Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Life Unexpected, "Bong Intercepted": Lux unmasked

A very quick review of last night's "Life Unexpected" coming up just as soon as I nurse my drink...

Well, at least they're mixing up the "Lux pushes away from her parents and then moves back towards them" stories by having her only mad at Cate this week. Which means, I suppose, that next week Baze will upset her in some way while Cate gets to play sympathetic ear.

Despite the repetitiveness of the overall story (which I've talked about before, and which I suspect we're going to have to deal with at least until episode 7 or 8), I continue to like the characters (particularly Baze and Lux), like the fact that the supporting players outside Baze/Cate/Lux/Ryan are starting to get some depth, and I like the shaggy, chaotic vibe to this world. Cate and Ryan's secret affair plot has been put to bed, because it seemed an unnecessary contrivance, and I was glad that one of the angry callers also brought up the dumb "you lied about having a baby" story from episode two.

At some point, the show will need to start telling other stories. So far, though, I can deal. Frankly, I had a bigger problem with how much of the episode Lux spent without her trademark knit cap, which helps create the illusion that Brittany Robertson is 16 in the same way that Clark Kent's glasses make people believe Superman could be a big nerd.

What did everybody else think?

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

I'm surprised by how so many people think Brittany Robertson looks too old. Nearly every other TV show in recent history has employed twenty-somethings to play high schoolers...

I am getting a little tired of the formula but I did really like Cate's speech at the end and I hope they start giving Math more to do.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Robertson's oldness only matters in the case of a show like this where the parent and child are so close in age, and in this one where Shiri Appleby (particularly in the pilot, before she got the "mom haircut") looks a bit younger than she really is.

Alexis Bledel was roughly the same age when "Gilmore Girls" began that Robertson is now, but she looked like a 16-year-old girl, which helped maintain the illusion that she could be Lauren Graham's daughter.

PY said...

Though the theme is a bit repetitive, it does seem to make sense in the universe of the show (in addition to serving the purpose of educating new viewers each week, as Alan's pointed out). You'd expect to be a lot of these bumps in the beginning of these particular relationships, given where Lux (and Cate and Baze) are coming from. It will start to get a little tiresome soon if it's so blatant every week, though.

I think the issue with the "looking too young/old" issue might be the comparison to Gilmore Girls. In that case, I think the main factor was that Lauren Graham actually looked older than her character was supposed to be. I think it makes sense for someone to be a bit off put with how close Lux and her mom look in age.

I thought the scene with Lux and Cate outside the radio station was very strong and summed up the dynamic of the show really well. To cop a phrase from another writer, the room (almost) started to get a little dusty during that one.

Stef said...

I also liked that in this episode, Lux owned up to not being perfect, too. She did lie to all the other kids, and she did "out" Cate and Ryan (Bryan?), and she owned up to it.

Nichole said...

@Alan re Alexis Bledel v. Brittany Robertson - the differences in Rory and Lux's life experiences up until we meet them also lend themselves to it being okay that Lux look older. She should look older - and carry herself differently than the average 16 year old who grew up outside of the foster system and/or with at least one parent. Not to mention the difference in being an urban teen v. a product of Stars Hollow. I think if 16 year old Rory met 16 year old Lux, Lux should absolutely look older.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Interesting point, Nichole, but I think that Shiri Appleby's youthful look kind of mandates a younger-looking Lux - or, at least, explains why so many of us can't help but notice it. If the Lauren Graham of 2000 were playing Cate, it'd be less of an issue.

redwhimsy said...

I'd like to say that as actual viewer in her 30s, I'm not quite buying Ryan. Although I am glad the show didn't make him a cartoon villain, his character is heading into the cartoon saint who either hands out lectures for delinquent dad Baze, a

I want more complexity for his character. For example, why is he with Cate? The show has made no bones about the fact that she's a strident commitment-phobe, the immature flip-side to Baze's lovable man-child. I would prefer to show that Cate either acted very differently with Ryan or that Ryan have something in his background that draws him to such an emotionally wounded person.

I find myself much more invested in Baze's growth. Kristoffer Polaha continues to perform well, and I find his dilemmas more interesting.

meopta said...

@ redwhimsy, I think we're being set up to detach from Ryan - twice she interrupts sex to answer a call from Baze? Really?

I don't know - I like everything about this show but it feels directionless to me. I don't know where we're going or if I care if we get there. I'm giving it another few episodes because the actors are pretty strong, but ultimately a show built around a bong lamp meaning love needs something else going for it.

Rachel said...

OpenID meopta said...

@ redwhimsy, I think we're being set up to detach from Ryan - twice she interrupts sex to answer a call from Baze? Really?

I got that feeling too. I think it has been too simple for Cate/Ryan so far now that Lux is in the mix. I would think it would be a little harder for a guy who just proposed to a commitment-phobe to immediately accept this kid that he did know existed and just go on like nothing happened.

We didn't even get much of a reaction from him when Lux outed them. He may have been happy to have the charade over with, but you would expect at least a little bit of "I'm worried about my job now" to happen.

I like the show so far though and am willing to stick with it to see where they go once they move past the formula.

Kristen said...

When I saw the previews for this show, I thought Lux was supposed to be like, 13. I do not think she looks too old at all.

Of course, I also think Sheri Appleby looks like she is 20-something. But I do believe her as Lux's mother.

Chris said...

This probably says more about me than Appleby but I had to Google her to scratch the seen her before itch. And I watched the first season of Roswell twice. For me, Cate looking much older than Liz creates enough distance in my mind between her and Robertson.

Jon88 said...

Great, Erin Karpluk ("Being Erica") gets her first U.S. TV gig and doesn't even need a passport to get to the set.

fred said...

So maybe it's me... but about Lux being suspended for, well, nothing really. I would have had no problem with Cate (though Blaze would have seem like a better fit, but he's the cool friend and she's the tough soldier :/) going there and arguing that she didn't do anything, really.

Lux just sold a lamp. It's a freaking lamp, would she be in trouble had she had a picture of her room, featuring that same lamp on her desk?
Also, she sold it to a friend, outside of school, yet she's out... what about the girl who actually brought this "object of the Devil" inside the school??

More importantly, after switching Lux from one school to another without even telling her, and then not realizing how Lux could not appreciate that, again Cate didn't seem to see how wrong she was, I felt - even though Lux didn't even brought that up either.

It's not that Lux's file got copied and distributed at school, but that Cate didn't come to argue that Lux shouldn't be suspended because she didn't do anything wrong, but because she should be treated differently, because she's such a poor orphan.

When she was trying to get the principle to read the file, I just couldn't help but imagine (beside the obvious cliché that took place...) how Lux would feel finding out that Cate went there to argue that Lux is a poor girl people should have pity for, and that that was the reason she shouldn't be suspended.

I was Lux, that would have been why I'd gotten so pissed. Not that people found out about my real past, but that Cate meant to use it, to inspire pity and as a result get me to be treated differently than any other "normal" kid!

Lost TV said...

I am kinda sick of the hot and cold relationship between the mother and daughter. Kinda getting annoying. But I guess you gotta tug at the heart strings sometimes. Every day though? Seems a bit much.

Anonymous said...

@Jon88, good catch on Erin Karpluk. I was SOOOO excited to see that she had joined the cast and I hope she sticks around.

I'm hoping that we'll move into new territory on the show now that Kate has given Lux an ultimatum and told her to stop threatening to move out whenever things aren't perfect. I guess I'd like to see Kate's and Baze's families become more involved in Lux's life. Also, maybe a return of her friends and boyfriend. They were 100% missing in this week's episode.

Christy