Not to be confused with that painfully mediocre Dave Eggers novel, Netflix's new reality show The Circle is basically the IRL version that Black Mirror episode where Bryce Dallas Howard obsessively ranks everything on social media to the point of extreme isolation.
Except in this reality show, everyone starts off isolated in a (surprisingly nice) apartment, and with their online interactions as their only means of any communication. The players use a social media platform called "The Circle" which basically functions like Alexa's personal Facebook, except that it's very obviously being manipulated in real-time by some human production assistant who can intuitively parse for natural language, 'cause there's no way there's a voice-controlled AI technology advanced enough to respond to everyone's individual linguistic ticks like this.
My wife and I watched two episodes last night, and it is the epitome of terrible, trashy reality television. I hate everything about it. But what I hate most of all is that I'm kind of hooked.
The best and worst part of the show is that everyone is just … sitting in their rooms, talking to a TV with a voice assistant. They read everything out loud, and recite all their messages out loud, and the whole thing is super awkward. This forces the show to rely heavily on that bullshit melodramatic padded-out editing that reality TV shows are notorious for. Except you're not even getting drawn-out reaction cuts from everyone in the same room together; it's just people, by themselves.
But this is also kind of (disgustingly) fascinating. You get to see people in their weirdest private moments, like the catfishing lesbian who keeps washing her hands, or the greased-up Italian bro dude from Rochester with the creepiest fucking skincare routines who just mumbles "yeah buddy" to himself ad nauseam.
There are apparently UK, French, and Brazilian versions of this stupid show as well. I don't know anything about them, but I know that I hate it all, except that I am ashamedly eager for the next batch of episodes to drop to next week.
Oh yeah — for some reason, Netflix is billing it as an "event" with 4 episodes dropping every Wednesday. This makes about as much sense as anything else does with this show.
You can watch (most of) the first episode above, or on Netflix. I wouldn't recommend it, unless you really want to hate watch some weird shit. Which I do. Dammit.