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“The Circle,” which premiered on Netflix in January of 2020, sounds like yet another reality TV show featuring drama, entertainment, alliances and competition between contestants who have their sights on a $100,000 prize. However, unlike other reality TV shows, the players compete from the strict confines of their designated apartments, and they communicate using their online personalities on the social media platform called “Circle.” “The Circle” adds a modern-day twist to the game show-reality TV hybrid audiences adore.


During the show, the 14 contestants each have unique strategies, with some players choosing to catfish their opponents and use pictures of a different person. During the game, the contestants text each other and play games using their profiles to get to know each other. At the end of every day, the players rank each other to determine who the “influencers” will be. Influencers have the power to vote off the player of their choosing, and only then does the eliminated player have the chance to visit one person face-to-face.


Source: The Insider


For many viewers, the show is binge-worthy. Characters like Shubham and Joey are fan favorites for their authentic personalities, while other characters like Karyn, who plays as “Mercedeze,” faced a harder time trying to conceal their true personalities. More than just a popularity contest for money, “The Circle” differs from other shows in its authenticity and relatable content. Some viewers may expect the contestants to have a dog-eat-dog mentality, however, the relationships they form behind the screen hold up in real life. Characters like Shubham and Seaburn, who plays under his girlfriend’s name “Rebecca,” continue to hang out after the season’s ending.


“The Circle” also sheds light on our social media driven society. The game encourages players to be whoever they want to be, not necessarily who they truly are, for maximum success. Players strategically make embellished comments for more likeability, overanalyze their word choice, and flirt with other players to increase their chances of winning. Additionally, people make quick judgements about their opponents based on their online appearances. For example, Alana, a blonde, petite model, is subject to stereotyping based on her profession. Although real-life social media does not have a monetary prize at the end, the show accurately portrays how people sometimes behave in real life for clout. While the show is addictive to watch, it is also a reflection of the way people put up a facade to manipulate who their followers believe they truly are.


Kyndall Dunn is a junior honors media management, business administration minor at Howard University from Atlanta, GA. She is a content contributor and topic editor for Howard University's Her Campus chapter. Instagram: @kyndunn
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