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July 29, 2014

Review: Life Unexpected - House Inspected

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Jan 26th 2010 11:38AM

(S01E02) -
Oh, Cate. Had I known you were capable of pulling a lowly, John Edwards-esqe move, I may not have been so ready in praise of you last week. Seriously, the one thing I can not overlook in this episode if how quick Cate was to deny her daughter's existence on her radio show. The same radio show that Cate knows Lux listens to religiously.

Happily enough, everyone else was around to pick up the slack as Lux decides if she really can trust her new parents, and if they, in turn, can earn legal foster parent status.

Get ready to have your heart strings pulled, hard.

As a plot contrivance, Cate's boss demanding she deny paternity to maintain her own-air image was just improbably unbelievable. Let's not even get into how hard it is to keep a stupid secret like that in this day and age with the Internet. I mean, why go through the trouble of being the foster parent if you can't own up to it publicly?

Even worse, it was badly played because it made Cate look not just nervous about her new role as a mom, but turned her into a cold-hearted bitch. I mean, who the hell is willing to publicly deny the existence of their own child, aside from dirty politicians? You can't do that and still earn the audience's respect. For most of this episode, I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow the hell up.

We also knew that she'd change her mind my the end of the episode... so really, it's just a waste of a story line that put a big black eye on her character.

The rest of the episode introduces us to Lux's foster kid friends, a rag-tag bunch who want Lux to come live with them, not her new parents. She wavers between the two, torn between her loyalty to the family they've become and her desire to have a real home with a mom and dad. It's a heartbreaking choice for her, since she doesn't want to abandon the people who have been there for her, but also wants what she's dreamed of, a mom, dad and her own room.

Brittany Robertson does a great job of conveying Lux's torn loyalties without making it schmaltzy. The scene with her and Kerr Smith (Cate's boyfriend Ryan) was well done. Their heart-to-heart as she packs her things to leave was a nice way to incorporate his role into her life. He's there to stick up for Cate, but also to show he cares. Again, that aspect was well-executed.

While Cate's neurotic side is irritating, I think Baze's antics are charming, if only because every kid needs at least one cool parent. Though, I'm not sure Baze is a "parent" at all. Right now, he's the cool older brother Lux never had. Protective and willing to show up in a cab with his drunk buddies after a bender, to make sure she gets to school. It's charming at first, but the second or third time it happens, really freaking old. Baze can be good comic relief, but it'll be good to see this character fleshed out a bit more.

So, combined with Cate's bad judgment and Baze's inability to stop being a drunken frat boy, this episode made me think Lux may be better off on her own, at least that way she won't be emotionally screwed around with. I'm only surprised that Lux was able to forgive Cate so easily for her transgression. She's far too well-adjusted.

In that sense, I think the smackdown that Baze's friend, Math, the slightly chubby guy, delivers after the failed home inspection (really, dude, you left a bong turned into a lamp out?) is most appropriate. I'd been waiting for some adult on the show to be more mature than the teens, or at least less neurotic, and his harsh rebuke was fitting. He's right, it's not a joke anymore, no one is laughing and you should grow the hell up.

As the predictable story line wraps up, I think the second episode was much weaker than the pilot. There were no real surprises in story-telling, just worn cliches about foster kids being thieves and yuppies being self-centered. Let's hope we move on after this to a few more original ideas.

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stormwake

well the best part of this entire episode was when lux explains her name is light or some bs like that, and then she drops the fact that shes a blonde from two brunette parents. YEA RIGHT! cheating ho= cate.

and basil is probably being selfish to not take responsibility of his own child in uh more appropriate nature. but honestly it looks like this dude doesn't have a LIFE outside the bar.

and i think his fat friend is retarded. y is he still there? someone tell him to stop breathing.

February 03 2010 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Garrett

There are so many things to like about the show but man was this show on the nose in regards to bashing foster care. I mean everything from these kids wanting to running away to everyone blaming Cate for giving Lux up for adoption when she was a kid. When Lux went to that apartment I thought I was watching Annie. All it needed was Carol Burnett busting on the kids. Hopefully we get to just more of the dynamic of how these two people with their completely different lives are going to raise their kid.

January 26 2010 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

Also let's give Baze a little break here. He did just find out about her. Cate has had 14 years to adjust to this. Even though she thought that Lux had been adopted I am sure the thought ran thru her head that the kid might pop up some day. A lot of adopted kids look for birth parents. Baze never had any time to adjust. And for the record I am a parent and I don't find anything wrong with the bong lamp. It was cool looking and a lesson in recycling for no longer used items (cough cough). Child services should have a learning curve for something like this. They did not show up in court to become foster parents. This was forced upon them by the judge. The fact that they are trying should be taken into consideration.

January 26 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ari

Wtf?

1. Its MATERNITY not PATERNITY

2. Cate didn't just deny MATERNITY willy-nilly she was upset about it and did it to save her job (whether or not it was realistic that was the storyline it was in). Lux didn't hold it against her because she understood that duh!

January 26 2010 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
somebody2006

I liked the show, caught both episodes yesterday and Baze was not that bad of a parent. Kate, I think, was very hard on him, yeah the lamp and the smoke alarm were stupid but the cab was genius, he didn't know he was driving her to scchool. He wants to be there for Lux but just isn't mature enough, he will get used to it eventually. Oh and big deal he let her drive the car, what teen hasn't by the time they were 14, or is that just because I'm from Detroit? My dad let me drive with him in the passenger seat when I started high school and I was still not quite 14 yet.

January 26 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sarah

because i was willing to give the show a second chance, i hate to admit it but i've been pulled in. thanks for making a viewer out of me.

January 26 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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