Why I’ll Be Watching Life Unexpected
The CW’s show feels like the old WB. And yes, that’s a good thing.
Here’s the thing: I watched Dawson’s Creek as a college freshman in my dorm’s common room. My senior roommate and I mysteriously bailed on our friends every Thursday just hours into the local bar’s weekly “big beer night” to catch new episodes of Gilmore Girls. When I graduated and entered the real world, I felt like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after she was pulled back down to Earth by well-meaning friends who had accidentally ripped her from heaven. I only recently forgave actress Sarah Lancaster for playing Everwood’s “vixen who derailed Ephram” Madison enough to enjoy her work on Chuck. 7th Heaven? I had a drinking game for that one. And after a long day at my crummy job working for the state government, it was goooood.
So yes. It’s true. I am a full-fledged, Michigan J. Frog-loving, dubba dubba dubba yoo bee fan.
Now for the most part, this loyalty means being a CW fan as well. I’ll admit it — I watch everything from The Vampire Diaries to Gossip Girl. But as much as I find those shows entertaining, campy, scandalous, angsty… they’re missing something. Sweetness. Heart. Cheese (I’m not talking Velveeta. The good stuff.)
Enter Life Unexpected (premiering tonight at 9 p.m.), which I can confidently call the CW’s return to the heartwarming Dawson days of WB-yore. Not only does it star ye olde network alums Shiri Appleby (Roswell) and Kerr Smith (Dawson’s Creek), its premise has been hailed as “Juno meets the Gilmore Girls.” My objections to anything involving teenage pregnancy being equated to Juno aside, it’s a decent analogy to start with. Here’s why:
After being given up by her parents as a newborn, our wise-beyond-her-years protagonist, Lux, has bounced from foster home to foster home. Finally turning 16, she can become legally emancipated and leave the foster system… IF she can get her birth parents to sign the appropriate paperwork. Those birth parents are overachieving radio host Cate Cassidy (Shiri), and underachieving bar owner, Nate Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha), whose one-night stand after the winter formal left Cate pregnant — unbeknownst to Nate. Complicating the issue is Cate’s equally in-the-dark boyfriend/radio host co-worker, Ryan (Kerr Smith), both of their less-than-functional families, and Lux’s band of foster friends who are looking to spring the system and hit the road.