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Friday, April 6, 2012

'I Just Want My Pants Back' a home run for MTV

MTV's I Just Want My Pants Back brought its freshman run to a close last night. Each of the characters have shown growth, but find themselves reevaluating their lives. Jason (Peter Vack, Bully) finally finds Jane (Kelli Barrett, Remember Me) again, but it is not the happy ending he hopes for. Tina (Kim Shaw, The Good Wife) is scared things are getting too serious with Paul (Josh Casaubon, One Life to Live). Stacey (Elisabeth Hower, New York Lately) tries to be supportive as Eric (Jordan Carlos, The Colbert Report, Ghost Town) considers dropping out of med school.

The title I Just Wants My Pants Back doesn't define Jason's entire plot arc, but it certainly informs on his romantic situation. He has a casual hookup with Jane, whom he falls for, and becomes sort of obsessed with finding again. But that isn't all that is going on in his life. He is not only seeking a long-term partner, but also gainful employment. As a young man in his twenties, Jason is an easily identifiable protagonist, struggling through the rough start of adulthood, and looking forward to stability.

Which doesn't stop him from drinking and partying on the way. By the season finale, though, Jason has matured considerably. He has secured a career, and he turns down Jane's offer of sexual relations because she has a boyfriend. It's a bold, brave step for Jason, showing he isn't all about the quick pleasure, but rather, can still make rational decisions. He likes Jane a great deal, but knows things are looking up, and refuses to fall into a messy situation. What a great conclusion for him in season one!

Tina, who parties a lot harder than Jason, has considerably more trouble doing the right thing. She likes her job, though doesn't take it more seriously than it deserves to be. More importantly, she understands that her dating life has been a sea of wrong decisions. Paul offers a more grown up option, and Tina almost blows it because she is afraid. Afraid of what? Of not being fun anymore? Or of getting her heart broken? Thankfully, Tina also makes the right choice in the end.

Quick note, the chemistry between Tina and Jason is expertly performed. They do not have any sexual tension whatsoever, a difficult feat to pull off for two young, single members of opposite sexes. Nice.

Stacey and Eric are already doing wonderful when I Just Want My Pants Back begins. They are happily together and both on track for stellar careers. But Eric rocks the boat when he decides to drop out of med school. Stacey finds the decision hard to accept, but her affection for her partner eventually trumps financial concerns. This is something that crops up for many couples, and the way these two work through it seems to point to a good long-term outlook for them.

One can be forgiven for being skeptical of any MTV program, based on a long track record of less than impressive programming. However, similarly to Awkward. last summer, I Just Want My Pants Back shows that good writing can prevail. The goofy title becomes fun rather than annoying when applied to something this good. This show has created realistic, complex characters, is consistently humorous, and the story isn't always predictable. Rather than being junk TV, it's a high quality series worthy of attention. Please watch it in reruns, or during its second season, should it get one, which is certainly deserves.

I Just Want My Pants Back airs on MTV.

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