People stuck indoors with nothing to do but talk to themselves, look at screens and piddle around on social media. No, it's not our current reality; it's reality television – Netflix's "The Circle," to be exact.
The reality competition debuted this year on the Big Red Streaming Monolith, locking a bunch of millennials into an apartment complex and having them interact on a social media platform called The Circle. There, they created profiles, posted photos, chatted with their fellow contestants, created alliances, awkwardly flirted and more. Some of them played as themselves, while others went the catfish route and pretended to be someone different (like their real-life girlfriend, which is a whole bag of Freudian psychological questions we don't have time to unpack right now). At the end, the remaining players would rate each other and decide who was their favorite person of the bunch, with the top scorer earning the title of "The Circle" champion (decently exciting) and $100,000 (significantly more exciting).
It's shallow, bizarre, desperately social media-obsessed, emoji-laiden and, overall, almost 12 hours of solely watching strangers look at screens and talk to strangers on social media. It is the definition of navel-gazing.
And yet somehow, I kinda enjoyed it.
Unlike "Love is Blind," the contestants on the "The Circle" have actual personalities – there's one guy who's a little Baby Gronk that I hated the first episode and loved by the end – the show's made with snap and without much self-seriousness, and the contestant rule-changes and "ALERTS" mean that things always stay fresh and interesting. Sure, it's kind of dumb – but it's the perfect kind of engaging and inoffensive dumb for these strange times.
Need more convincing? From a person who's maybe consumed more wine than he should've? Well, you're in luck because, much like with Netflix's "Love is Blind" and "Tiger King," I took to Facebook Live with a glass (or three) of wine and a lot of "The Circle" thoughts and questions.
So here are all three wine recaps for your watching pleasure. And stay tuned, because the music-based reality dating spin-off "The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart" – or as I call it, "The Bachelor: All Jeds Edition" – premieres on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. on ABC, so we'll be drinking wine and talking all of the drama back on Facebook Live that night (and every Monday night after) at 9:05 p.m. And then drinking more wine.
For now, here's to staying home, staying healthy and staying entertained.
"The Circle" episodes 1-4
"The Circle" episodes 5-8
"The Circle" episodes 9-12
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.