The fall ABC series “Selfie” isn’t getting a lot of love on the web, most likely because there are a lot of people out there who aren’t fans of the self-absorbed act of snapping a photo of yourself to post on Instagram. However, if I’ve learned anything from watching “The Mindy Project,” it’s this: narcissistic characters who get on your nerves can transform into people you want to be BFFs with.
I know we live in a world obsessed with insta-everything, but there are a plenty of reasons why fans of “The Mindy Project” should patiently give “Selfie” a shot past the pilot if they aren’t insta-impressed right off the bat. Here are six of those reasons.
1. It’s also a TV rom-com.
Mindy Kaling’s FOX series references popular rom-coms like “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Pretty Woman.” “Selfie” is doing something similar, but it’s focusing on just one epic movie romance. In fact, its main characters’ monikers might sound familiar: Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) and Henry Higenbottam (John Cho). It seems like the series is trying to do for “My Fair Lady” what “Bridget Jones’s Diary” did for “Pride and Prejudice.” In other words, it’s a TV series Mindy Lahiri would binge watch while sobbing and sucking wine through a sour straw.
2. Eliza and Mindy are both obsessed with social media.
“Selfie” borrows a “Mindy Project” visual with text message bubbles that pop up on the screen, and you might enjoy the show’s Instagram-inspired plot if you love Mindy’s many messy social media storylines. These include a “Varsity Blues” inspired Skype session ending with a UTI from discount whipped cream, a sexting session with Cliff she doesn’t even get to partake in (her male coworkers sext on her behalf), and a “You’ve Got Mail” romance gone awry. Hopefully the “Selifie” stories about the pitfalls of insta-fame will be just as hilarious (you just know Eliza is also going to have a sex tape).
3. Both shows focus on self-improvement.
In “Selfie,” Eliza decides she wants to change her image after social media plays a part in her life falling apart. She’s humiliated when she’s photographed spilling the contents of two barf bags on an outfit meant to make her female coworkers totes jelly, and her social life outside of social media becomes an #epicfail after she realizes she’s been seeing a married man. This is why she hires marketing guru Henry to help her revamp her vapid image. “The Mindy Project” also began with Mindy reevaluating her life – she had to crash a wedding and crash a stolen bike into a pool to realize she needed to make a change.
Like Eliza, Mindy asks for male help to transform herself. Danny Castellano becomes her personal trainer to help her avoid the indignity of wearing a skirted bathing suit “like a woman who’s just given up on life,” and Peter tries to help her learn how to play hard to get so she can score some sexy time with Schmidt.
Here’s one more important self-improvement similarity: Mindy attempts to “Pretty Woman” a male prostitute, and Henry tries to “Pretty Woman” Eliza. Surely he’ll prove to be a much better Richard Gere.
4. Both shows feature odd couples.
Much like Danny and Mindy, Eliza and Henry seem to have very little in common. However, the brilliant business man and the beautiful bimbo are obviously starting to develop feelings for one another in the “Selfie” trailer. Hopefully this means Karen Gillan’s character undergoes some quick development after being introduced as an empty-headed idiot who can barely hold a conversation in the real world. Just remember this: Mindy came off as an annoying, awful person during the first season of her show.
5. Eliza and Mindy both mask insecurities.
Mindy and Eliza are both gals who buy into fantasies and hide insecurities. Mindy wants her life to be like a romantic comedy, and Eliza wants to live in a social media world where all that matters are the number of likes and followers she can score. Unfortunately, both women find out real life isn’t like the internet or the movies. They also both try to hide who they really are by putting on egocentric acts: Mindy becomes warrior woman Beyonce Pad Thai, and Eliza transforms into her “Selfie” self, @The_Doolio. Mindy’s insecurities seem to mainly stem from her weight, while Eliza’s started in high school. She was a nerd who was voted “most butt” by her cruel classmates, but she grew out of her awkward stage and used her good looks to become a social media star.
6. Gwyneth Paltrow
“The Mindy Project” and “Selfie” also share a common love of making GOOP jokes. In a “Selife” teaser, Henry informs Eliza “it’s possible to be beautiful on the outside and still butt on the inside.” Eliza responds, “Like Gwyneth Paltrow.” Mindy was a bit kinder to the GOOP guru, complaining she didn’t enjoy a novelization of “Iron Man” because she thought Gwyneth would be in it more.
Do you think Eliza will be a Mindy-esque hot mess worth watching when “Selfie” airs on ABC this fall, or will the Instagram-inspired series be an insta-fail?
Photo: ABC/Bob D’Amico
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