It’s apparently obligatory in every review of Life Unexpected to compare it to Gilmore Girls. Here’s mine: Life Unexpected doesn’t have even 10% of the verbal wit that make Gilmore reruns endlessly re-watchable. Yes, Life Unexpected is indeed a charming new show, all the more refreshing for its smiles and unaffected grimaces on the CW, a network usually populated by cool, poker-faced teens and twentysomethings on everything from Gossip Girl to Vampire Diaries. But let’s not overrate this little coughing-furball kitty-cat of a show before it grows a bit.
Last night’s premiere episode set up the premise with brisk efficiency. Lux (Britt Robertson) is indeed convincing as the most mature person among the little triangle she forms with her mother, Cate (Shiri Appleby, who has the ability to make Cate seem irritated and dense simultaneously) and father, Baze (Kristoffer Polaha, who renders Baze more commitment-immature than all the guys in The Hangover rolled into one).
LU creator Liz Tigelaar has worked on Brothers and Sisters and What About Brian, so she knows a thing or two about using jokes and soap opera to stretch a comedy-drama. Next week, you’ll see more of what Lux has been doing while she hatched her (failed) plan to become legally emancipated, and that second episode is both more clever and filled with more complex emotions than the premiere.
Which bodes well for the future of Life Unexpected, right? Now if only I believed Kerr Smith’s Ryan would really be as cool with this situation. Let’s see: He works with Cate at the radio station, they’ve just gotten engaged, and now he has to deal with a smart-alecky potential-stepdaughter and her beer-pong-loving birth-father? Ryan’s either a saint or a sap, but I trust he’ll become some more intriguing mixture of the two as the series proceeds.
What about you? Did you watch Life Unexpected last night? What did you think?