Saturday, September 1, 2012

The L.A. Complex 2x7: Half Way

There are some interesting stories being told on TV nowadays, and a lot of them are being told on The L.A. Complex. I thought this week's episode was particularly good, enough that I want to write about it.

Admittedly, the first half of the season has been kind of a hit or miss, some of the stories seemed to lack focus. But the first season of this show sold me on the majority of these characters, enough that I'm happy to just check in once a week and see what they are up to. The major exception to that is the new characters they added this season, Beth and Simon. WHY? Ugh, I hate every second of screen time they take up and I resent the predictable story line that I don't care about. But despite this, I do care about the other stuff, so.

The episode's title is Half Way! And while that is obviously in reference to Raquel's appearance at on Celebrity Half Way House, it's also the mid-point of the season, so very clever. :)

And it felt like a mid-season episode. A lot of storylines wrapped up in significant ways, while new ones were launched.

I think it's interesting that at the beginning of the season Abby was sort of in a love triangle with Nick and Sabrina. She was the clear winner, while Sabrina was the scorned woman forced to work with her one time lover. But then Abby found herself in an actual threesome. She was interested in Brandon, quickly threw Nick over for him, but lost in the end. And by this point, Nick and Sabrina have found a way to make things work, so Abby's the one who finds herself in Sabrina's shoes...betrayed on the job by a guy she likes who prefers another girl to her.

Nick's story was largely irritating this first half, but I realized in this episode that so much of the story wasn't actually about Nick, but about Sabrina. The L.A. Complex doesn't play games about how hard it is for women to work in Hollywood, Alicia's story last season was a pretty smart depiction of the complexities a woman faces in valuing her abilities and balancing her dreams and what to do about the opportunity of cutting corners. And so the episode when Nick decided to fight back for his job against Sabrina using his gender privilege, I realized that this story was more interesting than I originally thought. While Sabrina did things like leave Nick at the fast food restaurant or not wake him up, Nick decided to take his boss to a strip club and a um, brothel. And in the end he got the job, not because he was funnier or more clever, but because of this. Sabrina had been getting on my nerves a little but I'm back to loving her after she refused to take any credit for Nick's jokes and told him how it was. She wanted the job, but on her own merits. And so the story ended up being exactly what she said to Nick...about how hard it is for a woman to work in comedy in Hollywood. Sabrina was smarter, she was funnier, and yet she still lost.

Connor's story was a mixture of creepy and heartbreaking to me. I love Connor, though I feel a little guilty about it. I mean it's not terribly unique to have a male character who suffers from a broken family. But...I don't know Connor is like a lost little puppy, looking for love in all the wrong places, really deeply troubled, I think Jonathan Patrick Moore does a really great job of letting you feel the pain that's just bubbling under the surface. He's not the kind of character that's terrible to other people, though, he's not Chuck Bass or Damon Salvatore or what have you. So it's creepy to me that Jennifer is kind of a mother figure to him and he's also sleeping with her. And then when her ex-husband comes Connor tries to patch them up into a little family! I found the scene where Eric breaks the vase intentionally and Connor replaces it and says "no one will know the difference" and Eric is all like, "it's not the same" to be significant. Connor thinks this sort of artificial family he has created to replace what someone else has broken is as good as the real thing, but it's not. And...his peace will definitely be short lived. The didn't show the timepiece draining for nothing. Aw, poor Connor :/ (he wanted to have game night!!)

Kaldrick! After I watched the first season, I asked if it was unusual to be gay and a rapper, and I have since found out that yes it is, which makes this story even more timely. It's been interesting to watch Kal continue to flounder even while he tries to atone for his past by helping at the shelter. I was pretty happy he hooked up with the lawyer, who is hot, in this episode so hopefully he'll stop pretending to be straight with this poor woman.

And finally Raquel. I think...her cruelty to Connor soured me on her a lot, and her cruelty and manipulation on the Half Way House show makes it hard to think she's a nice person, but she's a genuinely interesting character. Her fight against being typecast as the bitch is pretty fascinating to watch (since it essentially requires her to be a bitch). I think she should embrace it to be honest, a lot of people like that kind of character on a show!

Beth and Simon...gah who cares.

So I'm guessing the second half of the season we'll see the resolution to Connor setting his house on fire, since Simon got called back for the science show probably some drama with that married guy Beth slept with, and I think Tariq is coming back too. Oh and Nick is going to have to face that he's actually not that great at his job? And hopefully more cast interaction!


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