Selfie (TV series)
Selfie is an American romantic comedy series starring Karen Gillan and John Cho. The program, which was created and executive produced by Emily Kapnek for Warner Bros. Television, debuted on ABC during the 2014–15 television season. The series premiered on September 30, 2014. The pilot was made available early through video on demand and online streaming media on August 20, 2014.
|Created by||Emily Kapnek|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||21–22 minutes|
|Production companies||Piece of Pie Productions|
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||ABC (Episode 1–7)|
Hulu (Episode 8–13)
|Picture format||720p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||September 30 –|
December 30, 2014
The show was canceled mid-season by ABC on November 7, 2014. On November 13, after broadcasting the seventh episode, ABC announced that they would pull the remaining episodes of Selfie and replace them with encore episodes of Shark Tank and Thanksgiving/Christmas specials.
On November 25, 2014, the first of the remaining six episodes was released online on Hulu, WatchABC.com, and other video on demand platforms. The rest followed on a weekly basis, with the last episode airing on December 30, 2014.
The series follows the life of Eliza Dooley, a junior executive at KinderKare Pharmaceuticals. She is obsessed with the idea of achieving fame through the use of social media platforms, including Instagram, where she regularly posts selfies. She begins to worry that "friending" people online is not a substitute for real friendship, and she seeks help from co-worker Henry Higgs, a marketing image guru.
The character names are a reference to Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, the main characters of the 1912 George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion, further popularized by the 1956 musical My Fair Lady. In the play and musical, Henry is tasked with improving Eliza's social status, and ends up falling in love with his own creation. The Shaw play is in turn inspired by a story from Greek mythology, that of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had created. The series featured modern social problems and music.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Karen Gillan as Eliza Dooley (based on Eliza Doolittle)
- John Cho as Henry Higgs (based on Henry Higgins)
- Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Charmonique Whitaker
- Allyn Rachel as Bryn, Eliza's nerdy neighbor.
- David Harewood as Sam Saperstein, chairman of KinderKare Pharmaceuticals
- Giacomo Gianniotti as Freddy (Based on Freddy Eynsford-Hill), Eliza's boyfriend
- Allison Miller as Julia Howser, a pediatric urologist that Henry dated
- Samm Levine as Terrance, a KinderKare office floater (later promoted to customer service) who marries Sam's daughter Maureen in the pilot episode, becoming the son-in-law of Sam and Yazmin Saperstein
- Brian Huskey as Larry, fellow KinderKare Pharmaceuticals employee who works in the testing lab
- Martin Lawrence as Charlie, Henry's assistant
- Jennifer Connelly as Joan, fellow KinderKare Pharmaceuticals employee and Saperstein's secretary
- Patty Troisi as Linda, another KinderKare employee
- Nikhil Pai as Raj, KinderKare's new Human Resources employee
- Hayley Marie Norman as Maureen Saperstein, married to Terrance, daughter of Sam and Yazmin Saperstein
- Natasha Henstridge as Yazmin Saperstein, the wife of Sam Saperstein, mother of Maureen and mother-in-law of Terrence
- Kelsey Ford as Prue, Bryn's friend and member of the book club
- Coleen Smith as Wren, Bryn's friend and member of the book club
- Amanda Jane Cooper as Eyelet, Bryn's friend and member of the book club
- Sapir Azulay as Thistle, Bryn's friend and member of the book club
- Keith L. Williams as Kevin, Charmonique's son
- Tim Peper as Ethan, Henry's friend at KinderKare. Ethan appeared in the pilot episode, and was in promotional images with the main cast, but left the show after that
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Julie Anne Robinson||Emily Kapnek||September 30, 2014||276081||5.31|
|2||"Un-Tag My Heart"||Phil Traill||Amelie Gillette||October 7, 2014||4X6853||3.77|
|3||"A Little Yelp from My Friends"||Alex Hardcastle||Jessica O'Toole & Amy Rardin||October 14, 2014||4X6852||3.44|
|4||"Nugget of Wisdom"||Alex Hardcastle||Emily Kapnek||October 21, 2014||4X6854||3.82|
|Henry challenges Eliza to help others during the weekend, so she offers to babysit Charmonique's young son, Kevin, while Charmonique is at her high school reunion, in an attempt to reconnect with Mitchell McMoney (Isaiah Mustafa), her high school sweetheart. However, Mitchell has become a priest and spends the evening berating Charmonique for having a child out of wedlock. Charmonique realizes that she is a great mother to Kevin, tells Mitchell that she regrets nothing about her life choices, and that she loves herself. Charmonique ends up dancing by herself at the reunion, but does so happily. While babysitting Kevin, Eliza tries to one up Fit Brit (Amber Rose), a fellow socialite. Henry tries to come up with a way to improve a chewable vitamin that put KinderKare Pharmaceuticals on the map.|
|5||"Even Hell Has Two Bars"||Eric Appel||Brian Rubenstein||November 4, 2014||4X6856||3.67|
Sam Saperstein invites Eliza and Henry to spend the weekend at his Santa Barbara estate. Henry uses the opportunity to aim for a promotion. Eliza tries to loosen up the other guests, which only foils Henry's attempts to prove himself. Henry gets the promotion though, and the two reconcile, with Henry admitting to have grown accustomed to her face.Note: Despite airing directly before the episode "Never Block Cookies", the two episodes are chronologically switched. Terrence mentions his promotion to customer service at the start of "Even Hell Has Two Bars" but is promoted towards the end of "Never Block Cookies".
|6||"Never Block Cookies"||Eric Appel||Brian Rubenstein||November 4, 2014||4X6855||3.23|
|Seeing how stressed Henry is, Eliza and Charmonique try to liven up his love life. In the process of getting Henry ready for (unbeknownst to him) a night out with dozens of potential dates, Eliza and Henry share a possible spark of romance, which they both quickly ignore. Upon realizing what Eliza and Charmonique have planned, Henry storms out, but runs into Julia, a woman who is as stiff and socially awkward as he is. They leave together. Terrance tries to seek the approval of his father-in-law Sam Saperstein. Upon realizing that Terrence does not become angry, (Sam even tells Terrence that Terrence is not good enough to be married to Sam's daughter), Sam decides that such a personality is well suited for customer service, and promotes him.|
|7||"Here's This Guy"||Christine Gernon||Brian Chamberlayne||November 11, 2014||4X6857||3.25|
|Henry begins a courtship with Julia, a pediatric urologist, eliciting jealously from Eliza over the decreasing time they share together. After Eliza posts immature comments about Julia on a review site for doctors, Henry calls off his sessions with Eliza, who is preparing to introduce a speaker at a pharmaceutical conference. Eliza apologizes to Julia and bakes her a cake in the shape of the human urinary tract, upon which the two come to an understanding, if not a friendship. After making the introduction, Eliza finds that Henry did attend after all, and cries with happiness when he agrees to continue their lessons.|
|8||"Traumatic Party Stress Disorder"||Joe Nussbaum||Sierra Teller Ornelas||November 25, 2014||4X6858||N/A|
|For Henry's fortieth birthday, Eliza gets him tickets to see his favorite band, Blues Traveler. The concert creates friction between him and his girlfriend Julia, who is turned off by Henry's outgoing side being brought out by the music. Eliza also throws Henry a surprise birthday party, inviting the KinderKare staff while he is away at the concert, but upon arrival he is upset, with Julia having left. While Henry regrets yelling at Eliza and his coworkers, Julia returns later and admits her own discomfort. She admits that she can be cold at times, but that she is dedicated to their relationship, and upon kissing Henry, offers to spend the night. The next day, Henry admits to Eliza that he had a very good birthday.|
|9||"Follow Through"||Claire Scanlon||Eric Ledgin||December 2, 2014||4X6859||N/A|
|Henry convinces Eliza to follow through on her good ideas (specifically about a way to boost diaper cream sales). Upon getting asked to meet his parents, Eliza realizes that her relationship with Freddy is getting serious, which freaks her out. Meanwhile, after turning down the advances of Wren, one of Bryn's friends, Henry tries to convince Bryn to make Sam's favorite sandwich, which was being withheld. At dinner with Freddy's parents, Eliza realizes that her relationship with Freddy isn't really love and breaks up with him. Back in her apartment's elevator, she thinks about her friendship with Henry, the memories of her and Henry and how Henry is her only true ally who would always be there for her. When the elevator door opens, Henry is there (having come to apologize to Wren during a book club meeting). Eliza seductively, on the other side of the elevator, "reveals herself" in front of Henry, following through on her idea that the two of them could be together. Henry freaks out and leaves, but Eliza decides not to get discouraged, and vows to continue to follow through.|
|10||"Imperfect Harmony"||Elliot Hegarty||Sarah Tapscott||December 9, 2014||4X6860||N/A|
|Eliza attempts to find out Henry's feelings towards her, and in one confrontation, she admits to have fallen in love with him. Henry is in denial of his own obvious feelings towards Eliza, while also doubting that Eliza has any real feelings towards him. Henry decides that the risk is worth it to pursue a relationship with Eliza, but backs off after talking to a drunk Freddy at an office party. Henry wonders if a fear of commitment is why Eliza dumped Freddy and is pursuing him instead. Eliza is insulted by this theory, and tells Henry that she can see through his own relationship with Julia and how he is not in love with her. Julia, who was going to surprise Henry at the party, overhears and exits. Henry claims to be following after her, causing Eliza to revert to her party girl mentality, drinking heavily and ending up in bed with Freddy again. Henry, meanwhile, has not gone after Julia and begins to regret his choice of not being with Eliza.|
|11||"Perestroika"||Claire Scanlon||Jessica O'Toole & Amy Rardin||December 16, 2014||4X6861||N/A|
|Tension begins to brew in the workplace between the two after Henry cannot reciprocate his feelings towards Eliza. A dire financial situation befalls her, due to her reckless spending, which forces her to be evicted from her apartment. With no one to turn to, she seeks out Henry's help on her finances to control her spending, which in turn reconciles their friendship between them. Eliza and Julia have an unexpected confrontation, leading Eliza to realize that Henry and Julia are no longer a couple. Meanwhile, Eliza and Freddy decide to take their relationship to a more serious stage.|
"Stick in the Mud"
|Danny Leiner||Mathew Harawitz & Brian Rubenstein||December 23, 2014||4X6862||N/A|
|Eliza's sister, Bethany, visits. This reveals a childhood sibling rivalry once shared between them, which Eliza is unable to let go. KinderKare Pharmaceuticals holds its annual charity event, but decides to forgo the usual 10 km run for an obstacle mud run. This displeases Henry, as this event is Freddy's forte. Eliza suggests that Freddy mentor him on this event. During training, Freddy cannot help but harbor animosity towards Henry and their fighting during the actual race allows Charmonique to pull off a surprise win. An important lesson is learned through this ordeal, in which differences are overcome between Henry and Freddy as well as Eliza and Bethany.|
|13||"I Woke Up Like This"||Eric Appel||Amelie Gillette & Brian Chamberlayne||December 30, 2014||4X6863||N/A|
|With Henry's help, Eliza confronts her old school rival, Corynn McWatters (Julianna Guill), who has been selling a book in which she claims the unpopularity, loneliness, and bullying that Corynn had in fact inflicted upon Eliza during middle school. Through this Eliza learns to accept and embrace her former, more awkward self, and to see herself as a role model given how far she has come in life. Henry has challenged himself to skateboard on a ramp after merely having pretended to be a skateboarder ever since high school. Breaking an arm in the process, he now sports a cast with "NO FEAR" written on it, and reflects upon his adventures with Eliza. Henry decides that he has the courage to eventually express his feelings to Eliza, but will wait until the right time.|
|1||"Pilot"||September 30, 2014||1.6/5||5.31||0.3||0.78||1.9||6.09|
|2||"Un-Tag My Heart"||October 7, 2014||1.1/4||3.77||0.4||0.97||1.5||4.74|
|3||"A Little Yelp From My Friends"||October 14, 2014||1.0/3||3.44||0.3||0.85||1.3||4.29|
|4||"Nugget of Wisdom"||October 21, 2014||1.1/4||3.82||0.3||0.84||1.4||4.65|
|5||"Even Hell Has Two Bars"||November 4, 2014||0.9/3||3.67||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|6||"Never Block Cookies"||November 4, 2014||0.9/3||3.23||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|7||"Here's This Guy"||November 11, 2014||0.9/3||3.25||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The series premiered in Australia on streaming platform Stan in 2015. The series began on TV2 in New Zealand on August 30, 2015. It will be available on Netflix in New Zealand from 29 March 2018.
The producers initially intended to cast Henry Higgs as a white British man who was several generations older modeling after the original character. The casting process was very extensive. The creator, Emily Kapnek said, "We looked at tons of different actors, and really once we kind of opened our minds and said let’s get off of what we think Henry is supposed to be and just talk about who is, we just need a brilliant actor—and John [Cho]’s name came up." She also mentioned that the ABC network was the one to suggest color-blind casting.
Selfie was originally intended to have a full first season with 26 episodes in total. One of the writers, Brian Rubenstein, mentioned to The A.V. Club, "I know we had a plan for what the next 13 [episodes] was going to be for their story, but I can’t for the life of me think of it right now!"
In the sixth episode, "Never Block Cookies" written by Rubenstein and aired before the cancellation was announced, the writer described the behind the scenes with Gillan and Cho's characters, Eliza and Henry, having an intimate moment, which lead to an almost kiss. Rubenstein said that he remembered that moment in particular: “Emily came down and was sort of orchestrating how that whole thing would go. Just the chemistry between those two was really cool to watch; it felt that way on set.”
Cancellation and fan campaignEdit
Despite reasonable potential for the series, Selfie had problems attracting an audience. Ratings slipped after the first episode to an undesirable 0.9, and remained stagnant through the season. As a result of this, ABC announced that Selfie would be cancelled on November 7, 2014.
Fans began a #SaveSelfie campaign to keep the television show on the air. A fan from Kentucky, Erika Lawson, created a change.org petition for a second season renewal with over 27,000 supporters in that same month and later reached 65,419 supporters the following year. Fans also made fan media, held contests, and a fundraiser to bring more awareness to the movement. Another fan, Heather Johnson, retweeted as many #SaveSelfie hashtags as possible and created "Save Selfie" t-shirts and caps. She also tweeted a picture of herself with her boyfriend using the same pose as actors on the show depicting a similar relationship as a White-American woman and Asian-American man highlighting that representation in media is important. The seventh episode of Selfie was aired on November 11, 2014, which would be later realized to be the final aired episode on network television. On that same day, Guy Aoki, founder of Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), pitched in to help with the cause by contacting ABC President Paul Lee and diversity head Tim McNeal inquiring what could be done to save the show. While Lee was a big champion of the sitcom, the rating numbers were not there. When sponsors place ads on a television program, the network guarantees a target number. If it does not reach the audience target number, the network would have to refund the money to the sponsors and end up losing money. The next step would to ask advertisers to be patient to give the series a chance grow, but the ABC network did not give any more opportunities to broadcast the rest of the episodes. Aoki noted that Selfie series trended on Twitter in the Los Angeles area peaking at #5 with 50,000 tweets about the show in a month. Many fans from around the world U.S., U.K., Italy, China, Brazil, and Russia expressed their grief over the cancellation.
While many fans were complacent with news, MANAA was still determined that the studio should try to shop to another network. After Johnson attended a meeting with MANAA, she attempted to contact the Warner Brothers president at the time, Peter Roth, since the show was produced by the same company. However, Roth's secretary hung up on the fan twice. She also sent an email message to Roth's office, only to receive a message from Selfie's publicist. Aoki followed up with Roth, while the company was “definitely aware” of the #SaveSelfie movement, but they could not reveal if there was any plan to save the series. Since the studio released the episodes for free online, it was determined that they were not interested in shopping to another television network. However, persistent efforts from the fans helped push the online release of the remaining episodes sooner than normally expected, which was about two weeks after the cancellation.
After the cancellation was announced, dedicated fans attempted to revive the show by showing their support on social media with hashtag #SaveSelfie, email messages, phone calls, and a change.org petition with a total 65,419 signatures in 2015. However, no other television network picked up the series. Hulu and ABC.com were only able to show the rest of the unaired episodes for a limited time.
In January 2018, in an interview with John Cho on one of NPR's podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Linda Holmes said, "People still really miss and talk about Selfie. It goes by on my Twitter feed relatively frequently how much people miss it." Cho also said he misses the show. He mentioned that it was very fulfilling for him and that he had such a good time working on the series.
In October 2020, Alexis Nedd from Mashable wrote an article about Selfie and mentioned that the show would greatly benefit with a different name. The show displayed good comedy, engaging characters, consistent emotional arc, and strong chemistry between the romantic leads. Nedd also mentioned it was "one of the first sitcoms to address social media addiction and influencers with nuance and understanding."
In a July 2021 interview with Karen Gillan and Refinery29, Gillan said she still gets constant tweets from fans saying they miss the show. The actress is also open to revisit the show with John Cho suggesting a smaller project. She was also informed that she is most known for Selfie on her IMDb page.
Awards and nominationsEdit
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- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 8, 2014). "ABC Greenlights 'Secrets & Lies', 'Selfie', 'Manhattan Love Story', 'Agent Carter', 'Forever', 'How to Get Away With Murder', 'Black-ish', 'American Crime', 'Galavant' & 'The Whispers'". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on May 11, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- Levin, Gary (May 14, 2014). "ABC courts women with fall schedule". USA Today. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
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- Bibel, Sara (October 16, 2014). "Revised Tuesday, October 7 Final Ratings: 'Selfie', 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' & 'Forever' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Bibel, Sara (October 15, 2014). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'The Flash', 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.', 'The Voice' & 'The Mindy Project' Adjusted Up; 'About A Boy' & 'Chicago Fire' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (October 22, 2014). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'The Voice', 'The Flash' & 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Adjusted Up; 'Marry Me' Adjusted Down + Final World Series Numbers". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
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- Bibel, Sara (November 12, 2014). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'The Voice' & 'The Mindy Project' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'NCIS' Most-Viewed, 'The Voice' Tops Among Adults 18-49". TV Media Insights. October 1, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'The Flash' Debuts Big for CW". TV Media Insights. October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "Tuesday Final Ratings: Respectable 'Marry Me' Debut". TV Media Insights. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- "Tuesday Final Nationals: Record-Low World Series Game 1 Viewership". TV Media Insights. October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
- Knox, David (11 August 2015). "Stan signs content deal with Warner Bros". TV Tonight. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Karen Gillian discusses Selfie". September 7, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- "Star Trek's John Cho breaks barriers as romantic lead: 'I would call this revolutionary'". thestar.com. 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- "Saddled with a terrible title, Selfie was cut down just as it was coming into its own". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
- Saraiya, Sonia (November 11, 2014). "Why "Selfie's" cancellation is a massive shame: This was the most promising interracial couple on TV". Salon. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- Aoki, Guy (2014-11-29). "INTO THE NEXT STAGE: The Surprising International Campaign to Save 'Selfie'". Rafu Shimpo. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
- Littleton, Cynthia (November 24, 2014). "'Selfie' Unaired ABC Episodes Head to Hulu". Variety. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- The Deadline Team (November 25, 2014). "'Selfie' & 'Manhattan Love Story' Unaired Episodes Headed To Hulu – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- momo (2014-11-18). ""Selfie" Cancellation Causes Fans to Spring into Action". CAAM Home. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
- "John Cho On Representation, 'Columbus' And His Need To Slip On A Few Banana Peels". NPR.org. Retrieved 2021-08-13.
- Nedd, Alexis (2020-10-15). "'Selfie' was a terrific show hiding behind a terrible title". Mashable. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
- Stahler, Kelsea. "Karen Gillan Never Meant To Be Action Hero — But Now She's Killing The Game". www.refinery29.com. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
- How Well Does Karen Gillan Know Her IMDb Page?, retrieved 2021-08-02
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