Confessions of a teen-drama addict
Thanks to Mel and to Janet who both submitted this article at about the same time!
“Confessions of a teen-drama addict”
by Mark Lowry
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
A few weeks ago on Dawson’s Creek, Pacey (Joshua Jackson) explained to his brother why he could never tell Joey (Katie Holmes) that he’s in love with her. It would have disastrous effects, something akin to the tides changing directions, floods destroying the Earth and a Hell Mouth opening up and unleashing hordes of havoc-wreaking demons on humankind.
Whew. Pacey watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer too. Glad to see I’m not the only one.
I have plenty of friends who share my stalkerlike obsession for the Buffinator. I’ve never felt embarrassment in proclaiming adoration for Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles and the rest of the Scooby gang, especially since every television critic in America has backed me up.
But what about all those other WB dramas largely designed for teen-age girls? You know the ones: Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, Roswell, Popular, Charmed, etc. What are 30-year-old men like me to do when their peers are watching “adult” dramas such as Homicide and Law & Order, and we’re glued to the Frog Channel watching 17- year-olds pontificating on life issues they shouldn’t be worrying about until they’re, well, our age?
You make excuses.
For months, I had been referring to shows suchas Felicity and Dawson’s Creek as “guilty pleasures.” A friend finally clocked me. “Either embrace them or quit watching,” he said. “No one has that many guilty pleasures.”
Point taken. It’s now time to come out of the closet. Yes, I’m a WB drama teen-aholic and proud of it. So, like, shut up!
These shows have some of the best writing on TV. Now, if you’re not up-to-the-minute on your pop culture, much on Buffy and Charmed will sail over your head faster than Popular’s Nicole can throw away her discount store bracelet when a fashion-minded friend busts her for donning it. And the acting’s not bad either.
But before I totally kick open the door, let me first offer a few disclaimers: First, as someone who keeps himself entrenched in the local arts scene, I can’t be accused of succumbing to Couch Potato Syndrome, for which they’re still searching for a cure. Most of these shows I view the following morning from the tape in my VCR. Let’s just say I go through a lot of videocassettes.
Second, I do watch a few “adult” shows, mainly The X-Files, The Practice, Once and Again, and though I’m even more embarrassed to admit to this vice, Ally McBeal (although I don’t know why I continue to hang on; Ally gets dumber each week). I must confess that I’ve completely given up on sitcoms. Well, once reruns kick in I might catch up on lost Simpsons and That ’70s Show episodes. Currently, those two are up against Felicity and Freaks and Geeks, respectively. (By the way, the latter is probably the best slice-of-high-school-life show on television, now that Buffy’s protecting a college campus, but we’re talking about the WB.)
Second, I don’t watch every WB drama. Don’t do 7th Heaven. Can you say Touched by an Angel meets Eight is Enough? And Safe Harbor might as well be called Baywatch 7th Heaven. What’s that all about? I quickly lost interest in the ultra-boring Jack and Jill, and besides, the new X-Files season finally began. And Charmed just has too many unfunny
royal witches (read: former stars of bad TV shows Shannen Doherty and Alyssa Milano) to care anymore. Then there’s the new show, Zoe Dot-Dot-Dot, but like I said, I can’t be bothered with sitcoms.
“WB shows and their worth in cellphones”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 7 p.m. Tuesday. No doubt, it’s one of the best television dramas ever. Now in its fourth season, it’s still smartly written and loaded with surprise plot twists. To creator Joss Whedon: Thank you thank you thank you for finally making Spike a regular. And though we were totally bummed to see Oz (Seth Green) depart, the whole Willow and the lesbocious Wicca chick thread almost makes up for it. We also dig the new bf, Riley. But it’s really time to give Giles a love interest. Jenny’s been dead for how long now? Oh, and the “Hush” episode with it’s creepy “Gentlemen” was the best hour of
television I’ve ever seen.
Rating: 10 cellphones (on a scale of 1 to 10)
Angel 8 p.m. Tuesday. I was determined to love this show, since it is a Buffy spinoff. It started off slow, but like the title character, it doesn’t reek anymore. At first I wasn’t down with the Batman parallels (come on, grapple hook, stakes that retract from his sleeves
automatically?), but the fact that the characters kept making fun of the Dark Knight-y lead character (he dwells in the Bat Cave, drives a Batmobile) salvages it. I hate that they killed off Doyle and replaced him with Wesley (the Watcher who replaced Niles in last season’s Buffy.) Does Angel really need two bumbling sidekicks? And although Cordelia still has some of the best lines, she’s not as funny when there’s no one to snark back at her, a la Buffy’s Xander. Nevertheless, the Buffy/Angel punch makes Tuesday night the real Must-See-TV.
Rating: 9 cellphones
Roswell 8 p.m.. Wednesday. OK, so it’s a supernatural Dawson’s Creek, which means it’s often slow-paced and the young’uns are waaaaaay too serious. But it has the best-looking cast (and that’s saying alot for the WB) and the best funky-cool-chick character, Maria (Majandra Delfino.) And could Brendan Fehr (who plays Michael) look any more like
a young David Duchovny? Don’t think so. Extra points for using Dido’s song “Here With Me” as the theme.
Speaking of music, here’s another reason I’m hooked on the WB: the music. All of them play scores of weepy Lilith Fair singer-songwriters. I like to call the genre SEW (Suicidal Ethereal Women). The WB loves Beth Orton, Fiona Apple, Tara McClean, Sarah McLachlan and The Sundays as much as I do. Felicity scored major points for playing Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” early in the game. Which brings us to…
Rating: 8 cellphones
Felicity 7 p.m. Sunday. I started watching because it originally followed Buffy. Again, it was way too serious at first, but finally lightened up. After The Practice, it has last season’s best cliffhanger. I really was caught up in the whole Noel vs. Ben ordeal. And unlike most people, I dig the new ‘do. Major kudos for giving Meghan and Sean more time. Now, if we can just do something about Julie. She has way too many issues.
Rating: 8 cellphones
Popular 7 p.m Thursday. I thought nothing would ever top the rapid-fire sarcasm fests of Buffy, but Nicole (Tammy Lynn Michaels) has officially dethroned Angel’s Cordelia as the queen of putting everyone in their collective places. Detractions: Too many so-out-there-they’re ridiculous characters, such as the Pat-like science teacher and the spaz kids. Cheerleader Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman), a Dallas native, sports an over-the-top Southern accent that’s more Alabama than Texas. Josh is basically Dawson in California. And as much as I love Nicole, her hair is so 1996 Faith Hill. Need to rethink that one. But, love the theme song. (Alanis/Imogen Hehap sound-alike Kendall Payne’s
Rating: 7 1/2 cellphones
Dawson’s Creek 7 p.m. Wednesday. So I haven’t kept up with this much. I’m not sure who Joey and Dawson are currently dating or what Deep Thoughts issue they’re discussing. So I don’t cry if I miss it, but when I do catch it, I am quickly sucked into it. Something about these teenagers talking all grown-up, like even grown-ups don’t talk. OK, so
maybe I still have one guilty pleasure.
Rating: 7 cellphones
– Mark Lowry