The L.A. Complex Review: California, Here They Come!

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The L.A. Complex lured me in at first more by its title than its premise.

It's true, I'm a sucker for puns and double entendres and I figured I had seen enough shows about beautiful people living a big city, dealing with the basic trappings of love triangles, pregnancy scares, psycho stalkers, sex tapes. Pretty much what Melrose Place specialized in a weekly basis.

But give series premiere credit: it reeled me in with a unique spin on that concept, never wavering from the premise that residents of The Luxe are all looking to make it big in Los Angeles.

The L.A. Complex has a hook and, as long as it centers all of its soap opera-esque storylines around that set up, I see definite promise in following the up and down lives of hopeful actors, dancers and comedians.

Stuck on the Freeway

Of course, any series of this nature is dependent on its characters and how invested viewers get in them. So let's rundown those dreaming of seeing their name in lights, shall we?

ABBY: A fun main character. She's neurotic and talkative and, well, a pretty awful girlfriend. It's safe to assume we'll learn more about her relationship as the series goes on, but it didn't seem to take a lot in order for her to cheat here. Yes, she was drunk and on E... but did she have any regrets the next day?

Or even any real hesitation is taking the morning-after pill? I get the impression it's not the first time she's been in that kind of situation. It was just the first time she had to sing an audition within an hour of casually taking the drug.

CONNOR: Seems too good to be true at the moment. And I'm not just saying that because of the accent. He's nice, he's handsome, he's considerate of both his latest lover and his go-to-drunk-dialer. Also seems incredibly relaxed and natural when it came to unprotected sex with a stranger. Not really sure how to take that, but there has to be something sordid to this seemingly perfect male specimen.

NICK: My least favorite character. I understand it's difficult to break into stand-up comedy, and not everyone will be Chris Rock the moment he takes the stage, but it's asking a lot of the audience to believe this guy can even entertain the notion of such a career.

His jokes were just awful, his delivery a mess. There's too overt of an attempt here to make Nick awkward and sympathetic, from the thick glasses to the bombing at open mic night to the losing of Abby to Connor.

Alicia in Action

TARIQ: His insertion of his own beats into that email was likely the most predictable development of the series, but curious to go inside the world of hip hop. Dropping names such as Drake and Usher, and including guest stars such as Mary Lynn Rajskub (as herself), add an element of reality to The L.A. Complex. Fun stuff.

ALICIA: Your basic sweet, hard-working, innocent... stripper. Again, not exactly a shocking way to conclude the premiere (I saw it coming as soon as she answered her phone and agreed to work that night), but that doesn't mean there isn't potential. And not just to see a great deal of actress Chelan Simmons partially clothed, although that will be a surefire way to draw in the male demographic.

How far will one go to achieve one's dreams? How much can one justify one's actions (hey, stripping is dancing, too!) as a professional building block? How much skin can The CW show? All questions that could be answered by Alicia's storyline.

RAQUEL: My favorite character so far. I like the star (Jewel Staite) and I like the idea of seeing an actress from the opposite standpoint of Abby. Raquel has sort of made it, but not all the way, and is now stuck where I'd imagine many real-life actresses would be: far from over the hill, but considered too old for most major parts.

I also enjoyed her commentary on the industry, especially how she pointed out that networks/studios go too far out of their way to be politically correct. Seriously, would Di and Cher from Clueless really be best friends?

A quality start overall to The L.A. Complex, which doesn't take itself too seriously (Remember, kids: when there's vomit on the keys, the audition is over) and which does ground itself in a concept that makes it stand out from other, seemingly similar fare. There's also a lot of pretty people having sex. That's gotta be appealing to many viewers.

What did you think of the premiere? Who is your favorite character? Give the episode a grade now:


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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