ABC Family’s TV adaptation of 10 Things I Hate About You returned for its second season last night, which seems like a good occasion to note how this show has blossomed since it premiered last summer. For a while, it was struggling against the beloved Julia Stiles-Heath Ledger teen movie on which it was based, but now it’s really come into its own. (The overprotective dad bit is still great, but we’ve blessedly lost the whole Taming of the Shrew aspect of things and settled in for a sweet comedy about the budding relationship between two very different sisters.) And so, based on this fresh new season’s premiere, 10 things to love about 10 Things I Hate About You:
1. The “superficial” sister is still damn smart. Blond social-climber Bianca is no airhead. In the first scene alone, she spewed three or four self-aware one-liners, mostly to her dim-witted secret beau, whom she stole from the most popular girl in school: “Joey, we can’t be seen together. Chastity vowed to dismember the girl who kissed you and our make-out sessions won’t be nearly as fun if I have no arms.”
2. Chastity. She’s worth the price of admission just for her delivery of even a simple line like, “Waterboarding, duh.”
3. High-brow references. Upon walking out of school in protest of a new uniform policy, Kat gushed to Patrick, “I wonder if Gandhi ever felt like this — so alive, so inspired, so hot. We took a stand. We told the establishment to stick it!” (This was in between making out, of course.)
4. Kat: “I was standing up for our constitutional protections.” Bianca: “Oh my God, shut up. You’re like a live feed from CNN.”
5. Kat is somehow both an insane overachiever and totally likable. Seriously, the girl broke into school to take a test.
6. The underground network of potheads with an iPhone app that shows which hallways are clear of supervision at any given moment.
7. Bianca totally looks like Veronica Mars. Always a good thing.
8. You learn things: “It’s history. I know how it ends. Everyone dies.”
9. The really dumb teacher: “Did you know I was once an audience member on her show? They gave us all a pair of these tennis shoes that firm your butt just by wearing them.”
Bonus 11. The principal, on Kat: “She’s in my office more than that kid who randomly bites other people’s necks. Damn this vampire craze.”
Did you watch 10 Things I Hate About You? What did you think, PopWatchers?