“Selfie” Does a 180° Mid-Episode

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Last night, I actually found myself dreading to watch this show again. I had hit the line where reviewing it started to feel like a chore. But “Nugget of Wisdom” was hardly what I expected. It’s funnier, sharper, and drives home a genuine message.

In the opener, Selfie actually addresses one of my earlier issues that Henry was starting to feel kind of nagging and annoying and turns out Eliza feels the same way. The debate over the true meaning of “Working for the Weekend” was chuckle-worthy and provided a funny recurring joke for the ending. One of the best ways this episode exceeded my expectations and made me beyond happy was the graduation of Charmonique from “sassy black woman trope” to an important, story-driving, developed character. The episode focuses on Henry’s encouragement to Eliza to help others over the weekend instead of partying to reclaim her Instagram crown, and she challenges him in return to not do any work over the weekend and have fun. Eliza immediately finds her charity case when Charmonique agrees to let her help with her high school reunion outfit. Charmonique plans on reuniting with Mitchell, the “one who got away”.

At this point, my level of enthusiasm for the episode was still below where it needed to be. Henry faces an entirely uninteresting conflict in the form of another new forgettable male model co-worker. Henry’s first re-brand project, a chew-able vitamin as we learn in a disruptive monologue sequence, is about to get the axe if he doesn’t find a way to save it. But Eliza challenged him to stay away from work for the weekend. Oh, whatever shall he do? Selfie has made a habit of expecting viewers to care about subplots and characters without ever offering a good reason why. Keep this bland subplot in mind, it comes back in a surprising way.

While Eliza is helping her pick out wigs and making incredibly timely references to Renée Zellweger, Charmonique’s babysitter calls in sick and she has to stay home to watch her perfectly deadpan son Kevin. Charmonique tries to hint that Eliza could offer to babysit in a joke that got dragged out, overplayed, and almost fell flat if not for Karen Gillan’s coy expressions. Eliza does offer to watch Kevin so that Charmonique can go out and get her soul mate. She arrives, looking fabulous, and when she spots the scarf-clad Mitchell, she pushes aside her old friends and dramatically crosses the threshold. Mitchell seems similarly regretful of how they left things off, never to see each other again. He mentions how she was a single mother, but Charmonique cuts him off so they can continue somewhere more private. She walks off screen, and Mitchell turns, whipping off his scarf, revealing a pastor’s collar.

And my eyes widened while my mouth dropped. This was the exact turning point of the episode, where one small, brilliantly executed joke can snowball into a hilarious episode. I think that this joke probably made me open up more to the rest of the episode. Back at Charmonique’s home, Eliza is bummed out that her rival is winning the Instagram war, and Kevin serves as an unexpected source of wisdom by offering an alternate way to win. Together, they rig the room to look like a thumping rave and take pictures to create the illusion of a wild night. Seeing this on Eliza’s account, Henry rushes over to yell at her for having a child at a wild party, only to find a couple of wigs, laser lights, and DJ Kevin. At Henry’s entrance, Kevin begins playing Korean Pop music and Henry moans “Oh, just because I’m Korean means I like K-POP right?” Henry pauses and stares for a few moments, then slowly starts grooving to the beat as I crack up laughing on the couch.

Mitchell and Charmonique’s conversation goes poorly, as Mitchell chastises her for committing fornication, having unmarried sex as evidenced by her son. A heavily disappointed Charmonique gets fed up and leaves, saying “I have to check in on my son.” Mitchell BRILLIANTLY retorts, “Could you also check in on the Son of God?” Absolutely the best joke on the show. At this point I’m realizing I’m really enjoying the episode, but the best is yet to come. Eliza and Henry try to tuck Kevin in for bed, but when they leave Kevin starts crying face-down into his bed, with a noise that can only be described as a warped donkey laugh. I couldn’t stop laughing at that sound. Every. Single. Time. Henry’s odd look and hesitant, “There, there… Don’t… make that noise.” was golden. You really just have to hear it to understand, if you haven’t watched the episode yet.

Charmonique calls and gives Eliza and Henry the trick to getting Kevin to go to sleep, which is chicken nuggets before bed. This causes Charmonique to realize that she is a great mother, and prompts her to go back and tell Mitchell off in the greatest moment of the episode. Charmonique becomes a shining light of self-love when she proclaims that no matter how much Mitchell may try to make her feel bad about her decisions, she has no regret. She swaggers onto the dance floor and basks in the glory of a Mary J. Blige song. This is the first time Selfie has succeeding in providing ample reason to care about a character arc, but it’s not done yet.

Henry’s uninteresting conflict about the vitamins? It turns interesting. After Eliza tries to retrieve a nugget from sleeping Kevin’s stone-cold death grip, Henry realizes that kids would eat vitamins all the time if they came in nugget form. Eliza points out the flaw in the idea, wondering how parents would keep their kids from eating too many and overdosing, which is how Henry strikes real gold. Henry and Eliza present the case to Sapperstein and the board, pitching that vitamins coming in all different tasty forms have the potential to harm children rather than help, and that a regular old chalky, tangerine flavored vitamin is the safest option for nutritional supplements. The pitch is a success and Henry beats whats-his-name-rival, and Sapperstein mistakes Henry and Eliza for a couple, implying they’re an unstoppable powerhouse. Of course, Henry attempts to correct his boss, but Sapperstein insists they’re perfect for each other, leading to a prolonged gaze at Eliza and the first seeds of Henry’s inevitable affection.

This episode did well, and I’m excited to see the beginnings of Eliza and Henry’s relationship after only 4 episodes. Selfie really turned itself around in my eyes, even though the ending mention of Eliza ruining Charmonique’s 60,000 dollar wig collection kind of put an unnecessary damper on things.

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