Is It A Terrible Idea To Enter 'The Circle' With A Partner? Let's Investigate

- The Circle -
Is It A Terrible Idea To Enter 'The Circle' With A Partner? Let's Investigate

As any introvert will tell you, being forced to participate in a group project is akin to having a root canal for funsies. It's for that reason it always boggles my mind when The Circle contestants decide to join the show with a partner. Sure, there is some merit to the old adage that two heads are better than one, but does that really hold true when you're vying for $100k on a reality show where the only way to win is to become the most popular player in the game? So far, the answer to that question is a resounding no.

The Circle has become something of a phenomenon since it first premiered in the UK in 2018. Since then, the show has branched out to include the US version on Netflix, a Brazil edition, and a French version. Across all of the seasons combined, there have been five teams who entered The Circle together, and an additional three teams who were paired up after being eliminated individually. At this point, no team has won The Circle.

In fact, the closest any team has come to winning the cash prize was in Season 1 of the French version of The Circle when twin brothers Edmundo Faisca and João Faisca came in fourth place after catfishing as a fashion blogger named Nelia. The twins successfully worked together to convince their fellow players that they were an entirely made up person, but even though they made it to the finale, their combined efforts weren't enough to secure them the number one spot.

Now, being a catfish doesn't appear to be an issue when it comes to winning The Circle. From "Trevor" taking home the prize in Season 2 of The Circle US to "Kate" winning the first ever season of The Circle UK, a catfish has every bit as much of a chance of winning as a contestant who is playing as themselves — as long as they remain convincing and relatable. However, playing as a team does seem to have some major drawbacks.

Let's take a look at all of the reasons why entering The Circle as a team never seems to work out.

There's Always A Dominant Personality

In Season 3 of The Circle, Ava and her sister Chanel entered the game together as "Ava," a supposedly better version of the singer-songwriter who was filtered through her sister/manager. And that's where the trouble began. During the early chats it was hard for Ava to come across with any sense of authenticity because Chanel had such a big personality.

By the end of the first episode, the sisters were blocked, only to then be given a second chance as a clone of another contestant, Michelle. And while they did win the battle of the Michelles, the duo couldn't convince enough players that they were the real deal to make it through the elimination in episode four. Again, the biggest problem seemed to be an inconsistencies that arose from Chanel dominating the gameplay.

A similar situation unfolded back in Season 1 when mother and son team Ed and Tammy entered as an older version of Ed. Both Tammy and Ed were outsized characters in their own right, and they both tried to dominate the catfish version of Ed's conversations. Ultimately, they barely lasted four episodes before being eliminated from the competition.

Creating A Cohesive Character Is Harder When Two People Are Involved

Interestingly, the two most successful teams have both been twins: France's Edmundo and João, and Brazil's Lucas and Marcel. Perhaps because they've quite literally grown up together, twins are more in sync than other related pairs. But even though both sets of twins displayed some impressive teamwork, it wasn't enough to carry them over the finish line.

My theory is it's just too hard for two people to successfully craft a character who is consistent, charming, and crafty enough to win the game. On top of there always being a dominant personality, teams also suffer from tonal inconsistencies that naturally arise when two people are trying to speak as a single person. It's just too easy to tip off the other players that they're dealing with a catfish when two players are speaking at once. For instance, in the cases of Ed and Ava, it should have been easy enough for either of them to interact with the others as themselves, but because they were both dealing with outside interference from well-meaning family members, they never felt like a real person.

It truly is a case of too many cooks in the kitchen — or rather too many people on the couch shouting out suggestions during Circle chats.

It Requires A Degree Of Teamwork That Most Contestants Simply Don't Possess

The people who come on The Circle tend to have big personalities — that's why they were cast in the first place. And those personalities don't lend themselves well to teamwork. Teams like Ava and Chanel, and Ed and Tammy worked against each other just as often as they worked together, which caused confusion in how the character they were playing was presented to their fellow contestants.

In other cases, the issue seems to be with the character the team chooses to play in the first place. Let's face it, if you're entering The Circle as yourself, you don't need your mom or your sibling along for the ride. And if you are going to play a true catfish, then you need someone who can help you build a believable person. In Season 1 of the French version, seniors Jo and Monique joined forces to play a 25-year-old, and they failed in large part because neither one of them knew how to talk like a modern 25-year-old man.

The two sets of twins wisely created characters who were closer to them in age, which made it a bit easier to build a personality that felt authentic to the other players. It still wasn't enough to win, but it worked out better than the other teams' strategies.

What Would It Take For A Team To Win The Circle?

It's easy to see where most teams — both the ones who entered The Circle together or were thrown together by the producers after a twist — go wrong, but it's much harder to say what a team needs to do in order to win. Still, I have a few ideas:

  • Agree ahead of time that one player will take the lead during conversations.
  • Designate the second player to be in charge of story, character consistency, and keeping track of all the little bits of information that can get a contestant called out for being a catfish.
  • Create an entirely new character. If you're entering the game as yourself, you shouldn't need help from anyone else.
  • Make sure you can catfish as your chosen person. Teams who are thrown together by The Circle don't have much of a say in the matter, but if you're entering the Circle as a team playing a single character, then that character needs to be someone both people feel comfortable embodying.
  • Play as a team. This sounds obvious, but the best teams balance out each others' strengths and weaknesses. If you're dominating the conversations or not taking advice from your teammate, you're doomed to lose.

Playing The Circle with another person isn't ideal, but it's also not impossible. It's going to take cooperation, creativity, and, most importantly, teamwork for a duo to win the cash prize. And so far, no single team has found a way to successfully pull off all three of those things at once.


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Images: Netflix

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