Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life Unexpected: Checking in on Lux and company

Due both to the timeslot crunch and my waning interest in the show, I haven't written about "Life Unexpected" lately. But last night, I caught up on last week's episode and this week's, and I was pleased (moreso with the first episode than the second) to see the stories start to move along, and to see the show go more in-depth with Lux's history as a foster kid.

That said, I'm not crazy about where we seem to be heading with the wedding, Baze's rekindled interest in Cate, etc. Cate and Ryan have already broken up once over Baze, and if it happens again - and in such short order - it's going to even more annoying than starting off the series with so many episodes in a row of "Ryan and Cate screw up, Lux runs away, then they win her back with a big speech."

Who's still watching? What do you think of the show's progress heading into the final episodes of the season?


Unknown said...

The story is like running around a track: Cate/Baze fight, Lux acts up and makes Cate/Baze team up, Cate/Baze flirt, Cate has Baze issues with Ryan, Lux acts up and pulls Cate/Baze apart and on and on and on.

I don't know why I still watch.

Nicole Marie said...

I think the biggest problem with this show--and the reason last night's episode is likely my last--is that Cate is an incredibly, aggressively unlikeably character. Her reaction to everything is selfish and always involves screechy yelling.

I also thought it was particularly noticable last night that Ryan is the only character that they show taking an adult and nurturing role with Lux. They do show Baze acting in reasonable ways, but each character reacts to him like he's a huge jerk and screwup no matter what behavior he exhibits. So you have two decent men, and one annoying shrew--how is it believable that not one, but both, would have feelings for her?

Right now I think the best ending for the show would be for Ryan to adopt Lux and they could move to Seattle and live happily ever after.

Anonymous said...

Math had the quote of the week: "You sounded like cats drowning in more cats."

I'm with Tom on this one. I'm still watching, but I wonder why. I like Baze, Lux and even Ryan but cannot stand Cate. She is the one who ruins every bit of progress with all of the relationships on the show. Her character is really hard to like and it's killing the show for me.


Carrie said...

The story isn't going anywhere, but for some reason I still really enjoy the episodes. There are just so many emotional moments I don't feel I'm getting in any other show right now, and they do those moments well. One especially surprising (and pleasant) development has been the relationship between Lux and Ryan. He's pretty much the only "sane" person Lux has in her life right now, and he keeps her grounded in an interesting way.

I understand the Cate hate (hee) but I think the show did a decent job explaning where she's coming from in the past few episodes. She felt abandoned by everyone as a pregnant teen, closed herself off and is now having to face all of those issues she's shoved aside all of these years all at once. For a controlling personality, that's going to cause some issues.

What needs to happen, though, is the wedding. Cate needs to marry Ryan. If they don't get married, I don't see how the story moves forward at all. It's a much more interesting dramatic choice for her to marry him than for her to have second thoughts because of Baze.

Gunny Wallen said...

I've been watching since the first episode because Like Alan said in his first blog post about the show, it felt like the glory days of The WB again, but lately I just want to smack Cate and Lux in the mouth. The most likeable character is Ryan. I don't see the show having much of a future if the formula we've been seeing continues.

katie71483 said...

I really wanted to like this show. I like the people in it and I miss the old school WB shows. I really liked the pilot but after that it was essentially the same episode every week. I got bored, missed some episodes and, to be honest, haven't missed it. At all. I think it would've made a better lifetime movie or 2-part miniseries.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to keep watching this show, but the timeslot makes it incredibly difficult. I haven't seen last night's yet as I was busy watching Chuck:-) Like Carrie above, I am finding the episodes enjoyable watching despite too much going nowhere.

I can see what so many find Cate unlikable, but (again agreeing with Carrie) think the show does a good job of helping us understand why she is the way she is. I could sympathize with Cate as Lux blamed her for abandonment without having any of that resentment for Baze who had behaved so much worse back then. (I definitely felt for Cate as she told Baze what she'd overheard the Monday after.)

miglet said...

This show frustrates me to no end. I want to like it. Heck, I want to love it, yet for every one episode that seems like forward momentum in the story we have three episodes of the same dialogue and same static characters pulling us back to episode one. Episode one being 'Lux finds her parents and gets angry at them.'

I usually turn it on, but my interest wanes by 20 minutes in, and I only half-pay attention. Not surprisingly, I don't seem to miss much when half-watching.

Kathie said...

I'm really liking this show, it's got heart. Last week we found out that Lux cannot forgive Cate for not only abandoing her, but also for never checking on her to see if she was okay......very emotional stuff. In her defense, Cate had a pretty rough time of it.....Baze blew her off and humiliated her after the Winter Formal and her family was useless. Alcoholic mom & deadbeat dad, she's had a rough time of it...... I find her sister Abby the annoying one and her being with Baze is just wrong on so many levels

Tom M said...

I like this show for what it is. IMO, the CW/WB has never been a go-to for "critically" good shows, you're not gonna get a ton of depth there. It's where you go for your dose of angsty, slightly moralistic, family melodrama stuff. If you have a place for that in your viewing schedule, then I think this fills it.

To me the level of what some people call "frustration" or "annoyance" with this show is directly proportional to how willing you are to buy into the premise. If you buy that "a never-been-adopted foster child faces a legal obligation to get to know her birth parents in lieu of/prior to emancipation" (which, given my love for this cast's prior work, I'm buying), then the path the show has taken is not inconceivable for me. I rehash the same problems/issues with my friends and family constantly, and I've known most of them 20+ years, so I'm willing to buy that, thrust into an uncomfortable reunion scenario with a family I'd never known, that a lot of the same baggage would come up repetitively in the beginning.

I do like that recent episodes have tried to branch out and give a little more in the way of layers and depth, and that the writers have given Kerr Smith increasing amounts to do. This isn't a make-or-break hour for me that I'd bawl over if the show got canceled, but I do find it a relatively enjoyable way to spend an hour a week.

Anonymous said...

I've been watching the show pretty regularly and agree that the majority of the episodes are repetitive but the show has potential if it can overcome this repetition. I like the show because it shows a family in the opposite of what old school television has shown us, that parents and children are a perfect. Gilmore Girls and other shows today (like Modern Family, Arrested Developement, etc)probably show this idea better but if the characters are allowed to grow naturally (Baze, Cate and Lux)then I think it can be good.

Zack Smith said...

Alan, agree with a lot of your thoughts. This show has a good cast and a lot of potential, but the growing pains in this season have been:

1) Every episode follows a formular where Cate and/or Baze screw up, and yelling happens. The drama's too focused on the premise. Last week with the therapy was good, but right now the world feels insular and repetitive.

2) The pacing feels off. Despite only a couple of main characters, each episode rushes through a number of plot points. They've at least taken the time to introduce an extended cast, but often we're TOLD how these characters relate to each other (Baze disappoints his family, Tasha is there for Lux, etc.) instead of being SHOWN these relationships. GILMORE GIRLS could be meandering, but from the beginning it was good at letting the characters wander through their world and letting recurring figures build up in personality. I'd like to get a sense of the day-to-day universe these characters inhabit at places like school and the radio station, and let the drama build organically from there.

3) Josh Schrwatz Syndrome, in the sense that almost every episode involves some event/gathering designed to bring the characters in conflict. It's gotten better the last few eps, but the number of parties/radio station events in the first few eps got increasingly contrived.

4) What you said about Cate. The ground is there for an interesting character, but she mostly comes off as screechy and irritating -- and she should be the most sympathetic character on the show after Lux. That both Baze and Ryan (and poor Math) are infatuated with her only brings those characters down.

5) Honestly, Baze's relationship with Lux is more interesting. He's good at being a friend, but not as good at being a dad. There are just some inconsistent moments -- flipping out over Lux at Winter Formal, hooking up with Abby) that seem out of left-field. There's other ways for him to screw up without seeming like a caveman.

Of course, I realize these complaints come from my having watched every episode to date, so something about the show IS working. (>: But there's still some kinks to get out, and I hope the creators address these.

Also, Cate should totally marry Ryan, because there's self-destructive, and then there's running off with your high school crush. I just hope Bug doesn't knock up Lux. Poor girl's been through enough.

...why is overanalyzing melodrama fun?

Ashley said...

If Cate and Ryan break up, I am going to be VERY upset. Ryan is the best character on the show. He deserves love and puppies.

WWWeaves said...

I have left over Sheri Apleby love from a pilot she did that didn't go. So I hate the writers, the character is close but not quite. The arcing smacks of novice show-runner. I want to like this show. I like all of the actors/characters. Except Baze's father. He needs to hire a new writer.

WV: wishix: I wishix was a better show.

Carolyn said...

I really like it.

It is the most "like Everwood" show out there (much moreso than Berlanti's Bros & Sis) and it keeps me entertained when I get home at 9 or 10 on Monday nights and can settle in with a new episode.

It has some problems, but nothing that's going to keep me from watching it.

(Sure, it's got some same themes every week, but if you compare it to, say, House, at least the same themes aren't always with the same character!)

Zach said...

Yea the writers are putting up show after show of criminal waste of Appleby's talent. Was the head writer burned by a smart girl in high school or what?

Mostly theres lots of posing and barking from everybody but no real investment in each other, I felt like I was watching a school talent show from the cheap seats.

Somebody in there sure doesnt know what they are doing.

alex s., late to the show as always said...

I like the show. I wish they would find a more consistent voice for the characters, but I like most of the characters.

I think they made a big mistake by playing the Cate/Ryan engagement card in the first episode - it puts a lot of pressure (and potentially an ugly spin) on the Cate/Baze interactions. If they'd gone slower, it might also have helped to develop Cate both separately and in her relationship with Ryan.