Saturday, December 13, 2014

Selfie 1.08: "Traumatic Party Stress Disorder"

“Don’t concern yourself with my merch!”

And so we begin the first of the Hulu (and burn-off episodes of “Selife.” I’ve got to say again that I’m sad to see this show go. It felt like it was really only just getting started, and the cast is so talented. This episode was fun to watch mostly because of John Cho’s charming performance. I find Henry’s forced formality rather grating, but he is hilarious when he lets himself let loose, and let loose he did in this episode. I often forget that John Cho was known as a comedic actor first, and this episode was a great reminder of that. The sooner Julia is gone, however, the better. She’s just so incredibly stilted and awkward. I thought I was uptight, but Julia takes the cake. The concert Henry goes to in this episode might not have been my top choice of how to spend an evening, but I would have enjoyed watching Henry get so into it. If I left, it would only be because my seriously jacked up back was hurting from standing so long.

This episode begins normally enough. Henry and Eliza are chatting in Henry’s office. Specifically, Henry is trying to get Eliza to use her phone less by telling her about all the germs that are probably on it. Eww. They are interrupted by Charmonique singing the Happy Birthday song for Henry. Apparently it’s part of her job. She’s singing it at this Friday lunch because Henry’s birthday is Saturday and she doesn’t work weekend. The whole contractually obligated to sing for coworkers thing kind of squicked me out. Anyway, Henry doesn’t really want the rest of the office to know it’s his birthday, but the coworkers keep approaching him with presents anyway. Then he hides under Eliza’s desk, but even that doesn’t keep the presents from coming.

Henry decides to make the best of the birthday situation, and he tasks Eliza with finding him a “modest but meaningful” birthday present. You know, as opposed to the crap all his other coworkers have been giving him. Eliza does some Facebook stalking, because social media stalking is what she does best, and she finds a photo of Henry from the 90’s wearing a Blues Traveler shirt. This leads her to get him Blues Traveler tickets for his birthday present. Henry’s reaction to the present is luke warm. He is pleased with the thought she put into the gift, but he puts an effort into not acting psyched to see Blues Traveler at age forty. Later that night in bed, Eliza and Freddie talk about Henry’s reaction to the present (and Freddie understandably is a little weirded out that Eliza thinks about Henry when she’s in bed with him. Anyway, Eliza and Freddie decide to throw Henry a party, even though everybody at the office said that was a spectacularly bad idea.

That evening, Julia and Henry are having a very boring dinner to celebrate Henry’s birthday. Henry brings up wanting to go to the Blues Traveler concert, couching it as a chance to experience some nostalgia. Julia mocks the idea of going to the concert, but she eventually agrees. While Henry is out, Eliza and Freddie scope out his house as their party location. Eliza has elaborate plans, but Freddie urges her to think about what sort of party Henry would actually like. So the guy’s not an idiot after all! Anyway, Henry and Julia arrive at the concert, and while he is awkward at first, pretty soon Henry is jamming out to “Runaround” with the best of them. Julia doesn’t quite know what to do with that. This made me kind of sad, to be honest. Like I said, I’m pretty uptight, but I could always go for some 90’s nostalgia. And watching Henry’s hilarious dancing would make me smile.

Eliza takes Freddie’s advice to heart, and she decides to throw an office themed party since Henry likes work so much. She invites a bunch their coworkers, and all the decorations and food are reminiscent of their office. This is kind of confusing for the KinderKare Pharmaceuticals crowd. There’s a big discussion about whether or not they have to act like they do at work. Joan, of course, takes care of ordering toner. The weirdest bit is that Unicef calls Henry’s house, and the group collectively decides to use his credit card to “adopt” 50 kids and buy a well. I thought Henry would be upset about that, but by the end of the episode, he buys a second well himself. Meanwhile at the concert, Henry has bought (and is wearing some merch), including a shirt and hat. He is completely rocking out and bonding with a fellow concert-goer. Julia gets really irritated by the whole thing and just up and leaves.

When Henry gets home, he’s very pissed to see that there’s a party in progress on the premises. He is an especially bad mood because of what happened with Julia, and the party isn’t helping matters. He takes Eliza into an adjoining room and yells about how he just wanted some peace and quiet after the concert. He makes a comment about not enjoying spending time with his coworkers, and the whole crew gets offended and leaves. Eliza makes a comment about how much it sucks to have nobody celebrate your birthday with you but a bitchy clown (she had a rough time as a kid). Later, we see Eliza, Larry, and Charmonique drinking in Eliza’s apartment, and it’s not a pretty sight. Larry is especially creepy. Julia, meanwhile, shows up at Henry’s house to apologize. Henry accepts the apology, and the next morning, he apologizes to Eliza for how he acted about the party. Eliza shows Henry a freaking awesome Youtube video of Henry dancing at the concert. Henry tries to delete, the video, but of course he ends up Tweeting it instead, so it gets even more publicity! Henry’s lack of social media literacy will never not be funny.

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