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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

18 to Life hits the U.S.

    18 to Life is a charming Canadian sitcom about two best friends and neighbors who get married shortly after turning eighteen.  Originally developed with ABC, the CW now has the American rights to it, and began by airing the first two episodes last night.  All twelve first season installments have already run in Canada, and a second season is in production, to air next winter.  Because the show has already been released, you can find it online if you're slightly creative (or in the Canadian iTunes store), but no DVD set has yet gone on sale.

     The show stars Stacey Farber and Michael Seater as Jessie and Tom, the central couple, and both young actors are a delight.  They have great chemistry.  Her family is New Age, his is business anal.  Yet the actors playing the parents manage to rise above the stereotypes.  The groom also has two sisters, and there's an Iraqi refugee living with the bride's family, so the cast is pretty full for a sitcom.  Add to Tom's best friend, Carter (Jesse Rath), who was Jessie's first sexual partner, and you have quite a bit going on.  And yet, at least in the first two episodes, it was well balanced, and didn't seem too busy at all.  Perhaps as the show continues, the writers may want to give the parents more than a scene or two per episode to steal, but for now, the formula is working nicely.

     In the pilot, "A Modest Proposal", Tom proposes to girlfriend Jessie on a dare.  Both families are against the idea, but pretend to put their full weight behind it in an effort to drive them apart.  The couple, mostly undeterred, go to City Hall and make their engagement a very short one indeed.  In the second episode, "No Strings Attached", the couple tries to find a place to live, made complicated by the fact that neither work, and Tom will soon be starting college.  The parents are starting to embrace the nuptials, but in stages.  I don't think they will let it go to quickly, and it should make a good season one plot arc.  Not having seen the entire season, I don't know what will be in store for season two.

     It's a comedy with good heart, appropriate for families, and feels fresh.  I recommend checking it out.  And finding the first two episodes online, if you can, since they are not currently schedule to rerun.  18 to Life will be presented on the CW Tuesdays at 9 and 9:30pm.

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