I saw the commercials for the new ABC series Selfie and thought, "Hmmm, I wonder where they're going with this."
Selfie stars Karen Gillan, Scottish actress and former star of my favorite TV show of all time, Doctor Who, and the always dependable John Cho, who played Sulu in the Star Trek reboot movie series directed by J.J. Abrams.
(OK, I think that sentence just set a record for the most nerd media references in history.)
The writers of Selfie have done a remarkable job of capturing the kind of person that our current social-media-obsessed-culture has created -- someone who is nearly incapable of interacting with... um, what are they called again?... oh right, other people.
Selfie is a very clear homage and updated version of the classic movie My Fair Lady, which starred Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle (Gillan's character is named Eliza Dooley) and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins (Cho's character is named Henry Higgs).
The writers wisely changed the storyline in this modern version to where Eliza asks Henry for help in improving her character.
Because it would not have gone over well if a modern-day Higgins placed a bet that he could teach Eliza to speak "proper" English and thereby make her presentable to the upper class.
On a side note, I was always deeply annoyed by the ending of the original My Fair Lady, because when Eliza comes back to Henry with his slippers, I was like, "WHAT?! She let that jerk WIN?!"
So in Selfie, our modern Eliza approaches our modern Henry – who, fascinatingly, is a MARKETING GURU and an expert in REBRANDING (get it?) – and asks for his help in rebranding her from someone who doesn't know how to relate with... um, what are those again?... oh yeah, other people – to someone who could have, oh I don't know, actual friends.
Recently I was speaking at a large convention when I saw a fellow speaker who I hadn't seen in years, who was also speaking at the event.
We gave each other a warm hug and I asked him what he was up to.
He then proceeded -- and I swear I'm not making this up -- to text on his smart phone and answer me without ever looking up from his phone.
I thought he must be joking.
But after about two minutes of this, I realized that he was actually not going to look at me and be present while we were speaking to one another.
I politely took my leave and left him to his phone.
According to a recent Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Study, the average 18- to 24-year-old checks their phone an average of 53 times a day, while 13 percent admitted to checking their phone more than 100 times a day.
I'm about to admit something I've never admitted in public before, for fear of being shamed by people who are far cooler than me.
OK, here it is...
I do not own a smartphone.
I said it.
I own one of those flip phones. You know, the ones that have numbers on them?
I know, so 2007.
But you know what?
I thank God every day that I don't own a smartphone.
Otherwise, I fear that I might actually start paying attention to the stupid thing.
Words can't express how happy I am that I am not constantly glued to my phone.
That same Deloitte study showed that more than 65 percent of respondents admitted to checking their phones within 15 minutes of waking up.
Want to know the first thing I check in the morning?
My shopping cart. Because it shows how much money I made while I was sleeping.
And I know what you're going to say...
"But Noah, what about all those cool apps that show you how to tie your socks and where to get the best sushi?"
First of all, you can't tie your socks.
Second, I don't like sushi.
Third, I like people.
I like talking with people.
And I like how people respond when they see that I am actually paying attention to what they're saying, rather than constantly being distracted by my phone.
So if this sounds terribly unhip to you, I'll be the first to raise my hand and agree with you.
I am the definition of unhip.
But I'm pretty happy with the results too (#1 Amazon best-seller, Top 10 All-Time Nightingale-Conant Program, Dream Lifestyle Business working from home, etc. etc.)
I liked the pilot for the show Selfie.
It was cleverly written and well-acted.
I liked how they made Eliza both pathetic and sympathetic. (That's not easy to pull off.)
And I like John Cho and look forward to what he's going to do with this not-as-easy-as-it-looks role.
Will Selfie last?
Better enjoy it while you can.
Noah's Note: Next time you're talking with someone, try putting your phone down. You might find a whole new world open up right before your eyes.
I believe in you!
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