That posttitle wasn't supposed to sound so snotty, when I first wrote it. The conflict for me is not ivory-tower vs. ABC sitcom; rather, it's personal: a 50-something male vs. a rom-com featuring a heavily lipsticked 20-something actress. My resistance here is akin to my first reluctance to like Ally Condie's Matched series. I may get over this one, too. Forgive me, please, and read on.
|ABC's Selfie stars Karen Gillan and John Cho, premiering 30 September 2014.|
"Selfie is a very loose interpretation of the classic musical My Fair Lady, with “Eliza Dooley” an obvious reincarnation of Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle. In My Fair Lady, the snobbish professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) aims to take an unrefined flower girl (Hepburn), and make her presentable to London high society. Along the way, they both learn a lot about how the other half lives, and a stubborn attraction begins to grow between them.
"Instead of a snobbish professor, Selfie presents Henry as a marketing genius, who considers himself above Eliza and her social media obsession. He takes Eliza on as a project, hoping to turn her into a better human being. Because of the negative connotations of Eliza’s hobbies, she is the one who comes off as snobbish and self-involved to the audience, while Henry (despite the fact that he clearly feels superior to her) is the more sympathetic of the two.
"It is an interesting modernization of such a classic story, and the partial role-reversal opens up for a lot of new possibilities. We’re sure that Henry will manage to refine Eliza’s behaviour towards her fellow human beings, but he’ll probably also find that underneath her layers of makeup and/or Instagram filters, she’s got a lot to teach him, too."
‘"Selfie" is based on George Bernard Shaw's classic 1912 play, "Pygmalion," which has inspired other classics -- notably "My Fair Lady." Now, at this point, all obligatory references to classic plays and motion pictures must come to a screeching halt: "Selfie" is dopey."
“The pilot, which premiers Sept. 30, is much better than its not-very-good name, sort of like the ‘90s Welsh band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.”
(later) …“That said, there's no getting around the fact that this is an update of an iconic character we've always thought of as British, and it's difficult to avoid the question: Can 'Enry 'Iggins be an Asian dude? (The answer in this case is yes, absolutely.) Sure, in a perfect world, there have been so many Asian-American male romantic leads that this casting choice is hardly worth noting as unusual or counter-intuitive, but as Cho himself acknowledges we don't live in that world. There's a reason we still have to call it "colorblind casting" instead of just "casting. Interestingly, the traits that make the classic Henry character tick overlap with commonly held views of Asian-Americans: nerdy, uptight, workaholic."
“Because he's a performer in someone else's script, Cho will probably face less scrutiny for molding Henry in his own image, even as Henry tries to mold Eliza in his. Because he's better known for who he is than what he is — a credit to the range and malleability of his craft — he brings less baggage to the role than another Asian-American actor might. … There's still some history to contend with, though, and if Selfie can find an audience, this revolution might be televised after all.”
“Loosely based on My Fair Lady (which itself was adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion), ABC's latest comedy series Selfie follows the life of Eliza Dooley (a modern-day version of Eliza Doolittle), a woman who's obsessed with all things social media.”