Laura Tormos ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
This week, Selfie returned with two episodes after its one-week hiatus now that Manhattan Love Story is cancelled and off in Television Show Heaven. Throughout the past episodes they’ve played with the idea that Henry is just as misguided as Eliza. However in these two episodes, they more deliberately flip the script on Henry instructing Eliza. They end up being funny and charmingly written episodes succeeding in showing how close the two are growing—how good and unlikely a team they make. In the first half hour, “Even Hell Has Two Bars,” is clearly the stronger episode of the duo, however, “Never Block Cookies” is still a perfectly fine and charming plus-one.
“Even Hell Has Two Bars” shows Henry and Eliza being invited to a weekend at Sam’s (David Harewood) Santa Barbara estate, named Rancho de Saperstein. According to Henry, being invited to spend the weekend with the boss means a promotion might be on the table. He can also say that the three years and $16,000 he’d spent ensuring he’d make the right impression will have finally paid off. Henry relays this all to Eliza, who reveals that she also got her own invitation, turning the tables. In one of the best but short parts of the episode, she makes a very persuasive argument against Henry underestimating her for not being a “dude in a suit” once he insinuates she was invited as his plus-one. A deliciously stunned Henry asks, “Did you just say ‘furthermore?’” “Indeed, henceforth, ergo, I should be promoted,” she replies. Henry, however, was right.
It was kind of disappointing after that scene; Eliza really was just invited as a plus one. Although Henry was in desperate need of her much more likeable and fun ways to get him through the weekend, it was never acknowledged that she could be a possible contender for a promotion (despite openly admitting to doing kegels to Riff Raff at work). Another somewhat iffy moment was a fight between Henry and Eliza that wasn’t quite as fleshed out due to time restraints. Everything else, however, was very well played out. The lavish atmosphere of Rancho de Saperstein allowed for some very good comedic moments. For example, the mattresses were “stuffed with hand-curled koala fleece” and the Split Bamboo Suite Henry was being named after Yasmin Saperstein’s favorite Kama Sutra position. Henry, being a stickler for all things plans and business, would only discuss his future ventures for work and was hell-bent on sticking to the itinerary. The group, however, kept listening to Eliza, and was steadily growing more and more impatient due to the amount of effort Henry had put into doing well. He was prepared with what he believed was strictly expected of him, and had a hard time going with the flow. Knowing Henry, he probably brushed up on some horseback riding-related humor in addition to general horseback riding-related terms.
Eliza, however, is the teacher this week, and her first lesson for Henry was for him to do one fun thing before the weekend was over. It turns out that Eliza was right, and that was all Sam wanted, too. Henry, however, doesn’t know that yet, and the “one fun thing” he did backfires hilariously. He later blames Eliza and lashes out at her for costing him his promotion. The ending makes it all worth it. Sam finally tells Henry that his mess-up is exactly what he had wanted to see after Henry apologizes about having ruined the weekend. Sam once again voices his positive opinions over this Eliza/Henry partnership, which Henry seems to agree with. Before the scene ends, he sticks up for Eliza, even though she wasn’t in a position in which she really needed sticking up for. He realized that he had been underestimating her and she deserved more.
In the final scene, Henry spots Eliza walking around trying to find a signal and ends up hopping on a white horse and riding out to her. Deep and loving declarations were made and there was some teasing, funny argue-flirting, and sweet-talk. It was cute and full of tension. Eventually, they shut up, and the scene ends with them staring at their phones in the dark.
Going from there to “Never Block Cookies” was a bit of a letdown. Not because it was bad, because it was definitely enjoyable—but this episode should have aired first. By doing this, the double-Selfie night could have ended with a stronger episode, and left the audience feeling a lot more satisfied. The episode is about Eliza and Charmonique (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) helping Henry get laid because Eliza decides he should. Plots like this are always kind of bothersome and problematic, because chalking up someone’s attitude or behavior to their lack of sexual activity is condescending. However Selfie proves it can handle somewhat overdone plots while still presenting a new perspective.
The continued inclusion of secondary characters is appreciated and hopefully something they continue to do, because Eliza and Charmonique make an interesting and sometimes hilarious pair. Enlisting Sam to find out if Henry is disease-free for the sake of the dating profiles the two put together for him is hilarious. After extending an awkward invitation to stand at the urinal next to his, Sam nonchalantly asks Henry, “You ever accidentally downloaded a bad episode of Burn Notice?”
It was also nice to see Eliza do something for someone, which is something she probably would not have done in the pilot. Granted, it is Henry, and it later becomes obvious she has feelings for him when she reveals how picky about his online matches she is. That moment of unbearable romantic tension that occurs between them when she comes over to his house to give him pointers on making excuses for casual touching was unforgettable. The scene culminates with him reaching around her waist and pulling her in, which is definitely not the kind of casual touch most would go for unless you’re about to go in and tongue-tango. Or real-tango. It’s been the most explicit insinuation towards them wanting each other that audiences have had. It would have worked as an amazing lead-up to “Even Hell Has Two Bars.”
Part of what makes Selfie such a good show is its near-perfect balance of romance and comedy. It’s funny first and romantic second, which is what you want in any good rom-com sitcom, and what sets it apart from its two now-cancelled counterparts.
Selfie, despite the initial description of its concept, is not about changing people into what you think they should be. It’s about seeing their value and helping them become the best version of themselves.
Overall Episodes Grade: A-