At this point (four weeks in), it makes sense for Selfie to do the old script flip: Eliza spending her weekend doing something worthwhile, and Henry trying (and pretty much failing) to shake it up a bit (although that sneaky Greek yogurt never stood a chance). Of course, they wind up hanging out together, meeting somewhere in their ever-more intriguing middle, with Henry mildly tearing it up and Eliza amping up her domestic side. But what makes “Nugget Of Wisdom” so successful overall? It’s got everything you could hope for in 23 minutes of sitcomness: a few (more than a few, actually) laugh-out-loud moments, some plot progression, great cast chemistry, and an overarching theme that ties everything together.
And what a theme it is: Charmonique’s solo reunion dance to Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” in her flat-ironed MJB wig says it all. Although Selfie started out by highlighting all the heinousness apparent in Eliza Dooley’s social network-obsessed personality, it’s soon learned that she’s pretty charming just as she is (even her rapid-fire elevator speech about her weekend plans is mesmerizing). As Eliza becomes more palatable to people, the entertaining parts of her personality come more into play in her non-club life: Who else could turn Charmonique’s wig room into a dance club, complete with pre-K DJ? And while Eliza initially can’t think of a single way she can help Charmonique out with her sitter problem (although she may have momentarily considered it, then dismissed it, according to Karen Gillan’s hilarious facial expressions), she eventually comes around to spending her Saturday night watching Kevin, confirming what we’ve come to suspect over the past few weeks: that she has a pretty good heart after all.
Henry has been a little slower to come around, although if he thawed too quickly, we would be robbed of delights like his description of rakishly adding tortilla strips to his salad (“You heard”), his denial that he’s spending his Saturday night hanging out with a jar of vitamins, and his varying yogurt accents (including the “Lord Key Lime Of Custard”). But we’ve never seen him happier than when he is drawn in by Kevin’s irresistible spin of K-pop, and his insistence to Eliza at the end of the episode that he had a freaking blast over the weekend is likely the absolute truth.
Actually, that little DJ vaulted this episode in no small way. His deadpan delivery as Eliza described her Brit rivalry (“She a Virgo?” “Continue”) or Eliza’s first tuck-in attempt (“Good night, Kevin.” “And to you”). Pretty sure those Eddie Murphy crying sounds were dubbed in, but they were awesome nonetheless. And of course his DJ skills were unparalleled.
It’s no surprise that Kevin is the way he is, with a mother like Charmonique. I wasn’t expecting her high-school sweetheart Mitchell McMoney to show up as a too-moralistic priest at her reunion, but some of his lines were pretty funny (sex outside of marriage is not “just a oops upside the head to you, but an oops upside the head of our lord and creator”). But an aside from Eliza confirms to Charmonique what she’s known all along: She’s the best mom ever. I can’t remember the last time a sitcom line made me want to actually cheer, but Da’Vine Joy Randolph nailed her last line to the priest with spot-on delivery: “I have self-love, and that’s real love.” Thankfully Charmonique ends her reunion not in a clinch with someone else, but a celebratory dance of her own self.
We all are what we are. The orange-flavored chalky elephant is a vitamin and shouldn’t pretend to be anything else, otherwise little kids overdose on gummy vitamins. Jessica Simpson never should have tried to date John Mayer. Charmonique is a fantastic single mother. Kevin is a deadpan artist. Eliza is a better person than we might have suspected (when Kevin opines, “The Internet is all about illusions, girl,” how right he is, and Eliza should know that better than anyone), and even Henry may be thawing with his wistful look at the episode’s end over what exquisite red-headed Korean offspring may look like. It’s a twisted message—trying things outside of our usual wheelhouse may bring us closer to our actual selves—but a vastly entertaining one, setting a high bar for Selfie’s future efforts.
- The social network-themed wordplay on this show overall is dazzling, using “grammed” as a verb, or describing a “like spike.” But my favorite commentary might have gone toward describing the tangerine elephant vitamin, a “chalky rascal” with a “fruity soul.”
- No one can resist the K-pop.
- I also loved Karen Gillan’s delivery of this line: “Look how excited you are!”
- I believe the “Wang Chung” band and song were named after the sounds an electric guitar makes when you whack it.
- “Don’t tweet it, eat it.”
- Announced yesterday: “Jodeci To Reunite At Soul Train Awards 2014.” Also beyond timely: that Renée Zellweger reference.
- Many thanks to Brandon Nowalk for letting me sit in on this fun episode; he’ll be taking over Selfie duties when the show returns on November 4.