ABC/Eric McCandless(NEW YORK) — Two new ABC comedies premiere Tuesday night: Selfie and Manhattan Love Story.
Selfie is a twist on the classic My Fair Lady story, but in this case, we get an uptight marketing genius named Henry Higgs, trying to “make over” an obnoxious social media addict named Eliza Dooley, and turn her into a person who actually cares about people in real life.
Henry is played by John Cho, of Harold & Kumar, Sleepy Hollow and Star Trek fame — he plays Mr. Sulu in the rebooted films. Eliza is played by Scottish actress Karen Gillan, best known in the U.S. for playing Amy Pond on Doctor Who and Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Gillan started out doing sketch comedy in the U.K., but in the U.S., she’s better known for sci-fi, so, she tells ABC News Radio, “To return to that was really exciting, especially in this country, where I think you make the best comedy.” She uses an American accent to play Eliza, and is pretty much flawless, though she admits that she’ll occasionally ask Cho to say a certain word so she’s sure how to pronounce it American-style.
As for Cho, his part was originally envisioned for a British actor to play, and he considers the fact that he ended up with it to be a “personal revolution.” Why? The Korean actor explains that during a Q&A with TV critics, “Karen had, like, seven questions about her being Scottish, and I came off the stage and I was like, ‘I went through a 45-minute panel, and we didn’t talk about my race at all,’ which was, like, so awesome to me, and the absence of those questions was, to me, the revolution.”
In the first episode, we see Gillan’s super-obnoxious and shallow Eliza making a lot of progress as she tries to wean herself from her social media addiction. But according to Gillan, she’s got a long road to go, and Cho’s Henry is a big part of it.
“We realize, quite quickly, that Henry needs Eliza just as much as she needs him, and they can learn a lot from each other,” she tells ABC News Radio. “And also, I mean, this is the story of an addict, essentially, at its core. And that means there’s going to be, like, a lot of, you know, one step forward and two steps back. So it’s not going to be easy.”
Selfie premieres at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Afterward, ABC debuts another new comedy, Manhattan Love Story. It follows the ups and downs of a New York romance between Dana and Peter, played by Crazy, Stupid, Love actress Analeigh Tipton and Greek actor Jake McDorman, respectively. The twist is that viewers will be able to hear the characters’ inner thoughts — and, as a result, what each really thinks of the other.
Veteran character actor Kurt Fuller, whom you’d recognize from his roles in various projects like the film Midnight in Paris and ABC’s Scandal, plays Peter’s dad, William. He says of Peter, “He’s a big, you know, ‘I know everything, I can do everything, I’m the best,’ just like me. We all sort of find out that…maybe we didn’t know so much. And that’s one of the things I actually love about the show.”
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