10 Things I Hate About You
The year is 1999. Nobody yet is really all that worried about terrorism or greedy Wall Street Bankers or that George W. Bush character. Nor are they aware of the gargantuan hole Heath Ledger will leave in the movie business following his death nine years later. Yet there he was starring in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, a soft California high school retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. The film made $38 million, a modest amount, and except for the fact that it was instrumental in launching the careers of both Ledger and his co-star, the painfully vanilla Julia Stiles, it was largely forgotten…until now.
ABC Family, for whatever reason, has rescued it off the trash heap of history and repackaged it as a half hour TV comedy for pre-teens. They have created a high school that feels terribly familiar and filled it with loud, obvious characters. The writing is ironic and saturated with pop culture but its also, unfortunately, not very good. But that said this show hardly deserves any venom. It is a mindless, toothless diversion being served up to people who just don't know any better, nothing more, and nothing less.
For those of you who forgot the plot of the movie it involved two sisters – one popular, one “deep” – who live under the roof of a deeply paranoid dad freaked out by the mere thought of his beautiful daughters having anything that even resembles sex. So he lays down a ground rule saying that the popular one can't date until the deep one does, thinking that that will keep them both off the market indefinitely. And in the pilot that rule is mentioned but most of the time is spent watching these two sisters, who are polar opposites, try and exist in the same world.
Bianca (Meaghan Jett Martin) is eager to please and dying to be popular. So much so that she labors over a scientific formula on how exactly one should go about becoming the most popular girl in school. Kat (Lindsey Shaw), meanwhile, just wants to be left alone with her books. The writers would have us believe that she is some sort of social outcast who is despised by the entire school, but this is hard to believe since she is by far the prettiest person on the show. There is also a subplot involving two male nerds with a penchant for Harry Potter references and a thing for Bianca. Good shows about the perils of high school are not impossible to produce, just look at Friday Night Lights. But on face value this is one strictly for the junior high crowd.
Starring: Lindsey Shaw, Meaghan Jette Martin, Larry Miller, Ethan Peck, Nicholas Braun, Dana Davis, Chris Zylka, Justin Lee
Created By: Carter Covington
Showtime: Tuesdays, 8:00pm EST