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Tuesday, 21 of November of 2017

Tag » Life Unexpected

Life Unexpected – “Teacher Schooled” and “Affair Remembered”

“Remember tonight … for it is the beginning of always.”

Lux gives the class speech at her high school graduation in 2012.

Spoiler: the show does NOT end in hail of bullets after double-crossing a South American drug lord. However: Lux does kill Dumbledore.

A film degree at my alma mater requires a minor and, instead of doing the responsible thing and getting a Computer Science minor to tag onto my established expertise, I went in a more interesting route and took every Italian class my school had to offer. My interest in Italian stems from my hero worship of the man credited with codifying the language: Dante Alighieri. I’ve read just about his entire catalog, including some in the original Italian, and have been reading his work since I was fifteen.

The quote Eric Daniels writes on the board doesn’t ring a bell.

If you know where it comes from, I’m willing to learn but I couldn’t find “ricorda” (the command form of “to remember”) and “notte” or “sera” (“night” or “evening”) anywhere near each other in La Commedia, Vita Nova, or Rime. I even looked in the complete poetry of Guido Cavalcanti, Dante’s best friend.

Where I did find a reference (besides the numerous quote sites on the internet citing Dante as the source of the quote but not from where it was derived) is to One Tree Hill. Lucas apparently has a conversation with Brooke about a note in which Lucas included the passage, claiming it was from Dante, an author they read “last semester.” Using One Tree Hill as a kick-off point for the end of the series is fitting, even if the elder series lives on while this one makes its exit.

Life Unexpected was supposed to be the Everwood/Gilmore Girls series that everyone was missing, a show that could fill the void of family drama the WB used to program for so well. And its first season (particularly the end) showed some promise. But second season went off the rails a little bit and started to, frankly, look more like One Tree Hill. Pretty people who can’t seem to ever pull it together because of the soap opera melodrama happening all around them. It’s probably good that LUX wasn’t allowed to limp into another season. Between LUX Shovel and Creepy Eric Daniels, the show was well on its way to a weather machine plotline delayed because Baze’s megalomaniacal father watched his own heart transplant spill across the floor of a hospital. That clip never gets old.

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Podcast 008: Hope Dies Last with TV Fans

“We’re going to make our name by talking about television in relation to our BMs.”

We’re totally all over the map here. As we stand on the precipice of the mid-season, the Monsters discuss everything from our expected disappointment in The Cape (though, if it’s expected, can it really be disappointment?), shippers and underdogs, how to end a series with a bang, how tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother will reflect on the last one, and, at some point, bowel movements. Apparently, we’ve been listening to a little too much Smodcast.

You really want to listen to this one all the way through. It’s kind of amazing.

Running Time: 65 minutes

Topics: Place in the Podcast

  • The Cape: 0:00:56
  • Off the Map: 0:13:52
  • Boardwalk Empire: 0:23:11
  • Perfect Couples: 0:24:48
  • Atlanta and The Varsity: 0:26:48
  • TV’s Midseason Return: 0:24:48
  • Life Unexpected: 0:30:28
  • Skins: 0:33:39
  • Party Down: 0:34:40
  • Downton Abbey: 0:35:46
  • Friday Night Lights: 0:38:41
  • How I Met Your Mother: 0:40:43
  • Fringe: 0:52:19
  • How to End a Series: 0:53:33
  • Felicity: 0:58:55
  • ‘Shippers and the Underdog: 1:00:18
  • The Office: 1:02:21

Podcast 005: “Serial Killers > Zombies”

“Television would lead me to believe that Miami is the worst place in the entire world.”

And television wouldn’t lie to us, would it? This week we discuss the disappointing The Walking Dead finale (in spite of Noah Emmerich’s presence), the holiday-themed episodes we watched this past week, a little CW, a little TNT, and a lot of Dexter. So hop aboard the Polar Express, mind the pterodactyl and the Christmas Attack Zones, and let’s talk it out. Or at least let us talk it out at you.

Running Time: 75 minutes

Topics: Place in the Podcast

  • The Walking Dead: 0:00:27
  • Gossip Girl: 0:22:08
  • Life Unexpected: 0:30:14
  • Holiday Episodes
    • Community: 0:33:37
    • The Office: 0:44:03
    • Glee: 0:47:55
    • Warehouse 13: 0:52:35
  • The Closer/TNT Line-Up: 0:56:32
  • Dexter: 1:02:10

Life Unexpected – “Homecoming Crashed”

“I mean — he was moving, right?”

Tash holds a shovel after striking a man.

What is happening here?!

Troubled kid, meet actual trouble.

For most of tonight’s episode, I felt pretty much the same as I do every week of watching this show. “Ew. Don’t do tha– ew. Lux, you’re a jackass. Tash, please don’t let her — ew. Adults don’t leave them in a room alone togeth– ew.” And, despite because extra crispy gross tonight, Eric “Minnesota” Daniels wasn’t the weirdest part of the evening. No, that easily goes to what Lux did with a car, what Tash did with a shovel, and what the new guy Sam put together all by himself.

Seriously, this is an episode that makes me almost sad that the show is almost certainly doomed. I really want to see where this is going, especially now that they’ve dug deep down into the WB archives for characters this season. Especially since they decided to bring in some of the stuff they plastered over earlier this season (quick! Get Tash away from Valerie! Wait — you called her mom? And don’t mention it again) and weave it into the new stuff they have going on here.

I’ll warn you now, I have no real important thoughts on this episode. I offer no real insight. All I can tell you is what I saw, how I saw it, and hope you watch the episode just to enjoy the spectacle with me. It’s a glorifying hour of witness.

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Podcast 002: Basic Cable is Just Like Everyone Else

Well, well, well. It’s an All-Monster Podcast. It’s like Rampage but better because we have four monsters tearing up your town instead of just three. These week, Karen, Matt, Nick and Noel discuss a range of topics across the television landscape including The Walking Dead, the Mad Men finale (yeah, we know it’s old news — but it’s our show), how cable has disappointed us by having the nerve to cancel shows (Rubicon, Caprica), the USA brand (popcorn/beach-reading), how Life Unexpected is gross probably because they need to keep up with the rest of the CW, and Conan’s pedestrian return, among other things. It’s an interesting hour of witness. Listen to the podcast at the bottom of this post or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Running time: 75 minutes

Topics: Place in the Podcast

  • The Walking Dead: 0:00:58
  • Rubicon: 0:10:23
  • Mad Men: 0:16:21
  • Cable as a Haven: 0:21:42
  • The USA Brand: 0:25:53
  • House: 0:29:52
  • TV Actors: 0:35:59
  • Chuck: 0:37:41
  • Nikita (and other spy dramas): 0:44:51
  • The CW/Life Unexpected: 0:51:41
  • Parenthood defense: 1:04:25
  • Conan: 1:06:21

Brief note from Nick: I know that Chuck didn’t air this week because of the Lauer/Bush thing. I meant last week.


Life Unexpected – “Camp Grounded”

“Even his stubble looks smug and self-righteous.”

Ryan, frustrated with Cate, lets out a heavy, whole-body sigh.

I feel you, buddy.

Eww.

Barring a miracle, we’re looking at a lame duck series. Just about every other series on the CW not rounding out a decade on the network and choosing its own destiny got a full season pick up while Life Unexpected still waits to hear is almost certainly cancelled. TV by the Numbers has marked it dead in the water for weeks, even positing that this show has less of a chance than the Melrose Place reboot (or at least that it’ll go out sooner than it did). To look at the tweets of LUX showrunner Liz Tigelaar, you might be led to believe that the constant wining and dining of her writers, taking them out on the town, is like a farewell tour. “Thanks for everything, guys. Stay tuned for the next thing.” Or maybe that’s just my assumption based on all my information.

Now, there’s no way those behind the show could know what position they would be in come the middle of their order. They had no idea that they would be an intra-network loser to a show that once featured a hospital worker prat-falling, dumping a human heart from a cooler, and helplessly watching a dog in the hospital eat the organ in front of the transplant patient. Yeah, that happened on One Tree Hill. But if this episode is any indication, they are not going to go quietly into the night. They are going out with a bang. A giant, disgusting, bang of wrong.

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Life Unexpected – “Honeymoon Interrupted”

“It’s the only thing we’re actually allowed to do together.”

Eric wants to talk to Lux about last night.

“Hi. My name is Eric. I like young girls.”

Is Eric not icky to anyone else?

Sorry to pull out such an advanced term but Eric is disgusting. Between dating the Lux surrogate and constantly finding himself in compromising positions with a 16-year old, the words he chokes out about things being inappropriate and how he has to steer clear from Lux’s wiles are empty to his actions. And I’m not sure what’s more disturbing: Eric being two shots away from going where only a kid named Bug has gone before or the Lux and Eric ‘shipper tweets I see on the #LUX hashtag. Don’t these people watch E! Investigates? Do they think “the man” is getting in the way the “true love” depicted in the “Hot for Teacher” special?

And seriously, why can’t Math help Lux out? It doesn’t make sense, people. HE LIVES IN THE SAME HOUSE. Math! Come on, man! Save your best friend’s daughter from being molested.

Beyond Mr Daniels being — icky — the rest of the episode is dedicated to one history-revisionist storyline and another painfully obvious one. Cate and Ryan whine about a non-issue and Baze actually treads on some icky territory of his own. All of which is contained in another convenient coincidence where all the adults, for different reasons, are “staycationing” at the same hotel. What are the odds?

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One Tree Hill – “Nobody Taught Us to Quit” & Life Unexpected – “Music Faced”

“Just the sight of a man and a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck and I start ovulating.”

Haley and Cate look on to Mia's performance from the wings.

“Oh, good. You look just as uncomfortable on my show as I do.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this was WB/CW meta-porn.

Obviously from my many mentions of Gilmore Girls and fewer (but important) mentions of Dawson’s Creek and Felicity, I was a fan of the late-90s/early-00s music-with-lyrics-fueled, fast-talking, youth-exploitive, hour-long dramas of the WB. In fact, what appealed me to start watching Life Unexpected in the first place was the constant comparisons to those dramas, particularly Gilmore Girls and Everwood. Sadly, when I arrived at the pilot, I realized that the only thing it shared with those shows is a mother who had a child at 16 and a bunch of adults that didn’t want to grow up. Maybe some fast-talking, definitely a singer-songwriter crooning lyrics over dialogue, but Life Unexpected hasn’t really lived up to the series to which it was compared.

You notice that I never mentioned One Tree Hill as one of those series I adored as a high school senior through early college. Because that show bugged the crap out of me. I liked seeing Tristan from Gilmore Girls (aka Chad Michael Murray) but he’s always had trouble picking roles that suited his abilities. One Tree Hill almost fit him if it wasn’t hampered by elementary dialogue, ridiculous overacting, and characters based almost exclusively on archetypes or stereotypes (like Lucas’s best friend, Skills).

Cringeworthy this show was. Maybe is. I haven’t watched more than an episode a season since. So, imagine my confusion (although I’d heard about it from various places) when I learned the show was flung forward in the future where Nathan and Haley have a writer’s soapbox of a child (you know, the kind that are wise beyond their years and announce the inner-workings of the characters around them) and I didn’t recognize anyone else (except Mouth who looks exactly the same). I don’t want to speak to how the series is telling its story but this particular episode seemed to dispense with typical structure. “Nobody Taught Us to Quit” felt more like walking into a soap opera with stories that are constantly ongoing, so much so that they have no need for intra-episode arcs. Instead, each scene is written like the conventional coda of a WB-series (cue the singer-songwriter, discuss interpersonal issues in overly-articulate platitudes, swell the emotion). It made the episode so. Long. And there really wasn’t much here for the crossover.

So all that WB torch-passing stuff was left to Life Unexpected.

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Life Unexpected – “Criminal Incriminated”

“Really? Because I overheard you today and you sounded like a bad episode of Saved by the Bell which is redundant.”

Lux and Jones discuss a date as "friends."

Clearly, dirty old man Math told Lux cleavage was necessary for JV basketball.

This week’s episode of Life Unexpected is brought to you by Lux’s boobs.

A lot of scoop necks and lean-and-squeezes for Lux as she navigates what is, essentially, an after-school special about cheating. Last season, I noted that one of the themes to this series is taking family sit-com tropes and deconstructing them and recasting the roles to accomodate the childish guardians and the sage adolescent. What they did this week was create a story comparing cheating to the slippery slope usually reserved for drug abuse and then toss in a red-herring-as-backdoor-escape so that Lux comes out of it smelling like a rose.

Sorry if I spoiled it for you, in case you thought Lux’s new penchant for being a Cheater McCheaterson was going to be the catalyst for her Don-Draper-like downfall.

Meanwhile, a lot of ridiculous things happen to the parents, too, including a celebrity golf tournament (lots of celebrity events in Portland despite a dearth of actual celebrities), some wacky trust issues, and a loaf of pot-infused banana bread.

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Life Unexpected – “Parents Unemployed”

“It was real.”

Lux wants to talk to Eric about the other night.

Unjustifiably inappropriate

This week’s episode of Life Unexpected decided it was time to show the lighter side of an SVU episode. It’s not always about locking underaged girls in a basement or using a position of authority to permanently scar or continually reopen gaping emotional wounds in a fragile young girl. It has to start somewhere cuddly and sometimes it begins with a simple car ride with a stranger to an undisclosed location only to find out said stranger is in charge of all kinds of little girls. And then he takes his shirt off. At school. In a classroom walled with glass. Surrounded by your daughters.

The episode itself wasn’t all about pervy Mr Daniels and his “I wish I knew how to quit you” attitude towards Lux. The episode in general is about failure. Cate is a failure after being fired from the show that had her name in the title. Baze is a failure because he hasn’t chased his heretofore unspoken desires to be a financial advisor (what?). Jamie is a failure because Portland is no place for minorities so it’s time to write him out of the show. Seriously. The guy was unceremoniously written out of at least this episode by announcing he’s too poor. And I don’t see anyone else on the show that doesn’t have skin that could be described as either milky or pasty (even poor Natasha was flung far, far away from our oddly-named cast).

But, because if there’s a theme to this series it’s that we follow family sit-com tropes, not everyone is a failure for very long. No, the moral of this story: if you can’t win, settle. Also, Lux is a cheater.

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