Saturday, July 25, 2009

ABC Family Shows Update

10 Things I Hate About You has actually turned out to be a pretty good show. I thought it would be at the Disney Channel level, like Hannah Montana, but it has surpassed my expectations. Last week's episode, Bianca was trying desperately to get on Chastity's good side again. She appointed herself the chairperson for the cheer leading fundraiser for new pom poms, much to Kat's dismay. After some inspiration from Cameron, Bianca decided to do a carnation sale that even had Kat wondering if she would get a flower from a certain brooding bad boy.

Unfortunately, Kat didn't get the flower she (not so secretly) wanted from Patrick, but she did get one from the creepy guy who hangs out in the girl's bathroom. I don't really get that character, and I hope they either make him part of Kat's group of misfits or never feature him again. Right now he just seems out of place. I also wasn't thrilled that they made light out of the fact that some girl punched him in the eye. Violence really shouldn't be funny, especially in a show aimed at a younger age group.

It was fun to watch Cameron pine for Bianca as usual. I like how he becomes such an ally for her, like when he points out that her flowers were withheld from her (she thinks she is a complete failure for not receiving any carnations from a sale she started). I wish she had stood up to Chastity in the end, but I guess that wouldn't go with her character. She would basically do anything to be popular, including throwing the vice-captain of the squad under the bus at the last minute. Ah, morals for the next generation.

I was very happy to see more of the dad in this week's episode. I love his extreme testing process for the sisters if they are out past curfew or get into other kinds of trouble. This episode focused on how Bianca is always viewed as the troublemaker while Kat always seems to get a free pass since her dad considers her to be his reliable little "cactus." Kat surprises her dad, though, when she sneaks out to a concert Patrick tells her about and gets a fake ID.

Bianca had dragged Cameron along to a secret party, but they never ended up finding the exact location, so Kat had to leave the concert to pick them up. When Bianca found out Kat had broken the rules, too, they agreed to keep quiet about each other's shenanigans. Kat doesn't get busted for lying about the concert, but she decides she can't take it anymore when her dad insists that she never does anything wrong and that Bianca is the only one who takes risks. This confession has the dad drug testing both daughters, but they bond a bit in the end.

It wasn't a very important episode by any means, but I think it is good they throw in that sisterly bond every once in awhile. It keeps the characters connected better, so that you don't just feel like you are following individual story lines all the time. I hope to see more of the crazy dad in the future. I love how he has a breathalyzer on hand for when they come in at night.

When I caught Make It or Break It this week, I felt myself getting very tired of the show. In the first ten minutes, I was already annoyed with the characters and kind of wanted to turn it off. Luckily, I kept it on long enough for me to completely change my mind. I really enjoyed this episode. The premise was The Rock was in need of funding to send the girls to Nationals. The moms get together to come up with a fundraiser and decide to do a mother/daughter fashion show. Of course, drama ensues with each pairing. All the moms strike out with their daughters in the first half, but then seem to turn it around and teach the girls life lessons by the end.

First off, Emily gets more annoyed with her mom when she finds out she told her guy friend at work Emily has never been kissed. She is completely mortified, and gets even more upset at the fashion show when Lauren steals her dress (more about that later). She decides to leave and tells her mom that no one respects them or wants them at The Rock. Her mom then admits she knows the moms, especially Ronnie, look down on her, but she doesn't let them define who she is. She teaches Emily that you have to decide who you are and not let anyone get to you. When Emily agrees to stay and finish the show she asks her mom "How are we gonna rock business casual?" and her mom replies simply, "Well, we gotta ask ourselves. What would Carrie Bradshaw do?" I thought that was really cute. Emily ends up rocking a jacket dress on the runway that blows everyone away. It's pretty awesome.

I really felt for Kaylie in this episode. After learning Lauren had sex, she feels Lauren is surpassing her in everything. She has a new fire in her at the gym that Kaylie can't compete with, and Lauren seems to be holding the attention of Kaylie's boyfriend Carter, too. Kaylie decides to use the fashion show to get Carter to see her as hot before she decides to sleep with him in the same night. She tries to go to her mom (Ronnie) for advice about knowing when you're ready, but she doesn't seem to hear her daughter and blows the conversation off. When Ronnie hears what her daughter is planning to do with Carter (from Lauren of course), she interrupts Kaylie's night and has a quick but meaningful talk with her. She stresses that if it really is love, it will wait, but gymnastics won't. She tells Kaylie she should focus on her own goals and not get distracted by a guy who will be there for her after Nationals. This was one of the last scenes of the episode, and I even got a little emotional over it. I think it's so important for younger girls to hear messages like that on TV because there are always people sleeping with each other all over the place, and it's nice to point out NOT sleeping with people is an option. I'm glad the mom handled it the way she did and didn't just storm in on her daughter. The dialogue was written very well. I was impressed.

The best mother speech, though, has to go to Candace Cameron's character, Summer. She's not even Lauren's step mom yet, and she still is stepping up to that role anyway. When Summer notices Lauren's interactions with Carter and her complaining about not having sexy enough clothes to wear at the fashion show, she decides to confront her. Summer confesses that she used to be Lauren when she was in high school. She explains how she didn't really feel important unless guys were paying attention to her, and that she flirted and slept with many guys during that time in her life. She finally wizened up when she liked a guy that wouldn't date her because he thought she was a slut. That confrontation made Summer realize she had lost her self-respect, and it took her a long time to get it back. This little speech makes Lauren cry and you think that maybe she actually might change. WRONG. When Lauren sees Kaylie flirting with Carter, she steals Emily's short dress and looks like a stripper on the runway. It's so ridiculous and the usual cry for attention plot. It kind of ruins Summer's speech, but I'm still glad the speech was made. It was another message that I think could help a lot of girls in high school. But, like Lauren, I don't think they listen. Sigh.

Peyson's story was pretty basic. She didn't want to do the fashion show because it's girly, and she doesn't feel like she is a "pretty girl" like Kaylie. Sasha convinces her mom that she needs to explain to her daughter that being beautiful is not a sign of weakness. You can be both strong and pretty. Although this was a little lame, Peyson's relationship with her mom did remind me of my own mom. I HATE shopping normally, and she is always trying to make light of it and get me to have more fun.

I hope Make It or Break It follows up with more good episodes. I think I was about to drop this show, but I see now it has potential. I can at least appreciate it for its positive messages. People may think ABC Family isn't worth watching, but I'd much rather my future children watch this than the trash on MTV.

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