Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Must be a quarter-life crisis...

So, last night I DVRed a new show: Quarterlife. I have a hazy memory of seeing a commercial for this a few months ago. I'm always willing to give a new pilot a shot, especially if it looks like it deals with anyone close to my age, so when I saw it appear on my info-guide for Tuesday night, I decided to record it.

Apparently, this started as an internet show back in November and NBC decided to pick it up for television broadcast. But wait! It's not just some online-drama-turned-television-series; it's also a social networking site. The preview caught my eye because I feel like I'm in the middle of my own- as John Mayer put it- "quarter-life crisis." (Ok, and also because Scott Michael Foster from Greek was in it and I think he's cute)

I suspect it should have held onto its place on the interwebs.

At 27, I am stuck. This is not where I pictured myself at 27 when I was younger. I definitely assumed I would be more “grown up” at this point and more settled in my life.

In a lot of ways, I’m ok with where I am:
  • I’m glad I’m not stuck in a marriage to the wrong guy (and every guy up to this point would have been the wrong guy)
  • while I want kids someday, I’m glad I don’t have that responsibility right now because I have freedom, and I certainly couldn’t afford it
  • speaking of freedom, I have it- freedom to live where I want, freedom to find a new job when I get tired of not having enough money, freedom to chase whatever dreams I decide without having to consider a spouse or child or career, freedom to find out what makes me happy and make it happen.
On the down side:
  • I can’t make up my mind.
  • I don’t know what I want to do with my freedom.
  • I am afraid of wasting too much time trying to decide how to use my freedom and then it will be too late to get the family I want.
  • Do I want to just ride out the job I have now and see where it takes me? Do I want to go to law school like I promised myself I would? Do I want to pursue a better job or a different career entirely?
  • I am stalled in this sort of complacency. I have lofty goals and dreams, but I don’t actively pursue them.
  • Years are going by and I am not moving forward. I’m afraid of being stuck, but I’m just sitting down and being afraid of being stuck.
I have a strong feeling that I am not the only person my age dealing with these thoughts and fears. That’s why just the title of the show intrigued me.

The apparently lead character Dylan opens the show with her blogging by webcam. She is instantly annoying in that “I’m trying really hard to be quirky, insecure, and eccentric” kind of way. I already don’t like her. As she is introducing her roommates and friends, I realize that there is a flaw in casting. The two main guys are good-looking, great-looking even. Dylan is plain and even a bit goofy looking, her friend Lisa is just about average, but her friend Debra is who I am having the most trouble with. Dylan describes Debra as always having been popular. Ok fine, popular people aren’t always pretty, and pretty people aren’t always popular. But Debra looks so homely- skinny, stringy mousy brown hair, hunchy posture, and horrendous glasses- that I can’t believe this tidbit. Dylan goes on to say that Debra has been in a relationship with hottie #1 for years. I get that looks aren’t everything, but hottie #1 doesn’t act like the type to go for personality over beauty, and the discrepancy between the two is so great that it’s just not believable. It’s all made worse by the scenes with the two of them together. It’s awkward and there is an obvious lack of chemistry.

Moving on from the shallow aspects of my criticisms- the whole show was acted like people who are acting. Are you ever watching a commercial/show/movie and you just have this moment where you can tell that the actor is acting. I mean actually visualizing them reading these lines from a script and inserting the appropriate inflections, gestures, and expressions into the lines? I hate that. In a scene where Dylan goes to her boss’ boss about her ideas being stolen, her dialogue and movements are so awkward and unnatural that it was frustrating to watch. It was all overacted. She attempts to sit down but immediately stands up again, then sits, then stands, then sits, then perches on the edge of the chair before finally spitting out what she wants to say. Who does that? Nobody.

These characters are not relatable at all. And not just to me. I can't think of a single person I know who is remotely similar to any of them. Sure some of their situations are realistic (trouble trying to find your voice at work, having a crush on a friend/friend’s significant other, self-confidence issues). But the acting and dialogue surrounding those situations make them hard to relate to. Plus, stupid Dylan trashes all of her friends on her blog, and- surprise, surprise- everyone finds out and gets mad. What did you expect?

I was just hoping that this show would “get it”, but it didn’t. Perhaps different actors would make the characters less annoying. I’ll probably give the next episode a shot, but my hopes aren’t set too high.