The Circle: Bubble People

You don’t put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari.

– Joey

No airbrushing, filters or being too perfect, on FB and insta. It makes one seem too much like a bot. Too perfect is not appealing. You need a Goldilocks effect: just right. Like the person next door. I like the profile picture analysis. A variety of photos shows more sides of yourself, and is more proof that you’re not catfish, so long as it’s not obvious that you’re trying too hard.

A more individualized profile is more grounded, and more relatable. No filters, and no makeup equates to being more real. Have a natural glow and a personality that’s hard to fake. That’s how to survive the rise of the bots and catfish, on the internet. Human vulnerability and uniqueness will save us all.

The tension of the show is how real-life social media differs from the in-house social network, of The Circle. Contestants must compare and contrast what it means to understand the masses, versus what it takes to understand around twelve people. The question of which kind of fakeness is rewarded, in our society, was also explored in the Black Mirror social media episode, “Nosedive” – another Netflix show.

It’s interesting to see how social media rewards us – in the miniature – on The Circle. Contestants call out other people for being fake, in a game, about being fake. The fakest person is always on the lookout for who’s fake. This is on an online show, that is by its very nature, artificial and virtual.

I like that fresh players can still be added, to the game, after the game starts. It’s like unlocking a new character in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Gamification and parallels between social media and video games are also investigated, by the show. Shubby is a virtual media designer that dislikes social media – when an online social network is essentially just light virtual reality. Shubby, who fears fakeness the most, is the least prepared to recognize fakeness. He gets taken in by both of the catfish, on The Circle. No wants to feel led on.

On Tinder, and other social networking sites, so much is decided on just a profile pic and a bio (or lack thereof). So much is at stake, on a profile pic, in real life, that a profile picture competition, on The Circle, is realistic and timely. What I like about The Circle is how the show gamifies decisions and judgments we already have to make every day. Social media is just a highlight reel.

Comparing Seasons 1 and 2, of The Genius

The hacker, Doohee (두희), on The Genius: Rule Breaker, lost his ID – but eventually, he got it back again. Sangmin (상민) Oppa (오빠) had to make Doohee feel better about this debacle, by insuring him, with the hidden immunity wings, Sangmin Oppa had been searching for, all season. Sangmin Oppa also won the Main Match, in that episode, and received regular immunity.

Information asymmetry. Since so few contestants were even looking for this season’s hidden immunity item, and so few people even found the James Dean Blvd. safe – much less, opened it – Sangmin Oppa could be secure, in fooling the Hacker, by giving Doohee the hidden immunity item’s case, instead. He did not give Doohee the real, legitimate immunity item. Doohee lost the Death Match and went home.

Even though the broadcaster, Yooyung (유영), didn’t find the hidden immunity wings, she was deeply involved in the original plot, to hide Doohee’s token ID chip. Doohee was on the bottom of the pecking order, and Yooyung went up on the block, as a pawn – to use Big Brother terms. Doohee was the real target.

After Jinho (진호) Oppa was eliminated, in Week 8, the Season 1 guest cast-mates coalesced around Sangmin Oppa, solidifying his lead to win. Then Yooyung went home, in that episode. I liked Seonggyu (성규), from Season 1, way more than I liked Lim (임요환), even though Seonggyu was the craftier and meaner one, of the young guy archetype. Lim was just a bland contestant. His in-game weakness was one reason why Sangmin Oppa constantly dominated the Rule Breaker season.

When the eliminated Doohee, Jinho Oppa and Dahye (다혜) – the professional Go player – returned, in the Semifinals, they helped Sangmin Oppa win the elevator race Main Match, sending Lim and the older, former politician, Jeonghyun-ssi (정현-씨), to the Death Match. Lim was saved by Sangmin Oppa’s actual hidden immunity item – not the fake – that he gave Doohee, earlier on, in the season. Jiwon (지원), the rapper, went with Jeonghyun, to the Death Match, instead and Jiwon lost, thereby being eliminated.

Hongchul (홍철) Oppa – a comedian, of the Oppa Gangnam Style music video’s fame – was relying solely on luck, in his final Main Match. He didn’t know or didn’t utilize how the gambling die could be manipulated, to win. Hongchul Oppa did have a good run, though. He got rid of Eunkul (은결), the magician, by tricking him into thinking he was going to betray Jiwon, in an earlier Death Match.

During the memory conveyor belt Death Match, when Hongchul Oppa was eliminated, production played the Sherlock theme. Ironically, Hongchul Oppa couldn’t hack the mystery. He ran out of garnets, during the Main Match and lost that round. Like Sangmin Oppa, Hongchul Oppa doesn’t have a good memory – so Jeonghyun-ssi easily defeated him.

The last moments of Hongchul Oppa, on Season 2, were still entertaining to watch. He was a fun character throughout. Very good TV. The music reached a crescendo, in the Death Match. Jeonghyun-ssi had an ice solid poker face. Hongchul Oppa left the house. But good on The Genius for casting older people and a wide, diverse range of players. The show is a real slice of professional life.

Compared to Rule Breaker, one way The Genius: Season 1, Rules of the Game, was nice, was because of the variety of women, on the cast – Kyeongran (경란) Eonni (언니), Eunji (은지), Yuram (유람) Eonni, Jeongmun (정문), Minseo (민서) Eonni. They were all super smart, with different personal skills. They were all each their own person.