‘The Circle’: Social media meets reality TV

Online, anybody can be anybody and the fake personalities really come out and shine. For the new Netflix reality TV show “The Circle,” the contestants are no stranger to this concept. 

This popularity contest revolves around making the other players in “The Circle” enjoy their personalities and admire their profile pictures. With a social-media-type twist, the players have to form opinions of others through the screen while never meeting face-to-face. 

Over the course of 12 episodes, contestants work hard on their fake catfish personalities or try to show how real they can truly be in order to gain popularity among the group. 

The host, stand-up comedian Michelle Buteau, asks at the beginning of the first episode, “How far would you go to be popular on social media if there were $100,000 at stake?” and the answer for some contestants is: pretty far. 

Some come in with a mindset of catfishing their way to the top — one man even decides to use his girlfriend’s pictures, that way he could flirt with all the boys in “The Circle” to work his way to the top. He was dedicated to get to where he wanted to be. 

The players have to play friendly games and chat with each other, but the catch is they can only communicate through “The Circle.” They can make private chats, group chats and update their profiles on the program, but they never know if everyone is playing their genuine selves — but the audience knows all the secrets. 

They play games with each other like who can draw the best portrait and cake decorating, but some games stir the pot a little, like “most likely to” and “ask me anything.” 

At the end of each day, each player has to vote on most to least popular among them. The results deem the top two players “influencers” with huge advantages against the others, making all the other players at risk of being “blocked” from “The Circle.”

While the show was not the best developed, as it was just eight players sitting in their apartments alone speaking to a screen, It became a light and joyful thing to watch with friends, as everyone can cheer on their favorite contestant and laugh about the cringey text messages. 

But even with its cringey atmosphere, “The Circle” is a great show to watch with a group of friends. All the personalities in the show offer something for everyone to enjoy.

The most intense part of the show was after a player is blocked from “The Circle,” they have the option to visit one other player in a face-to-face reveal. This opportunity is either to finally meet with someone they felt a connection with, go tell someone off whom they disliked or meet the romantic interest they’ve been flirting with the whole game. 

With some of the contestants being catfish, if the blocked player went to visit them, it became a big shock that they weren’t expecting. This part always had me anxious, even though I already knew they were fake. 

I was entertained watching the fake personalities on the show try to act like something they’re not — some struggled to keep their cool. Contestants begin to call each other out for being fake and others are optimistically hoping everyone is being their true, genuine self. 

The show has been described as “‘Big Brother’ meets ‘Catfish,’” and I couldn’t agree more. The fun twists that came with the show really kept me on my toes, and the awkward and uncomfortable flirting through messages had me laughing all night. 

 “The Circle” is great for anyone who isn’t looking for a serious watch or for a group of friends that need some background entertainment.

Rating: 4/5 Likes