“All About a Brand New You!”
February 24th, 2009
Falling out of love with Privileged was something that I did not do with a light heart. When the season started, the show felt like it had something most pilots didn’t, an X factor of sorts which made it worth spending time with due to its status as a teen show with heart and, more importantly, some intelligence. And the thing is that these two things haven’t fundamentally disappeared, per se, in the time since I last wrote about the show, but something of that initial spark is missing.
“All About a Brand New You!” feels like the show’s attempt at a return to form, and in terms of some of its characters it is a very successful investigation into individualism, placing Rose and Sage as equivalent to Ibsen’s Nora from A Doll’s House. But while the episode uses a large, showy event in order to showcase these changes, and gives both sisters a sense of independence and control over their destinies that serve their characters well, our heroine Megan is more or less hung out to dry with a sadsack relationship that holds no interest and, upon its end in the episode, no real dramatic weight. When the episode ends with a cliffhanger about the state of that relationship, one comes to two conclusions: that the show is awfully presumptive to end with a cliffhanger considering its uncertain future but that, even if it gets that chance to come back (my fingers do remain crossed) I don’t particularly feel like its resolution is going to change my views on the show’s romantic center.
September 9th, 2008
For those who read the blog on a regular basis, it seems like the early part of this week is more or less all teen soap operas, all the time – and that’s without me having much to say about the second season of Greek, which I do plan on commenting on at some point in the future (perhaps tonight’s episode, yet unwatched, will do the trick). However, for now, I want to comment on The CW’s newest entry into the field, their choice for a lead-out from 90210. Coming from Rita Mimoun (late of Gilmore Girls, Pushing Daisies and Everwood), this is a series that is definitely not a much buzzed about debut, not does it carry with it any of the same concerns over sexual content.
Instead, it is something very different: a show that, unlike 90210, is taking time to establish its own identity as opposed to simply throwing fascimiles of genre archetypes into a pot and hoping things work themselves out. There are points where Privileged becomes a bit too precocious for its own good, but Mimoun’s time on former WB/CW dramedies has served her well: for every small moment of dialogue that’s a bit too quippy, there is a moment of well-placed exuberance, or heartfelt honesty, that ground the show in something quite compelling. The scenarios here are not “Remember that summer when we met?” but rather complex family conflicts, romantic tension-filled friendships, and just the right amount of characters for us to follow in the early going.
I’m not saying that the show is perfect, but after watching 90210 kind of just flop around earlier in the evening it’s kind of nice to see a show that, for its pilot, completely understands what it wants to be, how it plans on getting there, and what it was about The O.C., Everwood or Gilmore Girls that not only kept people watching, but that sucked people in to people, places, ideas.