I am loath to admit this, but one girl can not do everything. By one girl I mean me. I would love to have TiVo, and nothing else to do besides explore the full landscape of the TV world. Alas, I do not have TiVo. As far as my personal time limitation goes, I think it would be best if we just move on. I might not have all the time in the world, but I have kickass friends. I've referenced KP in previous posts, and she has done me the honor of writing two reviews to cover ground I haven't. KP is ridiculously funny and has great taste, so please enjoy her first review.
The TV Girl
October Road or forever known as “The Show That Made Me Want to Cut Off My Legs.” (0)
It started innocently enough. With all my limbs intact, I saw a preview for October Road following an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The premise of the show was enough to make me cut off several toes. A small town boy who becomes a published novelist and lives in the big city returns to his hometown in an attempt to get over writer’s block, discovers the girl he left behind now has a son and all his friends remaining in the town resent his success and his leaving without an explanation. Gag. Me. With. A. Spoon. Then came some ridiculous voice over saying “all roads lead home” or something equally moronic. But what it should have said was this show is about “leaving home to find yourself and discovering that home is where you are truly yourself but it takes you super long to get there and even if you have a successful career you won’t be happy because you are never truly yourself when you don’t have your small town friends around to remind you who you are. View at your own risk.”
At this point, the feet and more toes are up for amputation. The show begins with our earnest young writer Nick (Bryan Greenberg) who has left his hometown of Knights Ridge following his senior year of high school to go backpacking around Europe to “find himself.” He leaves behind girlfriend, Hannah (Laura Prepon), best friend Eddie (Geoff Stults) and various other slothful creatures. Nick’s short hiatus turned into a 10-year absence from Knight’s Ridge and we now find him living in NYC with a published novel, Turtle On a Snare Drum. I suspect this is a metaphor for something important but not important enough for me to watch and find out. Of course, he has had no contact with his family or his friends in the last 10 years because that is what happens when you become successful. You don’t talk to your parents. For ten years.
One foot is definitely gone.
Nick is currently suffering from writer’s block, which apparently happens to all young writers shortly after publishing their first novel (think One Tree Hill). Forced by his editor to teach a one week writing seminar at the college in his old hometown, he returns to find his girlfriend Hannah with a 10-year old son named Sam and his friends and family cold shouldering him. You would think after 10 years of silence, his friends and family would roll out the red carpet and kill the fatted calf upon his return. Nick’s confusion over their apathy toward his homecoming is not only ridiculous but slightly offensive. One wonders how Nick can write a novel about, as he says, “the human condition” but be clueless as to genuine human reactions. Both feet amputated at this point.
The show then gets meaty when Nick finally realizes that Hannah’s son Sam is 10 years old and he has been gone—gasp—10 years. Could Sam be Nick’s son? Cue the flashback scene before Nick leaves and see the hyper-sexed teenagers having one final night of passion. The funny thing is, it takes Nick approximately 4 days (42 minutes in show time) to realize that Sam might be his son. Apparently, being a writer, you have no concept of biology or human reproduction. Calves amputated at this point.
We then see Nick observing Sam in an almost pedophilic manner, stalking the boy after school and with his friends to see if Sam possesses traits of Nick. After sleuth detective work, we discover that Sam has a peanut allergy just like Nick. An effin peanut allergy?? Since both men now have the dreaded peanut allergy, they must be related because as Nick points out, the allergy is passed through blood lines, etc. Again, he is a writer, not a biologist. At this point, my knees have been blown out.
The rest of the show is some unimportant plot stuff that deals with Nick’s friends trying to move on with their lives and sleeping with the others significant others. It’s oh so complicated stuff about true love and what not. You have to wonder whether Knights Ridge is really the town of “Lack of Morals and Basic Human Decency.” Nick’s friends seem to be afterthoughts of the writers and producers. It’s like they woke up one morning saying, “Oh yeah, we should put some more people in the show and call them Nick’s friends.”
The writing of the show reminds me of daytime soap opera. Witness this exchange between Nick and Hannah.
“What do you want Hannah?”
“I don’t know Nick, I don’t know what I want. It’s all too soon, too many memories, you were gone and now you are back and it’s too soon.” Sigh.
“So Nick, why did you leave?”
“Well…um…it was just not…you know…I didn’t feel right…it was my calling…I had to…umm…find myself in order to be…the best version of myself…like…you know.”
Yeah, we know. We know your dialogue sucks. Bryan Greenberg is not the worst actor in the world but October Road might be the worst vehicle for him to prove his worth. The same can be said for Laura Prepon. Because of the success of That 70s Show, you wonder what this blonde aloof person did with our Donna. For a good laugh, watch Hannah’s “reaction” to Nick’s return. It cost me a thigh. The other thigh was lost during a scene where Nicks begs the dean of the college for a teaching position. See, now that he and Sam have the same peanut allergy, he wants to stay in town for a while to discover what else they have in common. Moles? Tattoos? Six fingers on their left hand? I wouldn’t put it past the writers to concoct something along those lines. Anyway, the dean repeatedly denies Nick’s request and only relents after Nick prostrates himself on her lawn in the middle of the night singing, “Where is the Love?” from Oliver Twist. Yeah, I’m sorry I just made you throw up all over your keyboard. My bad.
The other characters are one-dimensional and frankly the only purpose they serve is to highlight why Nick might have been on to something when he left. There is some mindless back story about one of his friends who never leaves the house and has pasty skin to prove it and another about a fledging romance between the town stud and the dumpy but has a heart of gold barmaid. There is also a story line regarding Nick’s potential romance with an admiring and attractive student. Because we all know how well student-teacher sexual relationships work out. Legs officially amputated at this point.
In the end, the actors deliver the dialogue as if they live in a perpetual state of painful constipation. They also seem to be slightly amused with themselves almost as if they know that their actions are inane and their words nonsensical. On a personal note, I happen to have met the executive producer of the show and the man is detestable. Go figure.
Sources tell me that the show’s writers also wrote a film called Beautiful Girls. October Road was meant to serve as a sequel to this forgettable movie. I did have the unfortunate experience to see Beautiful Girls and the only thing I can remember is watching Timothy Hutton’s inappropriate crush/lust/affection for a 13th year old girl played by Natalie Portman. At the time, I thought this is so wrong. And I was so right. October Road is a path no person in his or her right mind would ever take.
Final Note from The TV Girl:
I love that KP mentioned One Tree Hill, because Bryan Greenberg once graced OTH as Jake, the delightful single father who falls for Peyton but sends her back to Lucas. Too bad he went from such a sweet character to such a stupid one.
Making the world a better place, one show at a time.
- The TV Girl
- Washington, DC, United States
- I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.