Saturday, January 24, 2015

Selfie 1.13: "I Woke Up Like This"

“That was my story! Except for the soup part. As I recall, I pity binged on Snackwells and Crystal Pepsi. But, other than that, can you believe this? Huh? That bitch stole my life!”

And so we say goodbye to “Selfie,” the second unfortunately-named comedy created by Emily Kapnek (the other is the equally charming “Suburgatory”). While “I Woke Up Like This” didn’t provide complete closure, it was at least a decent-enough place to pause the story, and the episode itself was one of the short-lived series’ best. I liked that by the end of the episode, Eliza finally truly saw her self-worth. I always thought that the whole “I blew out my curls and pushed up the girls” pharma girl was a character that the true, still insecure “Most Butt” Eliza Dooley put on, and I think that was demonstrated pretty clearly in this episode. Plus, I think Henry made some pretty significant strides with his own issues. He confronted the fact that he was most definitely not cool as a kid, and he no longer wants to live in fear.

The episode opens with Eliza walking us through her morning beauty routine, which apparently takes three hours. The three hour routine made her late for a Women in Pharma brunch at work. Henry is disappointed in her for this, because he thinks it would have been a great opportunity for Eliza to find a role model. His own role model, for some reason I don’t quite understand, is Dave Thomas (the founder of Wendy’s). I like Wendy’s food just fine on the scale of fast food, and I guess I kind of owe part of the good lifestyle I had growing up to the company since they were a major client of the company my dad worked for, but I just thought it was a rather random choice specifically for Henry. Anyway, Henry breaks out his Dave Thomas biography, and Eliza notices a Vans sticker on the back cover. Henry cops to having been a skater kid. Henry also gives Eliza her new assignment. She is to find a role model.

Eliza starts her new mission by evaluating whether any of her coworkers could be potential role models. She asks both Joan and Charmonique what they would recommend to someone who wants to live a life similar to theirs. Neither of the two ladies works out as Eliza’s role model, but Eliza’s exchange with Charmonique was especially funny. Charmonique basically said that nobody could ever hope to be her because she is one-of-a-kind. Which she is! Speaking of Charmonique, she also in this episode asks Henry to teach her son how to skateboard. He’s got a lot of health problems, and she wants to find something more active for him to enjoy.

After a lot of pondering, Eliza decides that her high school nemesis, mean girl Corynn McWaters, is going to be her role model. Corynn seems to have an Instagram-perfect life. She’s even publishing a cook book/memoir. Henry expressing some misgivings about Eliza adopting Corynn as a role model. Corynn was a pretty horrible person in high school, after all. But she does have a goldendoodle, the most awesome of all kinds of dogs. John Cho, for the record, was on fire in this episode. The scene where Charmonique asks him to teach Kevin how to skateboard and a moment where he is cooing over a picture of Corynn’s goldendoodle both had me laughing hysterically.

Henry’s skateboarding lesson, as you might predict, is a complete bust. Henry gives a really long, boring lecture to Charmonique and Kevin about the history of skateboarding as they sit on the sidewalk. It quickly becomes apparent that Henry isn’t just being nerdy, he’s stalling for time because he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. The kids tell Kevin to come to the skatepark and they’ll teach him properly. The kids call Henry a “poser,” which understandably upsets Henry. I guess this is an example of me being super naïve, but for a little bit, I actually believed Henry might have been a legit skater kid. It seemed like the kind of thing Henry would have done as a kid but wanted to keep on the down low later as he developed his super serious executive persona. And because Henry is extremely motivated and reasonably athletic (see the previous episode where he competes in the office mud run), I thought he might have actually been able to skateboard. Apparently not.

Anyway, Eliza and Henry go to Corynn’s book signing. Eliza has a nasty surprise, though, when Corynn starts giving a speech about how she was picked on in high school by mean girls. Corynn has appropriated Eliza’s high school story, down to the details, for herself, and this makes Eliza (understandably) very upset. Eliza starts yelling and actually tries to Jump Corynn, but Henry and a security guard stop her. She accuses Corynn of stealing her story, but Corynn has no idea who Eliza is, so she thinks she’s just a ranting crazy person. After Eliza storms off, Henry tells the security guard who was helping to contain Eliza that he used to tell people he was good at skateboarding to feel cool, but he really wasn’t (good at skateboarding or cool).

Eliza and Henry find Corynn in a park, and Eliza decides to confront her. At first, once she realizes exactly who Eliza is, Corynn starts to get extremely patronizing. Eliza starts to fall back into her old way of interacting with Corynn, being conciliatory and trying to back off. Henry, however, gives Eliza a bit of a pep talk, and she finally gets the confidence to truly tell Corynn off. To be precise, she says she tried some of the recipes in Corynn’s cookbook, and they were terrible. In the aftermath of confronting her childhood bully, Eliza makes a decision about her role model. Her role model is going to be herself. She overcame being a bullied high school kid to become a major pharmaceutical company’s best sales rep. To celebrate, she starts cutting her hair, which is just a little strange. Henry decides to try a little character growth too. He goes to the skate park, tries to drop in, and immediately falls and breaks his wrist. His cast, however, says “no fear,” and he tells the skater kids that the next time he has a chance with Eliza, he’ll be ready. Too bad we won’t get to see it.

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