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April 23, 2014

Review: 'Life Unexpected' - 'Rent Uncollected'

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Feb 2nd 2010 9:35AM
Life Unexpected(S01E03) Heartstrings were pulled again repeatedly on this episode of 'Life Unexpected,' were they not?

After minor meltdowns from Lux, Baze and Cate last week, the three of them seem to be moving into something of a routine now, having gotten past the sketchy friends and threatening to move out portion of their relationship. Last week, we dug a bit deeper into Lux's life, and this week, we meet Cate and Baze's respective families, who are loud, obnoxious, annoying and intrusive ... which seems pretty much par for the course as far as families go.

As Cate becomes more comfortable with her role as Lux's parent, she exercises some sound judgment and takes her out of the inner city school all wayward youths are forced to attend and transfers her to the posh public school which she attended. However, she does this without even talking to the kid first, which is an ill-advised move.

I'm on Lux's side here. Any kid who has to transfer to a new high school, no matter how crummy their old one is, is not going to be pleased. In the midst of this, Baze has come clean to his parents, as well, about Lux's existence. While kind of thrilled at the news, Baze's overbearing parents insist on a family dinner, despite lingering tension over Baze's overdue rent on the bar.

Baze's parents are no picnic, and are just shy of Emily and Richard Gilmore levels of judgmental hubris. Cate's mom, likewise, seems like a Lorelai Gilmore throwback. Boozy, chatty and totally out of place among the upper crust. Not sure what to make of Cate's sister yet, though the writers did a nice job of shoehorning her into the plot. Of course she used to have a HUGE crush on Baze, thereby setting up the prerequisite romantic conflict and tug of war between the sisters. Ugh, I hope that's not the path we are going down.

Anyway, after Lux forgives her new Mommy and Daddy for making life choices for her without even talking to her, we're all set for a dinner at Baze's parents' house, which turns into a conflict-ridden passive aggressive feast, just as we would expect. Baze and his dad get into a fierce and sincerely hurtful argument that digs up old wounds about unfilled expectations, all capped of with a nice round of "you're just mad because I didn't want to be like you!' to bring it home.

Honestly, the subject of the argument was cliched, but props to both actors here for not over selling the shouting match and keeping it believable.

While the dinner time dramatics were refreshingly grounded in reality, perhaps the most disingenuous part was Lux forking over $3,200 to Baze's father, paying off the rent he owed. While Lux's gift is unbelievably touching, it's also, well ... just totally unbelievable. In a CW world, a 15-year-old orphan may have zero abandonment issues, but to assume she's willing to part with that kind of cash for someone she just met is stretching it pretty thin.

Perhaps Lux is a bit like Rory Gilmore, however -- remarkably well-adjusted and too mature for her age. I'm conflicted about this tiny plot detail. The gesture is adorable and goes a long way towards establishing how much the quarreling at dinner affected Lux, who realizes that even having a family is no picnic, but Baze's stock has totally plummeted.

Dude, take out a loan from your deadbeat friends if you have to. Borrowing your daughter's life savings with no plan to pay them back? Not cool. Lux, who's had to fend for herself for 15 years, with no one to lean on, has years of maturity on Baze, who's had someone to lean on his whole life.

Despite that hiccup, the final scene, where Lux's new family meets her orphans-only family, jerked out a few tears. The roof-top dinner party was warmer and more inclusive than the ambush family get-together at Baze's parents' house, and, like everything else in this episode, had a distinct 'Gilmore Girls' vibe.

The soft, strummy guitar music playing in the background, the warm yellow lights and Baze's eerie resemblance to Luke were a welcome call back to Stars Hallow. So the story telling isn't perfect; it's well done enough to keep me watching and manages to be touching instead of cloyingly sentimental.

So, viewers, what did you think? Is Lux a believable teen? Are we pulling for Baze to grow up or just get thrown to the curb? Plus, who wants to know more about Lux's friends then their crappy families?

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Glenda

Can I say something?
Why do you compare this with Gilmore's?
I hated Gilmore Girls! I hated Lorelai, and the other Lorelai.
I'm just enjoying this show so much!
And Gilmore is dead and buried. If you want Gilmore, pay for the DVDs but stop comparing the characters and the show. It's obsolet

February 05 2010 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zita

I agree with the fact that this show is waaaaaaaaaaay out of GG's show. However, that's to be expected (nobody could manage Lorelei-Rory's cleverly funny frantic dialogues)! This show is pretty good on its own and I certainly plan on following its course to the end. Btw, I think that Lux's character, her maturity, may be due to the fact of her having been very sick when she was little. I've often found that people who had similar childhoods (minus their being left for adoption, that is) are more centered and mature than the norm.

February 03 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xina

Ok, I will just say it, i am a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan. And I love Lauren Graham to boot. I was excited when I heard that this show had inklings of GG, but I am sorry...Shiri Appleby is NO Lauren Graham, and Cate Kassidy is NO Loralie Gilmore. And by that, no I don't mean I expected them to be the same, etc....but I expect a certain goofball charm to our main characters, if you are going to compare the two. Lux is cute, and I like the actress. The show is fine, and I enjoy it, but I don't get the comparison...not even close.

February 02 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Xina's comment
Glenda

Xina, no offense but the actress who played Lorelei was not good...You may like her, but she has the same facial expressions for surprise, love, sadness and happiness. She is beautiful, but, point.

February 05 2010 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
somebody2006

I am loving this show, the main cast is so good that I am waiting impatiently every Monday for it. Its seems realistic, Lux seems responsible (and a lot of foster kids are since they have had to depend on themselves from an early age) and you can really see that her Cate and Baze are trying but not very good at it. She seems to get along with Baze more but I think that is only because he isn't attempting to parent her yet so we'll see how that changes when he realizes that he is her dad and not her older brother.

It felt a bit jam packed meeting all the family members at once and we never really got to know any of them because of that but hopefully they will flesh them out later. Reintroduce each family separately so that we can see more of each personality but over all another great episode. I wasn't happy about the gossip girl hiatus before watching this show but it is clearly better and I would much prefer to watch it now.

February 02 2010 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to somebody2006's comment
Camilla

I was never into Gilmore, specially the witty thing (?). Never caught it...

Anyway, back to Life Unexpected, I'm with the poster who said she was waiting patiently every week.
I'm in love with the show. Seriously.
I've spent the last 4 years with practically no tv (and that was ok for me): just a little addiction to House (for a season) and then a couple of Grey's episodes, Desperate H and Two and a 1/2, from time to time. Amazing programmes but nothing to drag me in week after week.
Now, after 3 episodes of "Life", suddenly, I find myself on Youtube looking for webclips for episode 4...!
So, I'm really into this! I don't know if it's good, bad, great or terrible- I LOVE IT.

To clarify, I don't pay attention to the teen parts (Lux and her 2 groups). I don't find those parts very attractive (I'm 32), but the parents (LUX's parents) crack me up and get me glued to the screen. They are so cute, even acting like two morons...
I can't help it: I love this show.

February 05 2010 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charles melrose III

Didn't get one moment of Gilmore Girls vibe through this hour. This show is still picking its way through the extended family cliche jungle that the far smarter concept and writing of Gilmores never got near.

The acting--especially the teen characters--is promising and the writing has a chance to catch up. The peripheral characters here clutter the stage while the Gilmore peripherals functioned more like a Greek chorus. The clutter may dissipate once the writers have established adequate back story to let the core characters develop on their own.

February 02 2010 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ari

My new favorite show! I just hope Lux gets her lamp back! And I'm interested in Bug. The show took an interesting turn in that regard and I thought they were going to run away or he'd take the money or something but instead they gave it away and sacrificed any potential freedom.

February 02 2010 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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