Circle Message: If you haven’t been watching season two of the US version of The Circle, Netflix’s entirely batshit nuts but also deeply wholesome social media reality series, it is absolutely time you did yourself the favour.
The second series of the extremely good show put its finale live this week, bringing to a close a long-awaited second season that featured a parade of catfishes (some masterfully crafted, some… not), a truly delightful bograt from Essex, Lance Bass from N*SYNC somehow, and a ruthless sense of strategy underpinning the whole shebang.
And honestly? It’s high bloody time Netflix brought the whole thing here.
To recap briefly, The Circle takes a string of contestants and houses them in the same apartment building. The catch is they are confined to their rooms, and have no face-to-face contact with one another. Instead, they communicate through the ad hoc social media platform known as “The Circle,” which allows them to set up their own profile and persona. This means players are given the choice of entering the game as their authentic self, or as a completely made up catfish personality. The ultimate goal being to communicate with other players and gain trust, favour, and popularity, with the least popular players eliminated (“blocked”) from the game, and the most popular ultimately emerging with a $100,000 prize.
While on paper that may seem shallow and conceited, in reality it’s a strangely wholesome and hilarious experience, with players expressing genuine emotion and empathy for one another.
That’s the long and short of it, as best I can explain without spoiling anything. But my ultimate point is clear: The Circle Australia needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. And this is for a few key reasons:
1) Casting on The Circle is magnificently diverse
One of the great things about The Circle is that it doesn’t shy away from casting a wide range of folks from all various walks of life. POC and LGBTQI communities are heavily represented in The Circle US, and it makes for magnificent viewing. It’s not exploitative in who it casts and why, it just gets interesting people together, gives them a sniff of things to come, and then just lets them all go. Can we replicate that with an Australian cast? You bet your ass we can.
2) Australians trying to create catfish personas would be insanely funny
Circle contestants making up catfish personas is deeply funny. Cocky men in their 20s trying to act out a Hot Girl profile but coming horribly unstuck when they don’t know the first thing about communicating as a woman? Phenomenal. Crafty older people running rings around the competition under a young and vibrant profile? Love it. Women hiding behind photos of hot hunks and shamelessly flirting their way to the top? Yes. Yes, incredibly good.
Can you imagine the kind of shit that a cast of Australians could get up given that kind of freedom? Someone posing as a holistic wellness expert from Byron. Another one trying it on as an apprentice chippie from Warrnambool. Someone else rumbling through the competition as an out-and-proud mid-tier footy player. The possibilities are endless, and they are all good.
3) It promotes actually constructive and empathetic social media communication
Crazy at it may sound, The Circle actually has immense value. While the temptation could be to simply allow things to devolve into a catty, smunty mess of DM sniping and wanton cyber bullying, the reality is that it’s a balanced and empathetic show overflowing with genuine heart and emotion.
The show’s central device – the Circle social platform – promotes supportive communication between players, and often leads to rather revealing and deeply honest personal reflection and revelation. Players have to consider not only how they feel about the situations presented, but how the things they say affect everyone else as well.
It’s great. It’s shockingly great. And it’s for these reasons, and the fact that it would whip ass, that Netflix needs to make The Circle Australia a reality as soon as humanly possible.
Hashtag going down under. Hashtag we Sydneed it. Indigenous flag emoji. Kangaroo emoji. Shaka emoji.