May 13, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: ABC’s “Selfie”


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SELFIE:  Tuesday 8PM on ABC

THE FACTS:  Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek may have lost one sitcom this week, but she gained a new one, this spin on My Fair Lady.  Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) is an entirely self-obsessed, social  media-magnet narcissist (think a slightly less sociopathic Dahlia from Suburgatory), but when she herself gets embarrassed after a video of her goes viral, and she comes to realize that no one really really likes her, she hires image consultant Henry Higgins (John Cho) to make her a better person.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  ABC isn’t one of those fuddy-duddy old broadcast networks!  It can make jokes about Facebook, and Twitter, and all those newfangled things the kids are playing with.  (And there’s a Lady Gaga gag, just like NBC’s Mysteries of Laura!)  The series will have its cake and eat it, because every week Eliza can say and do awful things, but then learn a lesson about how wrong it was–and Eliza even has a backstory about what a miserable, ostracized child she was, so viewers won’t loathe her.  Plus the pilot jumps right into the inevitable rom-com pairing of Eliza and Henry.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  Can’t George Bernard Shaw sue?  Lerner & Loewe?  Rex Harrison?  It’s very unclear how this premise can sustain a continuing series, since either Eliza has to become a more caring human being with reasonable speed or look like there’s something seriously wrong with her.  The chemistry between Gillan and Cho seems force-fed.  Also:  does the target audience for this show even know what My Fair Lady is?

THE OUTLOOK:  Uncertain at best.  Selfie is being asked to open a night against The Voice, and the one thing it has going for it is that it’s the only comedy against a pair of reality shows (Utopia on FOX being the other) and (probably) NCIS.  That kind of match-up didn’t help Glee this season, and it’s unlikely to help this one either, especially since kind reviews are, to put it mildly, unlikely.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."