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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Life Unexpected - Camp Grounded recap/review

In this episode, Ryan skipped marriage counseling and sparred with Cate. The main issues of their relationship come up. It seems that they got married for the wrong reasons. Cate married him because he was “the perfect guy” and “better than her.” And Ryan pretended to be that guy so that Cate would marry him. Ouch. To be fair, he managed to convince us too. He was almost too perfect in the first season. At the end of the hour, Ryan and Cate were both committed to fighting for their relationship, which is nice, but we think just about everyone is ready for Cate and Baze to be together. Alas, it probably won’t happen this season.

Baze grew closer to his boss, and they went on their first official “date.” The whole gang went on a school-related camping trip, because all of the adults in Lux’s life decided to chaperone. When does this ever happen in real life? Answer: never. Cate (predictably) ended up falling from a rope swing into a mud pit, Lux failed to bond with her peers, and it turns out, Lux can’t swim. We thought it was pretty funny when Baze and Ryan shared a tent and woke up cuddling, but this is a gag we’ve seen on TV before. Lux’s friend Tasha chastised Lux after seeing her getting physical with her teacher, Eric. The way Tasha sees it, she and Lux have an opportunity to live and fit in like normal teens. We think that, considering how pretty both Tasha and Lux are, neither would have that much trouble fitting in, but whatever. It’s not like this show is super realistic. We don’t know if you’ve seen lots of pictures of foster kids, but they aren’t usually drop-dead gorgeous, or they would have gotten adopted. Harsh, but true.

Confession: We are loving the Lux/Eric relationship. They have chemistry, he appreciates her, and there’s nothing like a love that’s a little forbidden, right? Sure, it’s a little creepy because, in real life, these sorts of flings are toxic. But on this show, we’re rooting for it. Are we wrong?

A few problems: Predictability, slow pacing, and a weak season two story arc. We know that the writers promised that there is one, but we don’t see it. If it’s there, we aren’t super invested. It seems to be 1) Baze grows up and works on his friendship with Cate, 2) Cate and Ryan on the rocks, and 3) Lux and Eric. The third one is slightly interesting, but the first two are not. They seem like they should be subplots and subtle elements rather than main plots.

The writers also seem to be focusing on creating good episodes when they should really be more focused on making good scenes. If they went scene by scene, making each scene either funny, touching, or intense, the viewer could enjoy the whole show more as he or she watches it, rather than looking back on the finished product a day later. Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy are great examples of shows that pay special attention to making each scene entertaining as a stand-alone product. Alfred Hitchcock is also an example of someone who knew that this is important. Also, we don’t think the show is handling Cate well. We need to see more of the warm, maternal Cate who made Lux that cool bedroom in season one. We are able to handle her shrewish nature better if we see how good of a mother she can actually be. For now, they should change the name of this show to “Cate ruins everyone’s lives.” It’s doubtful that this show will get picked up next year, so we just want it to go out as strong as it started, and that’s a possibility.

This wasn’t the greatest episode of this show, but it was eventful, so it gets a B-.

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