Review: Quarterlife

So, I pretty much spent this afternoon watching all 33 extant webisodes of Quarterlife, a melodrama about 5-7 late-20somethings who aren't really going anywhere with their lives, but who have plenty of spiffy dialog.

The central plot vehicle is Dylan, aspiring writer who's turned to blogging (really video-blogging, but who's counting) to express herself and her opinions, particularly on her friends' lives.

(Aside: This is the central tension in blogging--how honest do you want to be? What if someone reads what you wrote about them. That lead to the downfall--and deletion--of my "private" blog. Anyway, Dylan doesn't pull any punches good for her.)

The rest of the cast follow anon--Dylan's daddy's-girl bff Deborah, her trust-funded boytoy Danny, the starving artist vidographer Jeb, and Lisa the slut. Love triangles and Mobius Strips emerge. Relationships fall apart, reform, then fall apart again.

Having watched (essentially) the whole series at a sitting, there's much to appreciate and much to lament. The acting is great, and the questions examined are relevant, especially to one in his or her twenties: How much should one compromise his beliefs? What is the nature of love? Of monogamy? How do you tell someone something is just...wrong?

On the lamentable side, it seems to have already jumped the shark, in that the main character has found happiness with "her man". The central conflict seems to have died with that "resolution". Indeed, most of the plot points of the sympathetic characters seem resolved--Deborah went off to New Orleans to break with her overprotective dad, Dylan's happy with Eric, etc. The rest are just bit-players no one cares about.

I suppose it shows the central issue with open-ended writing--how do you make consistently good drama-centered story arcs without turning into a Soap Opera?(***cough*** ER ***cough***)

The simple answer is, I don't know if it's possible. Even the king (Joss Whedon) missed (Buffy, season 6....GAAH!)

On the lighter side--things I learned while watching "Quarterlife":

  • All women are anorexic.

  • Eveyone is broke, yet all have new-ish Mac Laptops and iPhones

  • We're all killing the planet

  • You're a sellout. If you have to ask why, you're even MORE of a sellout

  • One can show up, unannounced and be fed, clothed, and housed by anyone's friend from college. DID I MISS A MEETING?!!

Seriously, the show verges on self-parody sometimes, like the scene where Dylan and Eric can't get it on because they CAN'T SHUT UP LONG ENOUGH. It's like the kids from Dawson's creek (and their overwrought dialog), fast-forwarded 10 years. Eeek.

But, it all smells pretty authentic...That angsty "Now What?" feeling of being out on one's own, free but compromised, spoiled and unprepared, longing for things but seeing just HOW FRICKIN HARD it will be to achieve them.

The question I'm left with--maybe my generation should just lighten up a little? Come on...we only face Global Warming, international terrorism, a rotting economy, ballooning national debt, pollution, overpopulation, apathy, drugs, racial tension, rampant illegal immigration, moral relativism....

:-) What's not to like?

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