The following article contains spoilers for seasons 2 and 3 of The circle.
Netflix series The circle had such serious beginnings. The popular social media competition started more as a social experiment than a game.
In Season 1, players made play moves as requested, but the show primarily focused on relationships formed from candid conversations between players. The only real “twist” in the pilot season was the entry of new players into the game, as others were eliminated. By the end of the season, viewers felt a little more confident in the ability of social media to create genuine connections. Speaking for myself, I was pleasantly surprised by how healthy the show ended up being.
Considering how well received the first season was, where did things go wrong?
Simply put, the series is now overproduced. With the second and especially the third season, it seems like the show is committed to going as far as possible in the opposite direction from the first season. Perhaps as a strategy to keep audiences interested (and engaged) in the episodes, the producers have designed several twists to bring the game to life. However, with no exceptions, these twists have been bad. If anything, they’ve made the show less enjoyable to watch because they’ve made the game predictable.
Starting with the current season, the first horrible twist was what the show did to contestant Michelle. Michelle, a sweet southern woman in her 50s, was modest when starting the competition. It was on its way to being appreciated by the players. But after the first lockdown, in which influencer Ava and her sister Chanel were eliminated, Michelle’s prospects turned sour. Following the elimination, Ava and Chanel were offered the opportunity to continue in the competition as a clone of another player of their choice. They chose Michelle and therefore the remaining players were introduced as “Blue Michelle”. The real Michelle was renamed “Orange Michelle”. In order for Ava and Chanel to stay in the game, they needed to successfully convince the other players to kick out the real Michelle. Essentially, they had to be somehow more Michelle than Michelle herself.
Ava and Chanel were immediately aggressive in their attempts to mislead the players. They wrote long messages saying little flowery things. In a minigame in which both Michelles had to explain the backstory behind the actual photos of Michelle’s life, Blue Michelle won the game. Despite the fact that the real Michelle gave specific details about tiny parts of each image, players believed more in Ava and Chanel’s vague fabrications. This led to a final decision on which Michelle to stay and unsurprisingly, the players chose to block the real Michelle.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, this twist could be the cruelest ever created for reality TV. The pain in Michelle’s eyes when she realized that she had failed to be herself was painful to watch. Especially considering how absurd it was for the cast to fall in love with the Blue Michelle hype. In a general sense, this twist was completely unfair. He clearly targeted a gamer, one who was likely at a social media disadvantage to begin with. It was reminiscent of season 2, when the eliminated BFF Savannah gave Courtney the Joker identity. Courtney used that power to sabotage Terilisha, Savannah’s enemy, as the producers likely anticipated. Badmouthing Terilisha to new players led to her inevitable lockdown. Like the first twists in their respective seasons, each was set up to target specific players to eliminate them from contention early. It seemed that the producers were creating clever scenarios to rid the less desirable winners of the competition under the guise of “playability.”
The second twist in Season 3 involved tech nerd Nick. He decided that his nemesis this season would be Kai, a down-to-earth and cheerful person who became an influencer during the first two knockout rounds. Clearly threatened by her popularity, Nick began gathering numbers in an attempt to surpass her.
One of them was Calvin, the chef. But Calvin began to develop feelings for Kai, to which she reciprocated. Ironically, due to his friend Nick’s newly formed side alliance, Calvin ended up getting knocked out. Although he visited Kai and expressed his commitment to support her, when he was given the opportunity to help her in the game, Calvin had other ideas. When he was leaving, he was notified that he could give a “popularity boost” to a player of his choice. He chose Nick. The boost Nick received came in the form of a burner profile that he could use to improve his social standing in the game. As ghost hunter Vince, he sang his own praises to the other players, and in turn received high enough ratings to earn himself a place of influence. After achieving this surge in popularity, Vince was taken out of the game and revealed as a fake profile to the contestants.
The fact that this twist was given to Nick speaks to another annoying trend in the series. The Circle grants critical gaming privileges to uninteresting or unsavory players. Nick’s surge in popularity was reminiscent of Jack and Lisa from season 2 being offered the opportunity to re-enter the game together as a catfish, despite offering viewers little entertainment during their respective careers on the show. Program. Nick is equally difficult to encourage, with a stingy confidence that borders on arrogance. Spins are more fun for audiences when they involve players we are inclined to support.
In fact, the fact that The circle seems to choose precisely on who the spins will be used, it is contrary to the reality that the wise of the competition have become accustomed to. For example, a major twist in Survivor every season is the idol of hidden immunity. Through regular physical or mental tests, each player has the opportunity to obtain clues as to where to find the idol and, in turn, obtain it. And because each player enters the game knowing of its existence, the hidden idol is incorporated into the strategy of the game.
Likewise on MTV The challengeThe twist of infiltrating a team and stealing a new partner is a stipulation that everyone knows from the beginning of a season. Thus, players can nominate others for elimination or jump into one as a strategic way to change the power dynamics of an association or alliance.
For a game to be fair, everyone must know all the rules. Reality TV viewers know that genre is predetermined to varying degrees; however, a good reality show will create an illusion of free will with its stars so viewers can suspend their disbelief. Even if the main plots aren’t really real, the producers should at least make the events feel realistic. All players must have the opportunity to participate in the game to the fullest. Through The circleSecret twists, it was frustrating to see the hands of the producers in every major turn of the game in seasons 2 and 3. The alliances and rivalries felt forced; the influencers and blocks were predictable; and visits after eliminations have rarely made sense.
For example, why wouldn’t the real Michelle visit someone other than her clone after her removal to prove she was real? Why would Calvin give Nick the popularity boost when he was most loyal to Kai? How could gamers not realize that Vince was Nick when Nick’s name was always the first to come out of Vince’s mouth in chats? All fingers point to producers who want certain players to advance and others to be eliminated. The worst thing is that the benefactors of these spins have reached the final in most cases. Why would the public want these players to win, knowing that they were basically given cheat codes at crucial points in the game?
The producers probably feel like they’re being smart about incorporating hidden twists into the game. In reality, they are creating a game that undermines the intelligence of both players and spectators. The game would instantly feel more believable if all elements of the game were revealed to players in advance. In this way, people could create a strategy that anticipates shifts in power rather than strategizing under the cover of a level playing field.
It’s a shame to see the quality drop so drastically with such a promising concept. If you are looking for a game show driven by gamer ignorance rather than smart holistic game then look no further. The circle. Because on this show, the entertainment doesn’t come from the contestants who play the game, but from the game that plays them.