Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Life Unexpected, "Truth Unrevealed": I'm on the radio EVERY DAY!!!!

A review of last night's "Life Unexpected" coming up just as soon as I go to prom with a thesaurus...

Okay, they're getting there. Definitely getting there. That's a couple of episodes in a row completely free of Pilot-itis, and Baze being obnoxious on Ryan and Cate's show was a blast. And even though I unsurprisingly like the adult characters more than the teens - and even though I could see every beat of this particular story coming way in advance - I felt engaged throughout by the Lux/Jones/Bug triangle.

On the other hand, Cate's late visit to Lux's story was the only part of the episode where I liked her at all. I recognize that the writers have stuck Cate into a lot of difficult situations, and also that there are times when the two men around her get off easy for the same actions she gets slammed for (case in point: the listeners don't hold the secret relationship against Ryan), but the character still comes across as grating, particularly in the scene where she accuses Baze of raping her eyes by having sex with her boss. I thought it a nice bit of symmetry that Cate and Lux tell the exact same story to their respective men, only Cate's lie gets Ryan back while Lux's truth sends Bug running, and yet I feel little sympathy for Cate after an episode that was designed (I think) to put us in her shoes and make us realize how tough this situation is on her.

(Some of this, I think, also comes down to performances. Baze was an ass on the radio, I think, but Kristoffer Polaha has an innate charm that I'm not sure Shiri Appleby does. If you put an actress in a role that's supposed to be adorable, and that actress doesn't present as adorable, the character will just seem annoying. Case in point: the early career of Monica Potter.)

But Cate did give Lux good advice, even if it didn't work out, and even if she didn't have the guts to follow it herself. So "Truth Unrevealed" wasn't a total loss for her.

Overall, the show remains pleasant but unremarkable, with occasional drops of sharp dialogue (Baze describes Cate's voice as "like seagulls fighting over a cheese sandwich"), some characters I like, some I don't. With the TV schedule getting busy again next week post-Olympics, and with "LuX" heading for the 8 p.m. trainwreck slot in two weeks, my reviews of it may become more intermittent, with me checking in with a post if an episode's particularly good or bad. But I'll be watching.

What did everybody else think?

18 comments:

M said...

Why is it moving to 8? Aggggg.
I like this show a lot and it makes me happy that it's getting better.

Dean Winchester said...

Really love the Fraiser quote in the headline.

Q Ball said...

I like this show too and I'm sad that it most likely won't be surviving to see a season 2. I don't particularly like either of Lux's suitors. It's a shame that a pretty good character like Lux is being bogged down by two unlikable love interests. I'm also hoping we get some more Math in the future because Baze's other friend reminds me of every frat douche I've ever known.

Jenny said...

Well, I have to say Monday's episode was just amazing in my opinion. A definite step up from the week before. I'm really starting to fall in love with these characters, and their lives. I think Shiri does a wonderful job with her role, but I feel like viewers dislike her because the Cate character is behaving like a hypocrite. She tells Lux to tell the truth, but then lies to Ryan twice when asked did she sleep with Baze. She also seems to spin the truth by making it seem like it was all Baze's doing and she had nothing really to do with it. When really she's just a guilty as Baze.

elizs said...

If they move this show to 7pm CST, I can't follow it (I already have "Chuck" & HIMYM on then). Monday night's ep was so frustrating, except for the last little bits with Cate & Lux at the end.

I want to like it, I really do, but given the lackluster episode this week along with the fact that it'll soon be up against two old faves of mine . . . well, at least I tried it.

Matt said...

It's moving to 8 (where it falls to 4th in viewing priority behind Chuck, HIMYM, and House for me) because they absolutely cannot get away with airing Gossip Girl at 8 given its content, which allegedly is going to get even raunchier over the tail half of the season.

Will they keep the Wednesday repeats? Because at least for those of us not watching Idol, that's a workable slot.

Team BAZE said...

I absolutely love BAZE...I can't get enough of him. Ryan on the other hand, seems a tad bit creepy. I enjoy seeing the relationship with Cate and Lux grow.

If this show is not renewed for a scecond season, I will be heartbroken.

Jenny said...

After Wednesday March 3rd that will be the final Lux encore on Wednesdays, because America's Next Top model is coming back March 10th.
I'm still going to watch this show on Monday's, because I love it. Plus I don't watch House, Chuck, or anything else on Monday nights.

Alyson said...

I don't watch this show, but I just wanted to say your headline actually made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that Cate is supposed to be adorable. From the start Baze has been set up as the more sympathetic character. He thought Cate terminated, but didn't care enough to follow up (or was happy to be off the hook, or whatever feelings he had) and Cate thought Lux was adopted, but continued her life of not quite telling the truth with - everything she's done sense. I think Cate frantically trying to put out fires with half truths and panic is the set up for her character's explosion. Sympathy for Cate to be earned by revealing her whole life has been running from that night. Or, y'know, not.

But Baze not having a relationship of more than a few weeks in his adult life underlines the Meant To Be subtext even while striking a sour note of 'seriously? what?' for the character. So glad this week was about conflict based in reality instead of conflict created by a need to have conflict. Restored my interest, if this ep didn't move things along I was going to drop the show. I'm totally engaged in it again.

-meopta, (having open id errors again)

David Clarke said...

Last episode of LuX partially worked for me because I was so tired of Cate being the boring, uptight character and Baze being the "cool dad," so I thought it was unfortunate to see the roles get put back into their place. I honestly don't care if Baze and Cate get together, and I like her with Ryan just fine, but the show wants us to care, and since Baze is the one with the fun, carefree attitude, we end up rooting for him no matter what he does.

If I'm being candid, I love this show but it's just as stupid about gender and sex as almost every non-How I Met Your Mother sitcom on television. Okay, not as bad as According to Jim, but you get my point. It's another show where the mother is written as the uptight prude who can't resolve her issues with her Sexual-Tension buddy, Baze. And I know Liz Tigelaar is responsible for the show, but it still seems slower than it should be, gender wise.

Maybe the above is hyperbole, but when the atmosphere, premise and characters of a show are as enjoyable as this one's, mistakes like that stick out more than they would in a show where I don't care about gender politics.

Anonymous said...

I just really enjoy this show! I love Lux! She's so mature for her age (obviously b/c of her past) but she's still only 16 and takes advice from Cate. I think her character is written very realistically. It's pretty clear that Baze is more likable than Cate but they state that on the show so I don't see the problem. It probably won't last forever. They'll probably eventually do a flashback show and make her more sympathetic. ***side note: this show is set up perfectly for a flashback show but they still need to be careful if they decide to do that to not just use the flashbacks as a crutch. Flashback episodes can be a slippery slope but if done right, very enjoyable. If they do one, I hope they do it right.

Ginny said...

I liked Cate talking to Lux about how Baze made her feel. I thought she explained their involvement very believably. Shameful disclosure: I like Jones. He seems very sincere. I even liked him on 'Ruby and the Rockets'--that's the shameful part. I actually watched that show.

debbie said...

I liked seeing that Cate is as big of a mess as Baze is on the inside, she just keeps up appearances better. And hearing her admit that she does have some feelings for Baze that stems from her high school inner-self was very humanizing for her character, as was seeing her lie to Ryan in his doorway when she basically sees that if she goes through with the truth, they would be done.
Plus, loved the cross-cutting between that scene and Lux's talk with Bug.
Also, liked that Bug left in the realization he was acting like his father. I think he knew Lux was outgrowing him, but didn't realize that his ornery behavior was getting that out of control.
So, this episode gave me a lot more reason to keep watching. I'm not giving up on it yet. It also says a lot for this show that my bf doesn't change the channel if I'm watching this and actually sits down to see the rest of the episode.

alex s. said...

It seems like Cate is in a bad place for a variety of reasons (including dealing with high school pregnancy, but the persona she's adopted on the radio isn't doing her any favors). But if they're going to make her transition a long-term theme, I wish they had found a better way to establish where she was starting from.

I think the show is suffering from the (difficult) problem of separating the likability of the character Cate from the likability of the actress playing her. It makes sense that Baze is still surviving on natural charisma, but Cate kind of has an anti-charisma. That can cause a lot of problems for one of your series leads.

I also wish the show could figure out what to do with Ryan. Is he destined to be disappear sooner rather than later because he's "not the one", or is he going to stay in the picture?

It would be nice if this show could stay around long enough to find it's rhythm, but Monday at 8pm seems like a death spot.

Jenny said...

^^^I really hope it isn't moving to a death spot. The show is pretty much going up against heavy competition now too. It's competing with The Bachelor, The Olympics, Two & Half Men, and 24 right now.

Anonymous said...

I've got a technical gripe: how far along into the series will they stop explaining the whole concept of the show in the recaps. I mean, will we still see scenes from the pilot (Lux telling Baze "you gave up a girl, I was that girl" and the teacher friend saying "not emancipation from her adoptive parents, from foster care") even in season 3?

Maura said...

Anonymous (meopta) said... I don't agree that Cate is supposed to be adorable. From the start Baze has been set up as the more sympathetic character. He thought Cate terminated, but didn't care enough to follow up (or was happy to be off the hook, or whatever feelings he had) and Cate thought Lux was adopted, but continued her life of not quite telling the truth with - everything she's done sense. I think Cate frantically trying to put out fires with half truths and panic is the set up for her character's explosion. Sympathy for Cate to be earned by revealing her whole life has been running from that night. Or, y'know, not.

I think you're exactly right about the character. She's been found out, and not just by Ryan, but by the public. Her secrets are fodder for the entire community, and her life is on display for every to comment on. And they do. I find it interesting that everyone is mad at her for keeping quiet about the engagement, but they're not mad at Ryan. And I think there's a reason the show is playing it that way. It's not uncommon in this kind of situation for women to be more vehemently criticized and held more accountable than men would be.

Also, now that she's face to face with Lux, Cate has to deal with having surrendered her every single day, and that's got to hurt. It seems pretty obvious to me that she's kept everything inside all these years. Cate's behavior is actually pretty truthful, IMO. Right now, she's acting out and screwing up because she's completely freaked out over what she did 15 years ago, and she can't hide from it anymore. I also believe we'll be seeing an explosion from her, I hope not too far in the future.