Hannah-LYZE This: Has ‘The Circle’ Made Social Media Do a 360?

The Premise: Contestants live in isolation in a very swanky loft-style building, except for the aptly named social media device called “Circle.” Within the circle, contestants can chat with one another, participate in games created for the show and create judgments on one another—just like we do in real-world social media. The top rated contestants become “influencers” and can greatly impact the flow of the game. The only difference here is that nobody knows if they’re being authentic or catfishing to grab the $100,000 cash prize! 


The (Original) Cast:


  • Chris, 30: Chris was one of my favorites in the show because he was true to himself, through and through. I’m not usually drawn to reality stars who have a preachy, “I’m doing this for God” message, but he did it with a finesse that I appreciated. He was boisterous and his bold self!


  • Joey, 25: I totally judged him as this Jersey Shore wannabe at first, but he ended up having a heart of gold. With a fierce loyalty, Joey remained steadfast in his alliances and put his heart on his social-media's sleeve.


  • Alana, 25: I’ll admit: I didn’t immediately like her because the model aspect of her personality was central to her profile. I get that it’s her profession. But while she was truthful in the end, she just ended up seeming vapid to me.


  • Seaburn, 29: Seaburn catfished “Circle” as his girlfriend, Rebecca, which was a real rollercoaster to watch all season. He passed pretty well, but ultimately he shared his caring heart (which he gained largely from pretending to be his GF) with the other contestants. Do I endorse catfishing? No. Do I really like Seaburn? Yes.


  • Shubham, 23: Ugh, my HEART. Shubham, or Shooby as people took to calling him, was my favorite all season. It was so refreshing to see people connect with a guy who definitely has a more nerdy exterior, but because they couldn’t take him at face-value, they learned to like him for all he put online, which was nothing but organic and wholesome.


  • Sammie, 24: Sammie was another one of my favorites because although her beauty was intimidating, watching her learn to open herself up was beautiful. She had sass, but she also grasped the game’s dynamics and seeing her strategize week after week made you feel like you were living in the loft alongside her!


  • Antonio, 24: Antonio, much like Alana, came off as cocky to me. While he didn’t lie about being a professional basketball player, that was the dominant personality trait he brought with him. I’m glad he wasn’t around forever, because that #GrindNeverStops attitude he had would’ve definitely grinded my gears.


  • Karyn, 37: As the Circle’s oldest contestant, I wasn’t surprised that Karyn chose to catfish as a woman named “Mercedeze,” which we later learned was her true middle name. I think she would have made a better statement if she played as her true age and personality for the social media experiment to show it’s not just for younger people! 


The “Watchability”: As someone who’s growing up as a “digital native,” or someone who’s always had social media in their life, I think the show was very easy to binge. It was unique to think that something I use every day could be turned into a show like that. The dynamics and little interjections from the narrator also aided to the flow of the show. The cast was diverse and had lots of representation, which is also a welcome change to the social media realm. 


The Bones to Pick: Some of the little games didn’t feel like they aided to the overall show. They were fluffy, like “How fast can you guess this celebrity?” with little hints. If the games were cut down, there would’ve been more time for genuine development of heart-to-hearts and more investigating into the true characters within the Circle.


The Analysis: Social media will continue to be an evolving platform for communication and to develop personal brands. If you’re looking for a show that looks at topics you’ve lived with your whole life, like me, then this show is a must-watch. It’s funny and relatable with poignant takes on how our world is ruled by the judgment of others. 


All 12 episodes of The Circle are now up on Netflix. I hope after seeing how I Hannah-LYZED this that you’re able to come to your own conclusions about whether social media is making 360-degree turns… which direction? You decide.


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