“The Selfie” shows the difficulties of raising a millennial cannibal when Lacey takes a selfie with a dead body. After the selfie (inevitably) leaks, Ryan prepares for the worst, and the FBI make a house call.
Episode 3 of Anytown, USA brings back a Fletcher child (but just one). While Episode 2 (“Double Date”) focused more specifically on Ryan and Molly, “The Selfie” reminds viewers that they’re a family of four — and that, cannibal or no, raising a teenage daughter is never easy.
The episode begins with Ryan preparing to finish off another irritating victim. Before he can strike the final blow, however, Lacey comes in and beats the man like a piñata. She’s clearly having a blast, while Ryan is annoyed (mostly because she is splattering him gratuitously with blood). When he leaves her to clean up her mess, she takes a quick selfie with the body. Ryan is alerted by the sound of her camera (seriously, just silence your phone). He reads her the riot act over privacy, big brother, and the perils of personal photography.
Lacey is quick to brush off his boring dad act, but Ryan is proven right when Lacey’s selfie inevitably leaks. Ryan is all set to break camp and run away before they can be hunted down. Before they can get out, however, the FBI show up and ask to speak to Lacey.
Ryan panics. He grabs a meat cleaver and prepares to kill the agents before they can arrest Lacey. However, the show throws another twist your way when it is revealed the agents are not there to arrest Lacey. Instead, they are there to reassure her that they are doing everything to catch the criminal who shared her private selfie.
Privacy Is A Right
This twist is more than Ryan can handle. He was fully prepared to kill two federal agents to protect his daughter. The revelation that they are there to support her, however, is too much for him. From his perspective, the FBI are only encouraging his daughter to take more risks.
The conversation gets more and more ridiculous — the president wants to give Lacey a medal and a national holiday for her bravery. Ryan eventually loses it and points out that there is a dead body in the picture. He was all set to kill to prevent people from noticing their dirty secret but blabs it to the FBI out of irritation.
Of course, this being Anytown, the FBI do not arrest Lacey. Instead, they agree that this situation is even more distressing for her and offer her money. Ryan essentially tears out his hair (thankfully not really) and argues that Lacey is at fault. He argues that she shouldn’t have taken the selfie if she didn’t want people to see it. Lacey, the FBI agents, and Molly all look at him askance as he repeats an argument we have frequently seen applied to female celebrities who have had nude pictures released.
In the end, we see that the same website has released an image of Ryan, captioned as “Worse Than Hitler.” Lacey can’t help but laugh at the situation. His point of view rejected and mocked, Ryan sits, silently stewing but refusing to be baited again.
A satire show about cannibals that makes pointed political commentary? We are #blessed. Who among us hasn’t dealt with the “ugh, millennials” arguments? While it might be a little disturbing to relate to a teenage cannibal, I can get Lacey’s comment that she took the picture because she looked cute.
The storyline about a leaked photo is particularly relevant to our society. “The Selfie” facetiously brings up the standard misogynist arguments about celebrity privacy. Granted, there’s a lot of difference between celebrity nudes and idiotic teen murder, but the point stands.
Even though I like Ryan, and he honestly makes some sense here, it’s nice that his point of view is seen as wrong. He may be right not to want his daughter to take selfies with murder victims. That does put the whole family in danger of being discovered. But the way he frames his argument is too reminiscent of typical commentary to be acceptable.
“The Selfie” also has a lot of minor hilarious moments that help make the episode great. I love the FBI agents’ Ray-Bans and the fact that the not-a-piñata spews candy when Lacey hits him. I related so much when Lacey told the FBI Ryan didn’t get it because of an “age thing.” And honestly, Molly catching the bullet and her “Punk-ass G-Man” comment was the best scene yet with her character.
The best moment is when Lacey tells Ryan he’s paranoid after he claims that they could be being recorded at that exact moment — only to have the boom mic hit her on the head. Anytown has shown willingness break the fourth wall to poke fun at the fact that it’s a web series.
And damn, Ryan, you’re 42? Tell us your secret.
“The Selfie” does have some misses, too. For one thing, the gratuitous blood splatters at the beginning were a bit much. (I know, I shouldn’t be watching this show since I don’t like cannibalism, but it’s too good to stop.) However, it’s hard to laugh when you’re trying not to gag.
Molly’s role in this episode is also a little off. Her role is so minor that it almost seems like it could have been left out altogether, though I did like the way she awkwardly distanced herself from Ryan during his privacy rant. I did like the way they characterized Lacey, but it seems like the show can only really feature two characters in any one episode (to be fair, this is a 5-minute episode).
I also felt that the FBI agents were more miss than hit. The grating fake-Southern accent was a bit much. As someone who went to college in South Carolina, let me tell you, that was both obviously fake and disturbingly realistic (you have to be here to get it, I guess).
It’s like the way SNL portrays Jeff Sessions — terrible accent and apparent inability to grasp reality — but not quite as well done. Also, the old FBI agent hitting on Lacey was way disturbing. Ryan may have been wrong about a lot in this episode, but I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment that that is enough.
I started “The Selfie” ready to turn the show off in disgust at the blood splatters. But I kept watching, and it paid off. While there was a lot in this episode to turn me off, there was enough humor, mixed with pointed (and necessary) social comedy, to keep me watching.
Somehow, Anytown, USA has managed to not only make me watch a family of cannibals but to like and even relate to them. That’s some powerful storytelling.