“All About Defining Yourself”
November 4th, 2008
I always hate to be too literal with titles that have some meaning within my review, but checking back in with The CW’s Privileged on this particular episode title is quite fortunate. This is a show that, from its pilot, defined itself very carefully, establishing some fairly standard forms of drama that would play out in the episodes that followed. You had your plucky heroine who’s in over her head with a strict boss, two out of control teenagers, a best friend who is in love with her, a sexy neighbour who flirts with her, a sister she hates, a drunk father she resents, and a runaway mother who she has written out of her life. Let the melodramatic hijinx commence!
In the hands of Rita Mimoun, I think that those of us who have been watching Privileged have seen many of these things play out in ways that are more charming than cliched, a fact that has elevated the series in our eyes. It’s considered to be, at this point, the one freshman show that critics and discerning viewers are really getting behind (Pushing Daisies being the sophomore series getting the same treatment), and that is very much about its strongly defined sense of identity that has been formed over its opening episodes.
But, as of late it feels as if the show is burning through its storylines a bit too quickly: we’ve met Megan’s troublesome sister, introduced her reformed father, had her clash with the two teenagers, and pitted her neuroses against her boss on numerous occasions (plus, Sharon Lawrence has recently been cast in an extended guest arc as, you guessed it, Megan’s mother). With a lot of the show’s built-in drama being expended so quickly, one feels like the show is going to fall into a trap of either repetition or, similar to shows like Gilmore Girls and The O.C., having to keep introducing new characters and stimuli while repeating the same patterns.
So, I entered “All About Defining Yourself” with this concerned pointof view, and I left it with two general sentiments: that I still don’t know if the show has enough of a foundation to head down that path, and that I think we owe it some more time to get there.