November 5, 2020 / 5:00 pm

The Circle: France is Your Next Quarantine Binge Show

The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a huge, defining moment of our generation (also probably lifetime), and it feels like our lives have changed exponentially. What was life even like before the pandemic? I can hardly remember… Throughout the summer, I was stuck in my apartment. I barely left and was very, very bored. Like quite literally everyone else in the world, I turned to technology to curb my boredom and to distract me from the current events of the real world. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend countless hours binging shows, and so now, I’m going to tell you about one that I cannot recommend enough.

Relatively early on in quarantine (I’m talking the early days of everything being closed down and not leaving your house for days on end), I was desperately searching Netflix for something to watch. Adjusting to pandemic life was not easy and I found myself unable to focus on long movies. Just then, in my time of intense need, I stumbled across a pivotal series. Enter: The Circle: France.

The Circle is a reality tv show with the goal of seeing who is the “ultimate influencer.” I know how this sounds, and believe me, I wasn’t convinced either. The first question that came to mind after reading the description was, “why?” But I needed to watch something mindless, and what could provide such entertainment but a game show to see who can use a fake social media platform the best? And so, I embarked on this mission to watch The Circle. I watched The Circle: France, but there are other seasons of the show with contestants from other places, like the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the United States. I choose the French version because I found it a bit more exciting than a US option; I had never seen a French reality tv show before! It was also simply the first version that showed up recommended to me.

For the first two episodes or so I was still unconvinced that The Circle was a legitimate show. The idea of this fake social media seemed silly (why not use an actual platform?) and I didn’t quite understand the format, but over time everything became clear and I was invested. Like any reality tv show, there are people you like more than others despite knowing virtually (pun intended) nothing about them. This was the case for all of the contestants, affectionately referred to as #lecirclefamilie (#thecirclefamily). Everyone was isolated in their respective rooms throughout the show and all interactions with other players were exclusively through their profiles and chats—which means catfishing is fair game. After all, The Circle is a game of popularity and people are there to win. Oh, how funny it is to look back and see the participants willingly self-isolating for the filming period, only to have quarantine become mandatory in real life a few months later. That’s right, my quest for escapism just brought me back to what I was trying to avoid. Go figure.

There are 12 episodes in total, but I think I finished the series in less than a week. The Circle became my 12 to 4 am routine and I had to restrain myself from indulging in another episode to see how the cliffhanger was resolved. Towards the end of the week, I was absolutely hooked. So much that my enthusiasm encouraged my roommate to watch it. That meant I was to watch it again. For a second time. In less than 2 weeks.

In many ways, my experience watching The Circle: France was simply part of the fever-dream that was the beginning of a worldwide pandemic destroying life as we knew it. In that respect, it’s fair to say I probably could have watched anything during that time and ended up deeply invested. But I didn’t, so that’s why we’re here. I won’t lie and say I’m not curious about the other seasons, but I don’t think they will live up to the level of expectation set by The Circle: France. #deso (pas deso).

All images used in this article are screenshots from The Circle: France on Netflix.