Monday, October 6, 2014

Pilot Thoughts: Selfie and Manhattan Love Story

I've noticed that I've been talking about the new shows this fall in pairs even though I didn't mean to do so consciously. In any case, last week's double premiere of ABC sitcoms about men-women relationships made it easy to pair them together. And thus...

I wanted more than anything to fall head over heels in love with the unfortunately titled Selfie mostly due to my love of John Cho and Doctor Who's Karen Gillan. The bad news is that didn't happen, but the good news is the show is actually not as bad as its self-aware trying-too-hard-to-be-hip title. The show is loosely based on My Fair Lady with Gillan playing Eliza, a self-centered social-media obsessed swan who used to be an ugly duckling. She seeks the help of Henry (Cho) to rebuild her image and mild hilarity ensues. Recognizing that is only been one episode, Eliza as a character isn't working at the moment. She's too much of a lame caricature and the fact that Gillan isn't able to use her regular Scottish accent isn't helping matters. I'm hopeful though that her character can evolve (and I can get used to her new accent eventually). The call outs to the various social media trends are also a bit much, but perhaps they'll tone it down in future episodes the way black-ish did with race. The saving grace of the show is the chemistry between Gillan and Cho as well as both of them delivering in the charm department, which is no easy for her saddled with such a work-in-progress character.

Grade: B-
Willingness to continue:
Yes, because I love the actors and definitely see potential for growth. #selfie #badromance

The trailer for Manhattan Love Story appealed to me, because I found the concept of hearing the inner thoughts of a man and a woman as they date and start a relationship pretty intriguing. What I didn't count on where those inner thoughts being predictable and really lame. In the first scene alone our leading man played as dudebro-ingly as possible by Jake McDornan and our leading woman played as neurotically insecurely as possible by Analeigh Tipton think about big boobs and pretty purses respectively. As the episode churns on, you realize that inner thoughts should always be kept to themselves as almost every reductive thought we hear make the characters more unlikable (or stupid). I can see a version of the show where the thoughts are slightly more insightful and both characters deserve happiness (with each other), but unfortunately that's not the version of the show the pilot showed us.

Grade: C-
Willingness to continue:
Relunctantly yes, mostly because it's smack dab between two shows I'm watching at the moment, Selfie and SHIELD.

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