×

Life as We Know It

A sly, sweet look at high school, "Life as We Know It" is so good that you immediately make room on your shelf for the cult-fave DVD because you know this is the kind of show that gets canceled after five episodes. Pity poor Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, who also created "Freaks and Geeks," and again offer up a show that's stuck in the wrong timeslot and too smart for the demo the network markets it to.

With:
Dino Whitman - Sean Faris Ben Connor - Jon Foster Jonathan Fields - Chris Lowell Jackie - Missy Peregrym Deborah - Kelly Osbourne Michael Whitman - D.B. Sweeney Annie Whitman - Lisa Darr Monica Young - Marguerite Moreau Sue - Jessica Lucas With: Martin Cummins, Evan Smith, Pascale Hutton, Chang Tseng, Christopher Hyerdahl.

A sly, sweet look at high school, “Life as We Know It” is so good that you immediately make room on your shelf for the cult-fave DVD because you know this is the kind of show that gets canceled after five episodes. Pity poor Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, who also created “Freaks and Geeks,” and again offer up a show that’s stuck in the wrong timeslot and too smart for the demo the network markets it to.

Earnest, well-spoken teenagers have never met with success from a mass audience. Moreover, “Life” is too racy for the typical ABC aud but too subtle for those looking for “American Pie”-style antics. It will struggle to find an audience against a killer 9 p.m. Thursday lineup, where it faces the “CSI” juggernaut on CBS and NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

Based on Blighty writer Melvin Burgess’ novel “Doing It,” show takes a realistically lewd look at three high school boys. Dino (Sean Faris) is a hockey star lusting after g.f. Jackie (Missy Peregrym), whom he really might actually totally be in love with. Ben (Jon Foster) is under the spell of his hottie teacher (Marguerite Moreau) — the tritest storyline, but one still played with sufficient warmth and humor. Jonathan (Chris Lowell, in a clever homage to Jason Schwartzman’s character in “Rushmore”) sees his friendship with Deborah (Kelly Osbourne) taking on a new importance.

Each major character gets a turn in close-up to speak to the camera and explain their actions, a gimmick that would seem cutesy if the writing wasn’t so on the mark. Each confessional gives depth to actions that take place later in the show. After Jonathan worries about what his friends would think if he’s schmoopy in public with zaftig Deborah, the payoff is sweet when all they do is smile knowingly, with approval.

Sex — and the almost sex — is presented realistically, and it’s refreshing to see smart teenage girls who have thought through the consequences and proceed without becoming pregnant, or homewreckers, or pregnant homewreckers. (Yes, the WB, I’m looking at you.)

Actors are above par, and even though they play high school students, most actually don’t look a day over 20, which is refreshing. Even Kelly Osbourne — yes, that Kelly Osbourne — brings tenderness to a character that could otherwise have descended into a cute, chubby alternachick stereotype. Despite an off-and-on British accent, she shows much more potential as an actress than she ever did as a singer.

Life as We Know It

Series; ABC, Thurs. Oct. 7, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver. A Sachs-Judah Prod. and (ca)bloom! in association with Touchstone Television. Executive producers, Stu Bloomberg, Francie Calfo, Jeff Judah, Gabe Sachs; director, Michael Engler; writers, Sachs, Judah;

Crew: camera, John Peters, editor; David Dworetzky, casting, Allison Jones, Coreen Mayrs, Heike Brandstatter; music, Josh Kramon, 60 MIN.

Cast: Dino Whitman - Sean Faris Ben Connor - Jon Foster Jonathan Fields - Chris Lowell Jackie - Missy Peregrym Deborah - Kelly Osbourne Michael Whitman - D.B. Sweeney Annie Whitman - Lisa Darr Monica Young - Marguerite Moreau Sue - Jessica Lucas With: Martin Cummins, Evan Smith, Pascale Hutton, Chang Tseng, Christopher Hyerdahl.

More TV

  • Michael Ellenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon,

    'The Morning Show' Team on Steve Carell's Season 2 Future, Season 1 Criticism

    Although the first season of “The Morning Show” ended on Steve Carell’s former news anchor character, Mitch Kessler, who was fired at the top of the season amid sexual misconduct allegations, finally feeling the weight of what he did, there is no guarantee the second season will see him learn, grow or be around at [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani

    Kumail Nanjiani on Not Wanting 'Little America' to Focus on the Political System

    Apple TV Plus’s anthology drama “Little America” may not be about politics, but by telling tales of immigrants in a polarizing time, many people feel there is a political undercurrent to its themes. “It is amazing that we are living in a time where kindness, empathy, humanity and shared experience feels like a political statement,” [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Renews 'Mythic Quest:

    Apple TV Plus Renews 'Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet' Ahead of Series Premiere

    Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz’s “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” has been renewed for a second season ahead of its series debut, Apple TV Plus announced Sunday. The half-hour comedy follows a team of developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. It was inspired by McElhenney’s visit to Ubisoft’s [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Home Before Dark

    Apple TV Plus Mystery 'Home Before Dark' Renewed for Season 2 Ahead of Series Premiere

    “Home Before Dark,” Apple TV Plus’ mystery series inspired by the real-life reporting of 9-year-old investigative journalist Hilde Lysiak, has nabbed an early Season 2 renewal ahead of its series premiere on April 3. Directed and executive produced by Jon M. Chu and created by showrunners and exec producers Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, the [...]

  • 911 Lone Star rob Lowe

    '9-1-1: Lone Star': TV Review

    In some ways, Rob Lowe is a fit for the Ryan Murphy universe. Something about his actorly vanity — so much a part of his star persona that it tends to impact every project he works on — feels lurid and unseemly in exactly the bad-taste way as does much of Murphy’s work. A plotline, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content