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Image / Living / Culture

Have you seen Netflix’s The Circle yet? Here’s why I’m rooting for the catfish


by Shayna Sappington
18th Apr 2021
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If you love Big Brother, The Circle will be your new addiction.

Netflix recently released season two of The Circle and it’s quickly become my favourite guilty pleasure.

If you haven’t heard of The Circle, it is a reality game show based off Channel 4’s original UK version that aired in 2018. Netflix’s rendition, however, has an all American cast – making the drama, the personalities and the betrayal that much more extra. 

Now, I’m not usually one for reality shows, but if I was flipping through channels and saw that Big Brother or I’m a Celeb was on, I’d settle in and quickly find myself pulled into the drama – which is exactly what happened with The Circle.

Last week, I was trying to find a post-work, unwind show, the kind of ridiculous, addictive trash TV where you can scroll on your phone and zone out while it plays in the background. 

When I put on The Circle, my boyfriend rolled his eyes and we both proceeded to do just that. But, by the end of the first episode, we were on the edge of our seats, absolutely hooked.

What’s it all about?

A rotating cast of players are each given their own flat in a luxury apartment building, and the only way they can communicate with each other is through a social media platform called The Circle.

They create online profiles, with pictures and bios, and can host group chats, private chats, play games and build alliances. This platform is a lot like Big Brother, in the way that it will randomly start up throughout the day and give the players tasks.

Netflix

The players regularly vote on their favourite contestants, and the two most popular players choose one player to go home. Then the process starts all over again. The last one standing wins a $100,000 cash prize.

The catch

The juiciest part of the show is that the profile they create doesn’t have to be authentic – they can be whoever they want. From the start, we meet all the players (with LGBT contestants too, yay!) and see who the catfish are. 

Now, I’m usually anti-catfish. I’ve seen the series with Nev and Max and watched as relationships that had lasted years were crushed in a two-minute, real life encounter. Honestly, I think that people who catfish just to mess with people’s hearts and minds are terrible.

But, in this show, their motives are completely different. They are playing a game, where people know there are potential catfish, and are after the same goal as everyone else – a giant cash prize. 

Netflix

In season one, there’s one player who is using his girlfriend’s photos and another one who’s channelling what she calls ‘a prettier persona’ to win over the other contestants. 

And before I knew it, I found myself rooting for some of the catfish contestants, terrified when they slipped up and almost got caught and glad when others stuck up for them as friends. 

After all, everyone’s playing the game – some are trying to be genuine, some have fake personalities and some are just trying to flirt their way to the top.

Hook, line and sinker

You know those rom coms where the guy makes a bet that he can get the geeky girl to date him but then ends up falling in love with her anyways? The Circle is exactly like that.

You start watching without any obligations, judging every single player and predicting what type of person you think they are going to be.

But then, everyone surprises you, revealing their cleverness or authenticity, and you quickly find yourself rooting for your favourite players.

The pure drama combined with hilarious personalities and smart tactics often left me in stitches or open-mouthed in shock.

Plus, all the players different strategies open up larger questions about the importance of looks, the value of being genuine and just how deceiving social media can be – a perfect mix for a riveting reality game show.

Feature image: Netflix

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