On its surface, The Circle sounds like some shallow, bingeable trash. Stick around until the second episode, however, and you’ll likely be hooked. The social media competition that forms the spine of the Netflix series—players communicate solely through a social media platform, trying to convey authenticity so as not to get blocked by the game’s “influencers”—isn’t all that gripping in a vacuum, but its reliance on the personalities and machinations of its cast is the key to its appeal. Shockingly, even the most duplicitous of the contestants—some purposely catfish their colleagues—turn out to be compelling, amiable folks, each working to convey genuine emotions through a deceptive avatar. But, as the show makes abundantly clear, one’s genuine self is capable of bleeding through a chat box. Four of the five finalists, after all, survived the entirety of the game without once masking their identity or motivations. The friendships they made really felt real.
Just look at Joey Sasso and Shubham Goel. The former is a buff, flirtatious bartender with a thick Jersey accent while the latter is a socially awkward, Marvel-loving virtual reality engineer—together, however, they formed one of the sweetest, most soul-affirming bonds on TV. Their friendship started simply, with Joey observing in the second episode that Shubham—a.k.a. Shooby—was “buggin’ last night” and Shooby fretting over whether adding “man” to the end of a casual inquiry sounded weird. Now, with the show behind them, the pair have made it clear their bromance will persevere beyond the cameras.
“In every way possible, we are different, but that’s the beauty of it,” Shooby recently told Cosmo. “He was my day-one guy in there. Me and Joey still keep in touch....When I’m back [in Los Angeles], we’re definitely gonna kick it. I’m hoping to kick it, like, three or four times a week. With Joey, I one hundred percent know that our relationship from that Circle is going to be just as strong outside of it.”
So, to ensure we never forget the exquisite nature of their union, please join us for a pictorial trek through their friendship’s most pivotal moments.
(Note: I will be spelling it “Shooby,” despite Netflix’s closed captioning spelling it “Shubby.” It sounds like “Shooby,” guys.)