Did ‘Life Unexpected’ get what it deserved?

I’m having a little trouble with Life Unexpected lately. The show didn’t get a pickup for the back nine episodes, and most recently, its season one DVD release has been delayed, so it can include the very short season two in its packaging. Sadly, any hope that the DVD would save the show by accumulating tons of money has taken a harsh blow.

And while I like Cate, Baze, and Lux, I can’t say this surprises me. Last season, this was a show I was fighting for. This season, it’s a show that’s fighting for my attention.

Until last week, I was watching the show pretty consistently. I gritted my teeth and watched as four lovable characters (I’m including Ryan in this one) screwed up their lives more and more in cliched television ways. Ok, well, perhaps I should take Baze out of that, since he’s really the only one that’s been fixing his life. But still, cliche cliche cliche.

There was a break there, when I traveled to Portugal for two weeks. Sure, I missed the new episodes those weeks–including the One Tree Hill crossover–but I was thrilled to see the quality episode from season one airing in the foreign country. Perhaps this hurt my viewing experience more, since I got to see where the show used to be.

This season has broken a good thing. Ryan, perhaps one of the best characters on the show, in season one was consistently supportive, and you really felt for him when Cate pulled something over the top and ridiculous. While he was set up to be a basic cardboard cutout of the “good fiance,” he broke out of the mold to be a confidante for Lux and someone with deep and true emotion.

Until this season, when they’ve created him into the human scumbag. Apparently, now that Lux is suitably part of the Cate/Baze/Ryan family, there’s little room to grow. Why not make him sleep with another woman, then take all blame away despite his lying to Cate, only to spend the season angry at his wife and ready to give up (again, keep in mind, I missed last week’s episode)?

Cate, while damaged to start with, is worse than before. While she’s always been an emotional wreck, we at least had moments where she smiled or had fun. Those are long behind us.

And Lux–dear God, Lux–is one of the worst of all, all based on the horrendous writing for season two. Why, oh WHY, did they possibly think that Lux’s relationship with a teacher would be a great way to start the second season? For a show that’s never had a foundation in the scandalous (this isn’t One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, or Pretty Little Liars here), a boring back and forth about how they want to be together but can’t week to week to week is horrible and unacceptable. It’s a television cliche that I can’t stand to watch. The show is too good for that sh*t.

So ultimately, I’m not surprised the show is hanging by a thread (if you believe that it’s not “canceled” by not getting a backend pickup). In fact, if this is the caliber of the series that I’ll then have to sit through next season, I don’t want it back.

But I’m invested in the characters, and I know where it could be. It’s disappointing, and I think seeing a show like this turn from something I was excited about to something I really consider turning off is more heartbreaking than Cate smashing the vase three episodes ago.

What will happen, well, I can probably guess, but until then, there’s nothing here that makes me want to fight. Perhaps I’m too tough on the sophomore series. I welcome your own opinions.

*image from buzzsugar.com


2 thoughts on “Did ‘Life Unexpected’ get what it deserved?

  1. You know, the premise of this show was never something that was meant to appeal to my demographic, but I found last season of this show oddly compelling. The characters were interesting and well-written and I was curious about their lives. Though I haven’t watched a lot of this season, what I’ve seen so far has been a mess. The overly cliched, “standard TV plots” are certainly a big part of the problem. They should have stayed away from pummeling Kate and Ryan’s marriage with problems immediately, because I can only see the Kate Face (the grotesque, deer-in-headlights look she gets on her face when something bad just happened; a more disturbing cousin to the Pam Face from the first two seasons of The Office) so many times in an episode before I want to turn off the TV. Also, the teacher/student love plot is NEVER a good idea. It’s like watching the trailer for a comedy movie; if someone gets hit in the balls during it, you can almost guarantee the movie will be crap. Similarly, I think, if a TV show introduces a student/teacher love plot, you can be sure it will be a complete mess. And please, TV producers, stop making these love-struck teachers appear sympathetic. Any high school teacher who falls in love with a student and actually tries to carry on some kind of pseudo-relationship with said student is at best a complete emotional disaster/basket case who requires years of therapy to stabilize, or at worst a manipulative predator. A normal person would keep their pants buttoned and go out with someone their own age.

    I am really missing Baze’s bar. Maybe that’s what I’m bitter.

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