Tuesday, February 16, 2010

LUX Stretches Its Characters...

On last night's episode of Life Unexpected, "Turtle Undefeated," our dear characters appeared to have experienced something of Freaky Friday moments. Lux blew off her foster friends Bug and Tash to throw a party in the bar for the quarterback of her new high school (who Bug aptly deems "Abercrombie"); Cate plays beer pong with some underage high school kids and lands in jail; and Baze reprimands Lux for stealing his keg and putting his bar in jeopardy. It was a fitting episode considering series creator Liz Tigelaar set these characters up as the "grown ups who act like kids with the kid who acts like a grown-up."

And though Lux had moments of her before-her-time maturity at the end when she made the call to get her parents bailed out and apologized to Baze, the mistakes she made leading up to that end were typical teenager. For a character who only wants to be "normal," she may have just achieved it without even realizing it.

What was great about this episode for me was that it set up all of the things Tigelaar had been talking about since day one: we finally got to see Lux actually torn between her two worlds, first by forgetting that her long-time friends had surprise plans for her and scheduling a party on the same night and then having them drop by said party unexpectedly. It forced her to confront the ways in which her life is changing and set up that she is going to have to do some soul-searching not-so-far down the line. I only hope the lines at the end about Bug being a "good guy...really deep down" don't get proven wrong. I don't want this to turn into the typical high school program where the lead girl has to fall for, and then get, the quarterback. Yes, I know that's what I want to happen with Cate, but there's a history there. For Lux, it would just feel forced and false.

Baze had his own seemingly out-of-character moment of passion when he realized what was really going on in that party up in his loft (which, really, was tame by high school standards when I went, and I can only imagine things have just plummeted from then!), but it was Cate and her poor judgment that truly took the cake.

Throughout the season so far Cate has expressed concern that Baze gets to be the fun parent-- the good cop-- while she is the uptight "rules" parent. This really came to a head last night when Lux came home from spending an evening with her father and his friends at an amusement park and didn't think that was as fun as when she went window shopping with Cate days before. A bit bothered that Lux didn't want to have the party at her place, Cate "dropped by" Baze's bar. And when she entered the party, to her credit, she didn't freak out over the free-flowing beer in the sixteen year-olds' cups...instead she joined them. Well, beer does go right to your head, doesn't it!?

Earlier in the day yesterday, a friend and I spent a good chunk of time discussing what we think is appropriate behavior regarding drugs, alcohol, those who use, and those who enable the users. I know I am harsher on even casual drug users than perhaps I should be (but casual drug users are not addicts and when a disease is not involved, I have no sympathy for bad behavior), and I know having Cate play a (very quick) game of beer pong (with paddles! finally somebody does it correctly!) was a simple story device and not meant to cause a long-term, controversial, scathing dissection. But it still really got to me.

See, up until this point I considered myself something of a Cate. I understand her relationship issues; I admire her inherent maternal ability despite her own lack of confidence in it; hell, I even eat a chocolatey cereal for breakfast, too! But trying to prove she is still young and fun or not, the moment where she walked into the loft and saw the beer in the tell-tale plastic cups, it just felt completely out of character for her not to stand in the center of the room and tell everyone they had to the count of three to get out or she'd be calling all of their parents.

There's something to be said for parents who know their kids are going to drink and would prefer to have them do it in their own home so at least they will be there to keep an eye on things. I like to think that I will be open-minded enough to be that kind of parent. But I'm just as high-strung as Cate and so I doubt it. And because I know her so well-- because I am her-- I had a hard time believing she would have such a moment of weakness.

So what did we learn from last night's episode, faithful readers? Though DanielleTBD hated high school and usually actively avoids anything and everything (except Mean Girls) that even so much as references that age range, Life Unexpected has managed to make a hypocrite out of me. That's a ballsy move, and because of it, the show has impressed me once again!

1 comment:

Stefan said...

yeah, so far I think Baze is written a little more consistently then Cate. But maybe that's just my bias. I was expecting more of a Gilmore Girls type relationship. I don't fully buy that Cate went from single gal to over protective mom trying to be cool in like 2 weeks.