ABC’s new teen-centered drama “life as we know
it” tells the story of three teenage boys trying to get
through high school. One has a crush on a teacher, another is in
love with a chubby girl and the third is trying desperately to push
his girlfriend into having sex, while dealing with the fact that
his mother is sleeping with his hockey coach. All of these
storylines would be quite novel — if it weren’t for the
fact that the WB has been doing this stuff for almost a decade.

“Life as we know it” does have some plays on the
genre. For one thing, these boys are not the eloquent teens
equipped with adult vocabularies that populated
“Dawson’s Creek.” No one would mistake these boys
for geniuses. The leader, unmistakably the dumbest of the trio, is
Dino (Sean Faris, “Smallville”). He’s a hockey
player who simply wants to get some from his girlfriend, and is one
of the most arrogant characters primetime television has seen in a
while. For example, when he discovers his mom’s affair, he
confronts her about it by snapping her bra strap. Also, the lying
and aggression he uses to get his girlfriend into bed has dangerous
undertones of a future date rapist. Ben (Jon Foster, “The
Door In the Floor”), the boy with the crush on his English
teacher, is slightly less revolting. Sure, his obsession with his
teacher is disturbing, but he seems too simple to be really
objectionable. After the viewer sees the teacher for the first time
he turns to the camera — a device too heavily relied upon by
the show — and exclaims “Oh my god!”

The third boy is by far the most endearing. Jonathan (Chris
Lowell), a photographer with a hipster haircut, is in love with
Deborah (Kelly Osbourne). He’s afraid to actually go out with
her, as Dino and Ben contribute to future eating disorders across
America by acting like Deb’s the size of an elephant.
Regardless, Jonathan stops listening to the duo by the end of the
pilot, resulting in the most endearing moment of the episode.

“Life as we know it” has a sort of
been-here-seen-this vibe with all of its seemingly recycled plot
lines. The camera testimonials have got to go — these people
are not deep enough to warrant introspective commentary.
Fortunately, there are some good things about it. For teen actors,
this cast isn’t bad, as the three lead boys are convincing
and Osbourne is especially good, showing that she can act far
better than she can sing. Overall, “life as we know it”
is a decent, albeit repetitive show that hopefully will get better
as it matures.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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