After plowing through all of the addictive seasons and episodes of Netflix’s reality series The Circle, fans have so many questions about how the whole filming process works. Even though the players reside in apartments in the same building, they never meet in person or hear each other’s voices, only communicating through a voice-activated instant messaging system called Circle and sharing status updates and photos via a profile. Are they playing as themselves or catfishing?
Fans of the series are probably wondering about a few different things, even four seasons in, and how it all works.
Updated on May 10th, 2022 by Christine Persaud: It’s tough to believe that in just over two short years, The Circle is already onto its fourth season. Fans continue to eat up the episodes that are continuously addictive as they watch players strategize and chat with others, not knowing if they really are who they say they are. Every season has its own interesting twists, including season 4 having Spice Girls Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”) and Emma Bunton (“Baby Spice”) catfishing as a young, male children’s author. Indeed, each season is spicier than the last and poses new questions about how the show really works.
How Do They Not Hear One Another?
In the series, the players are each in a separate apartment in the same building. Based on the exterior shot showing a circle of lights around the apartments, they are located next to one another.
If this is the case, how do the players not hear one another? In reality, the apartments are soundproofed, according to TheThings.com, and there is one vacant apartment in between each person to prevent them from hearing one another’s screams, shrieks, gasps, and voices. This is essential for players who were male and playing as female and vice versa and allowed for some of the best catfishes on The Circle.
How Do They Handle Being Completely Isolated?
Players have plenty of things to keep them busy, including a full kitchen, gym, and outdoor hot tub, books, paper, playing cards (Solitaire, anyone?), and more. And, of course, they can chat online with other players, delivering some of the funniest quotes on The Circle. But don’t they get bored?
Players reportedly have some interaction with producers, according to RadioTimes, to avoid feeling isolated and have access to an on-site therapist whenever they feel stressed or need someone to talk to. They are also escorted by someone whenever they leave the apartment, which is typically only to smoke or head up to the hot tub.
Why Do They Get All Dolled Up For “Dates?”
The answer to this question is probably obvious: because these people are being filmed 24/7, getting all dressed up makes them feel good. Even if a date won’t ever see the player in person, millions of people watching the show will. Plus, if the person is blocked, they have the opportunity to visit another player in person, which means everyone always wants to look their best in case they fall into such a scenario.
While the players are also seen in pajamas right after waking up with no make-up on, it’s amusing to watch the players pick their favorite outfits, do their hair, and cake on make-up for a virtual date or party.
Do They Get Any Sun?
Several scenes show players enjoying a rooftop hot tub where they can visit for some sun and avoid cabin fever. But there are staff members who make sure only one player is ever there in any place, including the hot tub or the gym, at a time, according to Decider. Any time a player leaves the apartment, they are accompanied by someone on staff.
Even players who didn’t use the hot tub still went up the rooftop for fresh air every now and then, according to Buzzfeed, since players are not permitted to go onto the balconies of the apartments.
Can They Chat Whenever They Want To?
While players can pretty much chat as they please, both in direct messages and groups, the chat is turned off at certain times. It is unavailable overnight, for example, so the players can get a good night’s sleep without being interrupted.
Unlike reality series like Big Brother where people can physically wake you up at any time to talk game, chatting is more regulated here. Players can, of course, say whatever they want, which becomes entertaining with the funniest cast members on The Circle. But there is no need to have clandestine chats in the middle of the night since those could happen during waking hours via DMs without worry over another player listening: they can’t listen in to a private chat unless they are invited.
What Do They Do All Day?
We see them play endless games of Solitaire, dance around, work out, cook, draw, do puzzles, write in journals, and, of course, chat with one another. But there are many waking hours in a day. How do players fill these in essentially solitary confinement?
A quiet day of reflection with oneself is great, and producers have said that players enjoyed the solitude. As noted, players do occasionally talk with producers, and therapists if needed, and can go to the gym or hot tub if they get antsy and need a change of scenery.
Why Doesn’t Anyone Attractive Come in As Someone Nerdy?
While several contestants have come in as nerdy people wanting to pretend to be thin or muscular, conventionally “beautiful” or “handsome” singles, and a female has come in to play as a male or vice versa, no one yet has become in pretending to be nerdy when they were athletic.
Once everyone got to know him as himself, the “nerdy” Shubam from season 1 was among the most popular players, which may have influenced the direction of the game in showcasing how those who might otherwise be looked over are the ones who are most often judged by their outward appearance. He didn’t need to show shirtless photos or bikini pics to be liked – he was universally loved.
How Long Does Filming Typically Take Place?
Filming takes place each season in Salford, England, which makes sense since the show is based on a U.K. version of the show of the same name. It takes place over a three-week period, with the finale being filmed a day after the last episode was filmed. Filming took place in August 2019 for season 1, for example, in the same building where filming took place for the U.K. version for its second season.
While it hasn’t been confirmed, according to Distractify, filming for the currently airing season 4 likely occurred in August 2021.
Who Are the People in the Fake Profiles?
Several people who have played as catfishes have used images of unknown individuals in their profiles to pretend to be those people, like Alex who used the photo of a handsome blonde man he called Adam. However, others, particularly in more recent seasons, have played as people they actually know. DeLeesa, for example, winner of season 2, played as her husband Trevor. Parker from season 4, meanwhile, played as her father Paul.
Most often, players are choosing to take on the persona of someone else they know because they believe they will be more approachable and liked as that person who might be younger, more conventionally attractive, or simply of a different gender. Courtney and Lee, for example, might not have become one of the best bromances on The Circle had Courtney known that Lee was an older man and not the 20-something-year-old River he was playing as.
Why Was Ed Able to Enter With His Mom?
Since season 1, several players have come into the house playing as a team or were put together as a team after being blocked. Most recently, Melanie Brown and Emma Bunton from The Spice Girls came in to play together, catfishing as a young man named Jared who writes children’s books. Nonetheless, when Ed played with his 50-something-year-old mom, it was the first time the game showcased a pair instead of a single person.
Two heads are always better than one but the show has demonstrated through other seasons that having two people doesn’t always yield better results.
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