Sunday, July 15, 2012

The LA Complex: Trashy Good Fun

This spring, the CW (home of Gossip Girl and...I don't know what else anymore) started to air the first season of The LA Complex. The show follows a bunch of young folk who live in the same apartment complex in Los Angeles and are struggling to "make it" in the big bad world of Hollywood. It's soapy and often ridiculous, yet when the CW started airing reruns of the six-episode season, I started watching and am officially hooked.

What makes The LA Complex interesting is that there are a nice mix of characters who are dealing with very different branches of the entertainment industry. If you find one character insufferable, you only have to tolerate them being on screen for about ten minutes before some other character takes over. There's Abby, newly arrived from Toronto with dreams of being an actress; Nick, a pretty bad stand-up comedian (with a voice that really grates on me); Alicia, a hard-working dancer who has been trying to land a gig for three years and gets into some really compromising stuff by the end of the first season; Tariq, who has landed an internship with a hip-hop producer and gets to work with Kaldrick King, a famous artist with a secret; Racquel, a scheming actress who enjoyed brief fame but is now on the downward trajectory and struggling to stay relevant; and finally, Connor, the handsome Aussie actor who has just landed the lead role in a medical drama, bought a big house, and is all set to become the next big thing.

Phew. That's a lot going on in one show, and yet you never get lost. The characters are memorable and their individual storylines are compelling, albeit tending towards the massively hyperbolic. This is Drama with a capital D, but there are often moments when the characters are just chatting with each other with an easy levity that breaks up all the tension. Also, this is a Canadian show, with Canadian actors, so occasionally someone will say "sorry" or "about" and you'll lose the illusion that these people are mostly supposed to be American. But other than that, the actors are a fun bunch who all look like they're having a good time.

The brand-new second season premieres on the CW this Tuesday, but to catch up on the first season, you can head over to Hulu, the CW, or MuchMusic websites and watch all six episodes. It's impossible to take this show seriously, but it's perfect for the summer when you don't have much else to watch and need some cool, mindless entertainment to help you forget the heat.

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