These last few weeks have been filled with a whole lot of free time, and very little money to do anything to fill it. So, as I look for my next gig, I've been reading, playing games and watching TV. There's only so much of substance one can watch in order to feel like an intelligent viewer. I watch Nova Science Now with Neil Degrasse Tyson and all sorts of Discovery and History Channel shows, which are all great. However, sometimes you just need to veg a bit and that's where the fluff comes in.
Over the last few weeks, Inky and I have been getting more than our recommended daily allowance of fluff thanks to reruns of the tweener show "What I Like About You" on The N and ABC Family. The show aired for 4 seasons from '02 to '06 on The WB. It follows the life of 16 year old Holly Tyler (Amanda Bynes) who moves in with her 30 year old Sister Val (Jennie Garth) when their father moves to Japan for work. Along the way there are love interests for both of them played by the likes of Simon Rex and Dan Cortese for Garth and Nick Zano and Michael McMillan for Bynes.
The plot summary may not blow you away, but the show is really made by it's supporting cast. Holly and Val's best friends, Gary and Lauren respectively, are both very funny. While the story always revolves around Val and Holly, it is the input made by the friends, boy friends and best friends that really makes me laugh. The smallest lines, such as the ones dropped by Tina (Allison Munn), Gary or Lauren really deliver the punch lines. The on again/off again, will they or won't they stuff that is tied up in Holly and Val's love life is only useful when it is made fun of by the "supporting cast".
In addition to the surprising strength of the performances on the show, the real thing that made me watch more than once was the writing. Most shows aimed at young teens are soft and week. This show doesn't dance around sexual topics despite the fact that they wait till the main character is 19 to lose her virginity. There are multiple jokes about "back massagers" and sexual situations that are pulled off well and responsibly.
When you find yourself with a whole lot of time to kill, it's nice to be able to spend that time doing something other than dwelling on the bad things. I didn't know that this show even existed till about 3 weeks ago, but now, I've seen the bulk of the episodes. Watching them hasn't found me a new job, or paid for my car or home repairs, but spending a little time in Val's Tribeca loft is a great little distraction in my day. And that's what I like about it.