networks just want to say we had POC's on TV and set some shows up for failure. I also think that they are..as Lor mentioned in one of her posts..want to take the easy way out and put these sucky reality shows on TV.

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    3. I also will agree with you about the longevity of POC dominated shows. It's funny how they say that they want diversity..to a point. I just think that some networks just want to say we had POC's on TV and set some shows up for failure.

      Pretty much. Either they use us for bait and switch, or they just set the shows up to be canceled.

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  2. By the way, I've since met the Dudes from the 5th and 7th Floors. GOD, I love this building.

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  3. Aw, this show was cancelled already? Jeeze louise. Didn't even get a chance to see it yet :( I've always thought it was such a joy to watch John Cho and was looking forward to seeing him in that now that I have time to catch up on shows during the holidays. Suppose there's nothing to do but enjoy the episodes available, at least. >,<

    Have been seeing promos for The Librarians, which seems like something worth checking out the first episode of, at least. While I'd be far more interested if had someone like Aldis Hodge in the group, since they already have Christian Kane and are already reminiscent of Leverage as it is, I think it'll be interesting to see what they do with John Kim's character (since it seems like they're going to utilize his accent lol)

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    1. Oh, honey...honey, thank you. Thank you sooooo much for that.

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