Selfie Season 1, Episodes 3 and 4: Bestie love, Selfie love

Review: Two more episodes in the series' inaugural season find it sticking to its shallow routines while once again showing promise for poignancy underneath.

Making friends as an adult is weird.

As a kid, your world is small. You sit next to other kids on the bus. You swing on swings. You play in the sand. Your moms drink wine on the porch while you ride bikes in the driveway. Friendship.

As a teen, you pick a category and define yourself. Jock, geek, goth, theater kid, music nerd. These are your people. Stick to them like glue, and enjoy the same things as far as your minimum wage part-time salary from the grocery store will take you. Friendship.

College is a time to break free from your high school gang and experiment. Show up at that loud party house and hang out with whomever. The possibilities are endless. Here you really start to define yourself, and meet people who share your interests and appreciate the things about you they don't share. Friendship.

But as an adult, the field is rough. As outlandish and shallowly referential as Selfie can be, the message about adult friendships in episode three, "With A Little Yelp From My Friends," is a refreshing one.

For many of us in our mid-twenties, between work, relationships, maybe school and our deep social commitment to the Internet, who has time to put in all the effort it takes to make real adult friends?

Step one: find out what they like. In the age of the Internet, many of us cyber stalk everyone we meet. Where are they from? What does their significant other do? What movies do they like? Do they use proper grammar on their Facebook and Twitter? Are they mean to local businesses on Yelp? Do they post funny things? Political things? Ignorant things? All preliminary questions to friendship, these days.

In episode three, Eliza cyber stalks Joan, a coworker with whom she thinks she has nothing in common. She finds Joan's only social profile: a Yelp account. She learns what Joan likes and dislikes, and tries to use the woman's own words to foster a connection between them. But friendships can't be forced, and their contrived connection tanks quickly.

The best friendships are the ones that pop up organically, where you least expect them. Eliza confesses to Henry that she eats standing up because no one used to want to sit with her at lunch. The two stand together and eat, and finally make a connection.

"When a friendship is real, you can feel it."

Episode four finds Henry challenging Eliza to spend her weekend doing something productive, like helping a friend, rather than partying and trying to maintain her social media reputation. Eliza in turn challenges Henry to spend the weekend having fun, rather than working.

Charmonique (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), the receptionist, is preparing for her high school reunion. Eliza offers to help her get ready. The two laugh, share common interests, and dance to "No Scrubs" by TLC in Charmonique's wig room (which, she notes, is climate controlled and valued at more than $60,000). When Charmonique's babysitter cancels, Eliza ends up babysitting her 9-year-old son, Kevin.

Eliza's struggle to connect with this precocious young man is comical and endearing, and somewhat humanizes her. But are we truly to believe that this vapid narcissist would have stuck around? Maybe. Maybe deep down, she's just a damaged spirit hiding her love and care in favor of approval.

Selfie is migrating from a swirling trough of social media jokes to a sweet (albeit simple) exploration of relationships in the digital age. It's not exactly insightful. In fact, it remains about as shallow as Eliza was when we first met her. But certain story lines show potential for a more poignant meditation on human interaction.

At her reunion, Charmonique hopes to reconnect with a high school crush. But Mitchell McMoney (Isaiah Mustafa) is now a priest, and he deeply shames her for being irresponsible in her sex life and becoming a single mother.

Countless women -- especially black women -- are shamed for having children "out of wedlock," even though studies show that's the new normal. Just this month, North Carolina State Senator Jim Davis made racist and accusatory statements about the effect of black single motherhood on rates of incarceration. McMoney's judgment of Charmonique is as relevant as any social media-infused quips peppered throughout the show so far.

But Charmonique does not internalize McMoney's shaming. Instead, she turns inward.

"I'm glad that you found higher love," she tells him. "But I have self love, and that's real love."

At the crossroads of "Decent Story About Friendship" and "Dude Tells Girl How To Behave," Selfie's writers seem to have chosen the right path. Selfie's message of the week: love yourself. Everyone's first friend is his or herself. Once you know yourself like a bestie, you can bring that person out to meet people, and maybe make other organic, lasting friends.

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