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September 15, 2009 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-15

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10 - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

The CW's bloody
mess of a series


Beautiful people, hideous acting skills.

'Meirose Place'
has nowhere to go

Daily TV/New Media Editor
"Twilight" has our country
split more than it was during the
last presidential
election. Girls
from ages 12 to
18 absolutely h
love it - most
everyone else, DjarieS
not so much. But
hopefully every- Thursdays
one can agree at8 p.m.
that The CW's The CW
"The Vampire
Diaries" has
accomplished what most
"Twilight"-haters must've never
thought possible: It makes "Twi-
light" look good. Next to "Vampire
Diaries," "Twilight" looks like a
brilliant piece of Pulitzer Prize-
winning literature, and the movie
seems like a contender for an Oscar.
Yes, the show is that awful.
Elena (Nina Dobrev, "Degrassi:
The Next Generation") is a small-
town girl recently orphaned by
a car crash of which she was the
sole survivor. On her first day
back at school she catches the
eye of the hunky new guy, Stefan
Salvatore (Paul Wesley, "Army
Wives"), who also happens to be
a 170-year-old vampire. Their
budding romance may never pan
out, however, because Stefan's
brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder,
"Lost") has vowed to ruin every-
thing. Throughout the season,

Damon and Stefan will compete
for Elena's affection, and hints of
some plot-thickening supernatural
happenings are already sprinkled
Almost immediately, the hor-
rendous acting is evident. The
actors utter already-cheesy lines in
hushed tones as if everything they
say is the most important thing
anyone in their audience will ever
hear. But the majority of the hour-
long show is taken up by the char-
acters staring forlornly into the
distance - usually accompanied
by music from The Fray - while
contemplating how sad they are
and wondering if they'll ever find
Stefan is clearly fashioned after
"Twilight" heartthrob Edward
Cullen, as all of his facial expres-
sions give that trademark look
which says: "I can't reconcile my
love for you with the fact that I
want to eat you. And the script
says to give a 'pained expression!"'
Elena, meanwhile, is the newBella.
She has one expression that's sup-
posed to say "I'm shy and nobody
understands me."'
When the characters aren't half-
whispering their thoughts to their
friends or staring away from the
camera, they're writing their triv-
ial motivations into their diaries.
Elena just wants to be able to smile
again, her ex-boyfriend (Zach
Roerig, "Friday Night Lights") just
wants to win her back, Stefan just
wants to exist peacefully in the

small town (and win over the girl)
and Damon just wants to wreak
havoc by pursuing Elena too. It's
not really clear why all these boys/
vampires are after the girl, but it's a
little exhausting to watch a bunch
of characters who all have only one
goal in mind. Unsurprisingly, it
makes for a painfully one-dimen-
sional plot.
Many people have called "Vam-
pire Diaries" the next "Twilight,"
or at least its TV analog. It's nei-
ther. "Twilight" was certainly not
classy by any means, but it was a
phenomenon that sparked a reviv-
al in the vampire sub-genre and
turned it into a bizarre adolescent
It even makes
'Twilight' look
trend. Stupid? Perhaps. But pow-
erful? Definitely. Because of the
success of this new vampire move-
ment, the premiere of "Vamgire
Diaries" became the most viewed
program in the history of The CW.
"Vampire Diarles" does what it can
to imitate the "twilight" series,
hoping success will quickly follow.
But it does so with an inadequate
cast, meager writing and shallow
characters. And - lets be honest
- "Twilight" really wasn't worth
imitating in the first place.

The remake of the '90s
staple suffers from trying to
modernize too much
Senior Arts Editor
For better or for worse (hint: it's for worse), this
isn't your parents' "Melrose Place." Never before
would we have heard such evoca-
tive and intriguing dialogue as
"People will think we hooked up,"
retorted ever so wittily and mod- Merose
ernly with "It'll give them some-
thing to tweet about." mice
The new "Melrose Place" Tuesdays
appears to have been written by at 9 p.m.
a team of "cool moms" and "cool The CW
dads" who want to be "hip" to what
all the "bros" are saying on the
"strizzeets." Nobody in the cast acts his or her age,
instead reverting to a demeanor reminiscent of the
most obviously scripted scenes of "Laguna Beach."
But considering both shows are aimed at the same
demographic, that may not be so accidental - though
it's still very unfortunate.
With its primetime sloton The CW, the new "Mel-
rose" is not hoping to win back the loyal daytime soap
fans of yesteryear, but instead to cause a new genera-
tion to rise up in cries of "Not now, I'm watching my
stories," or something very similar but with more
teen slang in it. It has all the staples of the modern
teen drama: sex scandals, attractive lesbians (even
"Heroes" is rumored to be using this tactic now),
handsome heartthrobs and, obviously, murder.
Yes, murder is afoot. Sultry landlord Sydney
Andrews (Laura Leighton of the original "Melrose
Place") returns as an older, more experienced bad girl
only to be stabbed and dumped in the pool, much to the

shock of her many tenants - each of whom, of course,
seems to have some sort of motive to kill her. There's
rich-boy renegade David Breck (Shaun Sipos, "Shark"),
his partner-in-sexual-tension Ella Simms (Katie
Cassidy, "Harper's Island"), the charming indie film-
maker Jonah Miller (Michael Rady, "Greek") and his
new fiancee Riley Richmond (Jessica Lucas, "90210")
among others. But in a cast where everyone seems to
want to have sex with everybody else, it's hard to know
if any of those relationships will last more than a few
weeks. On the other hand, with all the characters so
irritating anyway, it's unlikely anyone will be heart-
broken if they start to break up and shuffle around.
Beyond the derivative writing and trashy cast
of characters, the show's editing and camera work
render the new "Melrose" difficult to watch even
if you can handle the sleaziness. In the blink of an
eye, the camera might cut between four or five dif-
ferent camera angles, none of which even features
the active character or object. While this is great for
people hoping to get motion sickness in the comfort
of their own homes, it's terrible for anyone hoping to
be pleasantly entertained for an hour.
And when it comes to sheer entertainment value,
"Melrose" just doesn't deliver. This could change
once it moves past its first few weeks, but at present
the show inspires a constant uttering of, "We get it.
They have troubled pasts. Let's move on." The inser-
tion of unnecessary flashbacks only exacerbates this
feeling. And whenever a big question is asked, such
as why Simms hates Andrews so much, it just gets
answered right away. The only major suspense left
is the main murder plot, which isn't enough to tide
viewers over from episode to episode.
The new "Melrose Place" certainly isn't the trash-
iest option on The CW lineup, but it will still satisfy
anyone looking for a promiscuous diversion. That
said, without some compelling cliffhangers and
believable dialogue, even the sex scenes may not be
enough to save the new "Melrose" from the remake
junk pile.


Plot hole No. 2,417: Vampires aren't supposed to be able to appear in photographs.

Patrick Swayze
Send us your
favorite Swayze

From Page 5
both the most obvious choice and the least obvious.at
the same time. There are such big holes in the logic
at this point that a car could be driven through them
without touching the sides. But no matter: If you're
seeing "Sorority Row," it's clear that logic and rational
thinking mean nothing to you.
The saddest part of the whole film is how it com-

pletely wastes a talent like Carrie Fisher. As the house
mother, Fisher gives enoughspunk and energy to make
up for the rest of the cast's lethargy. Growling Come
*to mama" while wielding a shotgun, she'.begging
for more screen time. Sadly, the director must have
assumed (probably correctly) that the target audience
would rather see skimpily clad bimbos (even though
they can't hold a candle to Fisher in a metal bikini).
It is probably for the best that films like this will
be quickly madethen forgotten. If only the sisters had
dumped this film down the mineshaft and saved all of
us the trouble.

E-mail us at battlebots@umich.edu.

JiTCj,1Midigan Jai P R E S E N T S

"I swear it's just for a new role-playing scenario. Work with me."

From Page 5

tion to the ever-growing genre of fantastic breakup
records. While the mangled lyrics can be taken quite
literally as the depiction of a man helplessly watch-
ing his wife die in her hospital bed as he lies beside
her, they work just as well as a gritty allegory for the
anguished deterioration of a highly dysfunctional
relationship. And when Silberman invites all you
hopeless romantics to be "buried awake" with him
in his hospital bed, you should probably just cave.
You'll feel better after.

between tongue-in-cheek jest and morbidity.
Hospice is a lot of things. It's a grower for sure. It's
a record that's meant to be listened to as a record.
It's a triumphantly tight combination of experimen-
tal decay and pop sensibility. It's also a worthy addi-


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The Antlers enjoy long walks on the beach, symmetry and looking bored.
, t a

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