Shmathan is again displeased…
After learning that ABC Family is teaching a generation of young girls that having sex will kill your parents, I was curious to see what else this network had to offer America’s impressionable youth. What I discovered enraged me. It seems that tonight the network will premier its newest “original” series, 10 Things I Hate About You; the newest pop culture abomination to make Ben’s Do Not Want list and my ever-growing catalog of Catastrophes. I do not suffer this news gladly.
There are certain movies integral to any gay boy’s development. Take for example, Clueless, which I saw at age 11, and walked away thinking that I was jealous of Cher’s wardrobe and that Christian was a most delightful fellow. 10 Things I Hate About You is another such film, and has a place near and dear to my heart. I mean, what’s not to love? It was a modern re-telling of Taming of the Shrew. It had Larisa Oleynik in her last gasp of post-Secret World of Alex Mack popularity, before she descended to the obscurity of one-shot TV guest spots and straight to DVD releases, and let’s face it, she was adorable. Julia Stiles played her most likeable, and least annoying character ever! And need I even mention the self-apparent greatness of Heath Ledger, who in this role became my first fully-realized man-crush? I melt every time he sings Frankie Valli’s “I Love You Baby.” Of course, there is also David Krumholtz’ snarkiness, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s over-all adorable-ness and the incomparable Allison Janey as a caustic guidance counselor seeking for the perfect way to describe engorged members.
What’s particularly important about these characters is that while they were obvious stereotypes (The Rebellious Girl, The Bad Boy, The Popular Princess, The Dorks, etc), the story and the actors actually managed to make them individuals and avoid too much cliche. For example, Krumholtz and Levitt played unpopular characters who nevertheless had charm, and their own brand of charisma and self-assurance. Compare that to the cardboard cut-outs fulfilling the roles this time around: they appear to be nothing more than typically under-developed (both physically and emotionally) loser runts complete with overly-scripted awkwardness. I have feeling this is going to be another cookie-cutter teen comedy that completely destroys everything great about the original movie. However, since I cannot judge what I haven’t seen, I will forebear my judgment, temporarily. As I have nothing better to do (I mean, other than studying to take the New York bar…), I intend to watch this small-screen abomination and, for your amusement, compile a list of the 10 Things I Most Despise. It is only fitting!
I can already jot down the first…
1. No Allison Janney.
For the rest, check back at 9 PM, EST.
Wow. So I will never get that half-hour of my life back. As promised…
1. No Allison Janney
2. Rather than come up with original and compelling material, they basically took the original character names, imported a healthy dose of Bring It On, and tossed in some bad puns( “My dinosaur wanted to Jurassic Park here!”) and post-2000 topical references to pad out the dialog.
3. As predicted, the characters were re-written into pathetic farces. Recall Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Cameron. He was less than popular, but confident in his own right and did not suffer from any form social ineptitude. This version (I’ m not even going to dignify the actor by imdb’ing him) is a simpering little twit with an over-exaggerated inability to handle social situations and the personality that is a cheap imitation of every character Michael Cera has ever played.
4. Katerina’s delightfully insane, Shakespeare obsessed, raven-haired temptress of a best friend was replaced with the stereotypical fat Goth girl.
5. The whiny, nasally actress they hired because she’s a less-hot, less-talented knock-off of Gabrielle Union.
6. The fact that one of the only things consistent in letter or spirit with the movie is Walter Stratford, the father, and even worse, Larry Miller was desperate enough to reprise the role.
7. The Cro Magnon playing Joey Donnor.
8. That the best exemplar of the show’s dialog is, “Why are people scared of you?” with a rejoinder of “Why are people scared of you?”
9. That Ethan Peck has the audacity to step into Heath Ledger’s shoes at all.
10. The fact that the show exists at all…