The Critics Offer Their Two Cents On NBC’s QUARTERLIFE!!
I am – Hercules!!
A drama about twentysomethings – an aspiring journalist, an aspiring actress and a pair of aspiring filmmakers among them – from “thirtysomething” masterminds Ed Zwick, 56, and Marshall Herskovitz, 57, “quarterlife” began life as a rejected ABC pilot that evolved into a bunch of webisodes on that newfangled Internet I keep reading about.
ABC probably made the right call. As a fan of “thirtysomething” (or at least the DDA-centric series “thirtysomething” evolved into) I must say I find “quarterlife” pretty awful, riddled with tin dialogue and annoying, unrelateable (if physically attractive) characters who often do not behave as normal humans do.
USA Today gives it two stars (out of four) and says:
… it's possible that part of the problem with Quarterlife is that they've observed their twentysomething characters too well. Fairly or not, there's a good chance many viewers will have a visceral, negative reaction to the show in the same way that some despised thirtysomething simply because they hated boomers. The bigger question is whether anyone of any age will want to commit to these characters on a weekly basis. To varying degrees, they're self-absorbed, self-satisfied and so convinced they know everything that they're seemingly immune to absorbing any life lessons — including learning from their own mistakes. Brimming with angst and anger and that feeling that every moment is of earth-shattering importance, these are people who are uncomfortable in their own skins and may make you equally uncomfortable in yours. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… plays more like a rerun than the sort of groundbreaking, trend-setting show the team is known for. … It really is the most vanilla group of twentysomethings in captivity, a faraway kingdom of young people dreamed up by folks who haven't been twenty-anything for a very long time …
The Washington Post says:
… they're an insufferable lot for the most part -- cutesy and coy and as precious as kitties with balls of twine. … The hard part is caring whether who knows who's gone goofy about whom and whether they'll wind up in each other's arms, or thoughts, or thrall. One mustn't expect a game of musical beds, however; on this show, even the sex seems sexless. Nothing can happen to anyone without a preface, a preamble and a few thousand words of stammered inquiry. … what made it to the screen is something that is no stranger to television -- whether it's aired or wired, blogged or beamed, uploaded or downlinked -- and that something, sad to say, is mediocrity, with a portion of sheer annoyance thrown in.
The Chicago Tribune says:
Though it soon settles into the standard patterns of an above-average (if overwrought) drama, the first episode of "quarterlife" may make you regret the creation of the Internet. … Whether it's authentic to the experience of the average twentysomething is not something I, at the advanced age of 41, can judge. I can say that "quarterlife" frequently comes off as what two established, Hollywood big shots would come up with after deciding to depict the lives of the Young People Today. …
The Philadephia Daily News says:
… though the abbreviated installments of the online "quarterlife" had annoyed me with their very brevity, at an hour, NBC's "quarterlife" seems to drag on forever. …
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… The "quarterlife" pilot is, strangely, both artificial and semi-realistic at the same time. While all of Dylan's direct address grows tiresome and sometimes sounds too much like the hyper-literate kids of "Dawson's Creek," she nails it when she notes, "The sad truth about our generation is we were all geniuses in elementary school, but apparently the people who deal with us now never got our transcripts because they don't seem to be aware of it." Alas, Tulloch's delivery makes it less-than-clear if Dylan is being serious and sincere or that she's in on the joke that today's twentysomethings grew up in a time when every Little League player earned a trophy just for showing up. … As frustrating as it is fascinating, watching the "quarterlife" characters is like gazing at animals in a zoo: You may recognize some human-like characteristics in their behavior, but too many decisions they make in their day-to-day lives bewilder the observer.
The Milwuakee Journal-Sentinel says:
… At its best, "quarterlife" has something of the insight, the wit and the messy, complicated humanity of much of Zwick and Herskovitz's previous work. At its too-frequent worst, it indulges in the sort of navel-gazing, coyness and aren't-we-hip pretension that makes even a longtime fan of their stuff like me cringe a little. …
The Boston Herald gives it a “C-minus” and says:
… raw and insightful this series is not. While “My So-Called Life” gave a voice to a generation grappling with difficulties of adolescence, “quarterlife” only gives 20-somethings a bad name. … If Dylan were my friend, I’d give her a smack upside the head.Her antics feel like they would be more appropriate in an episode of “Dawson’s Creek” than a show about young adults trying to make it in the world. But this type of melodrama will make “quarterlife” a guilty pleasure for many viewers. …
The Boston Globe says:
… just plain creepy. … an excruciatingly self-conscious look at an age group for whom, supposedly, privacy is irrelevant. Rather than developing a clique of layered individuals, as they've done before, Herskovitz and Zwick deliver a small culture of flat, irritating generational emblems. …
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… NBC's gambit to condense the 36 pieces into six network episodes is not without its issues. For starters, every commercial break tends to have a trumped-up dramatic feel, since in reality those stoppages signaled the end of a segment designed to tease you to watch another. But in fact "quarterlife" overcomes that stylistic shortcoming to deliver a slick, heartfelt soap opera populated by believable young characters and a quick-cut feel that dexterously walks the fine line between perpetual bathos and wry humor. Nobody is better at crafting this kind of ensemble dialogue, blended with "Big Chill"-esque interaction, than Herskovitz-Zwick, and this Net-generated hour is no exception. …
… well done and watchable, certainly comparable with some of the better angst-ridden "College is over, what do I do now?" dramas. … it's all pretty familiar, been-there, logged-onto-that territory, but Herskovitz, partner Edward Zwick and their various associates -- including the young cast -- exhibit an admirable facility for zeroing in on the awkwardness of relationships …
10 p.m. Tuesday. NBC.
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Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Feb. 26, 2008, 4:57 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2008, 4:58 a.m. CST
Oh.My.God. Am I last? This has never happened to me before!
Feb. 26, 2008, 4:59 a.m. CST
...is close enough.
Feb. 26, 2008, 5:04 a.m. CST
I will use this post as a device to help the douchebaggery that proclaims 'first.' Honestly. I have, perhaps, been maybe the top couple people to post first in one of these silly talkbackerys. Dude. Stop it! It is of the gayness for sure.
Feb. 26, 2008, 6:38 a.m. CST
I hate these, I'm deep and going through tough times, kinds of shows. People are struggling to survive halfway around the world and you're whining because you didn't get a raise? Fuck you. <p> I did find one quote illuminating: "To varying degrees, they're self-absorbed, self-satisfied and so convinced they know everything that they're seemingly immune to absorbing any life lessons." Talkbackers anyone?
Feb. 26, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST
You gotta love that paper. A long list of reviews hating the show, followed by Variety telling us it's not too bad. These kinds of shows just serve to make the subject of them become even more self-absorbed. People who are similar to these characters will watch this and only become more self-absorbed. "They're just like me and my friends like to think we are." Looks like another show that takes place in a TV executive's fantasy world. Just the usual teenage drama with the characters ten years older. I think a recent Family Guy (more insightful than usual) also echoed the "nothing in life will ever happen that's more important than this" theme of this genre.
Feb. 26, 2008, 7:41 a.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST
Why is this not on MTV? Oh, thats right, this is the network of American Gladiators and My Dad Can Fist Fuck Your Dad....
Feb. 26, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST
shouldn't have blamed the writers strike, it was just me knee jerk reaction to crappy programming recently..
Feb. 26, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST
Their review is from November and was based on just the first six 8-minute segments. The reviews now are based on several hours of footage.
Feb. 26, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST
Did anyone else read Herskovitz's self-congratulatory douchebaggery on "Slate"?
Feb. 26, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST
...And I'm sure I'll end up hating my thirties too.
Feb. 26, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST
Who is yo master? Sho nuff!
Feb. 26, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST
by Mullah Omar
I don't see a single thing in there that compels me to watch one minute of this show.
Feb. 26, 2008, 1:31 p.m. CST
"Did you guys have an argument or are you just rehearsing Strindberg?"<p> p.s. what's DDA-centric?
Feb. 26, 2008, 2 p.m. CST
quarterlife crisis??? christ
Feb. 26, 2008, 2:17 p.m. CST
i watched the pilot and its an insult to those who are in their 20's and are doing something with their lives. The characters in this show are just so cookie cutter and don't reflect an entire generation. Besides, being a film school grad, working at a magazine ( who reads magazines these days ) and being an actress are so 1990's. Why don't they make a show about people with real talents, like mechnaical engineering, biologist, or a teacher instead of the crud left over from society.
Feb. 26, 2008, 2:39 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
... a show about the most pampered, coddled, spoiled and consequently most arrogant generation ever. Fortunately Dubya's effed things up real good-like and it's only gonna get worse. It's going to be fun seeing these obnoxious little pricks shivel up and blow away when the real shit goes down in a few years, along with their bloated-ass, overfed, boomer parents. Gen X inherits the Earth!!!
Feb. 26, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST
which scares the living shit out of me
Feb. 26, 2008, 3:48 p.m. CST
Still don't think I will watch it.
Feb. 26, 2008, 5:02 p.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2008, 6:43 p.m. CST
I *think* that's supposed to be "DAA-centric"... DAA being, if I remember correctly, the name of the ad agency that Michael and Elliot wound up working for in the latter part of the show. (The "D" was for Miles Drentell, their creepy boss, who I think owned the company.)
Feb. 26, 2008, 8:52 p.m. CST
Feb. 26, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST
by Super Nintendo Chalmers
But maybe that's because I triple majored in journalism, acting and film making. Oh wait, I didn't? Never mind then.
Feb. 26, 2008, 11:17 p.m. CST
That lasted for about two seconds.
Feb. 27, 2008, 1:05 a.m. CST
Worst show I've ever seen! Acting is shit. Dialog is shit. I'm really tired of these shows about retarded twenty-somethings trying to make their way through life - it's bullshit. One guy is a filmmaker (so edgy) one is an actress (that's crap too) one is a assistant editor! OH freaking God - they're all just on the edge of success!!! Oh how I hope they all make it to the top! Fuck you Edward Zwick - you Executive Producer fag! Let me tell you, If my girlfriend was writing shit about me on the web - I'd kick her fucking skull in! I wouldn't be all like...how could you? I thought you were my friend! Boo fucking hooo.
Feb. 27, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST
by Droogie Alex
Feb. 27, 2008, 7:41 a.m. CST
by Napoleon Park
By the way, here's what the title means. IF you are fortunate enough to be born without any handicaps, birth defects or diseases and you are from a healthy family with no tendencies to run towards cancer or diabetes and IF you eat well, maintain a "normal" weight, excercise, get lots of fresh air and drink clean water, don't use drugs, alcohol to excess or tobacco and use a strong SPF rated sunblock to avoid skin cancer, and IF you avoid a dangerous or high stress profession and stay out of high crime or high risk areas and drive very defensively and the government doesn't institute a military draft in your lifetime, then with modern medical science improving the way it keeps doing, you could very well live to be 100. In which case, when you are twenty-five years old, your life is one quarter over.<p>IF you live to be one hundred years old, twenty-five is your "Quarterlife" mark. Get it?<p>On last weekends SNL Tina Fey reported that the main cause of the dramatic increase in middle aged women having strokes and heart attacks is 65 year old women who think they're "middle aged".<p>I admit it's a convenient label, but at 55 I'm only "middle aged" is I live to be 110.<p>So let's say you're a few pounds overweight like NOBODY on "Quarterlife" or you eat sugar or smoke dope or work on your tan or had a few family members with cancer. Let's be honest, here, kids. If you're 25 years old, your life was a quarter over at least five years ago.
Feb. 27, 2008, 7:48 a.m. CST
http://tinyurl.com/2lrzfr.Whatever the fuck it takes, including backing up a Brinks truck to her front door, no amount of money is too little to keep her in the fold for season 3. This is LUNACY, Tim Kring; get her on board, no matter what.
Feb. 27, 2008, 8:09 a.m. CST
for next season: http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2008/02/according-to-ji.html
Feb. 27, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST
It got a second season. No, really. I know, I was just as shocked as you are now. New episodes have been running on Tuesday nights (or is it Wednesday, or Monday maybe?). I don't know exactly when it is on but I do come across it once a week when I am programming my DVR. And yes, you are right. Quarterlife is October Road set in the Big City.<p>Shouldn't a show called "Quarterlife" be about nuclear physicists? Or a show about the trials and tribulations of people working for, and against, a nuclear power plant?
Feb. 27, 2008, 11:05 a.m. CST
Yuppie hipsters, now there's an interesting group of people. Christ, at least the douchebags in Cloverfield had the decency to get eaten.
Feb. 27, 2008, 11:12 a.m. CST
of garbage scrote. suck beyond belief.
Feb. 27, 2008, 11:21 a.m. CST
I've never seen it, but I do love Laura Prepon (whatever her name) 's breastes.
Feb. 27, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST
2.5 rating/4 share overall, just 40% retention of Biggest Loser's audience. They lost 21% of that viewership in the last half-hour(2.8/4 to 2.2/4).
Feb. 27, 2008, 2:09 p.m. CST
or shows about filmmakers and aspiring actresses
Feb. 27, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST
I don't know what it is but she looks like your average midwest girl and not a hot celebrity
Feb. 27, 2008, 4:31 p.m. CST
I happened to be flipping channels and I caught it about 1/3 of the way through. Interesting premise - using the blog as a vehicle for the narrative. Too bad it was full of Abercrombie and Fitch models with as much depth as a sidewalk puddle. And it's also too bad that the executive producers are both over 50 years old. You could quickly feel the scenes and dialogue becoming cliche and being played like a 50-year-old's idea of what being 20 must be like. <p> A one word review? TURDFEST
Feb. 27, 2008, 4:33 p.m. CST
Fucking classic mate! Had a good laugh at that one.
Feb. 27, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST
LMFAO right back atcha. FTW!
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