The L.A. Complex Review: Reality Bites
I'll say it: Raquel killed it tonight.
On "Rule of Thirds" Jewel Staite shined as Raquel, the ultimate producer of her own fake reality. The L.A. Complex is best when it uncovers a part of the entertainment industry that we, as the viewer don't get to see. I know, I know, it's a fictional television series. But I can't imagine the jaded perspective The L.A. Complex takes is all that far off the mark of what the industry is really like.
It's as if the series exposes the fourth wall, while creating a fifth wall. It's continually fascinating to see this series' take on production, especially the reality part of tonight's episode.
What really got me is how Raquel was manipulated into a vicious sound bite from the production manager. It's a fascinating glimpse into (again, I'm guessing here) how a number of those confessional rooms are run on your stereotypical reality program. I enjoyed seeing Raquel take control of her image, even if her efforts turn out to be fruitless, which will probably be the case. Editors can make or break you and Raquel's ego is overshadowing this fact.
It was great to see Ricky back, although I'd trade him to see Alicia, even though her story wrapped nicely. The dynamic between Raquel and Ricky is unique and I don't think I've seen it on television before - the idea of acting as a certain archetype to avoid what you've been cast for. Has anyone else seen this? Maybe in a different television format, but The L.A. Complex does it so smartly and continually compels its viewers to root for the actors we'd normally see as the editors want us to.
I hope this storyline gets more air time next week.
Kaldrick, or Sean, as Dawna will now be calling him, had a relatively calm week compared to the beginning of Season 2. But internally, Kal is still stuck figuring out who he wants to be. His father sets him up on a date with a seemingly great girl, but it doesn't matter how great she is. Kal is gay. Nothing will change that. And of course, Kaldrick will find this out the hard way, as if he hasn't already since the whole Tariq situation exploded earlier this season.
Although the show didn't tell us explicitly, Kaldrick's burning of the phone number he picked up from a waiter tells us he's attempting to be straight. Dawna was talking about choices earlier, and even though he was distracted by a cute guy, her message came through louder. He picked her. And he picked wrong. As long as Kal continues denying who he is, even if he claims to be confused about the kind of man he is, he'll suffer. But again, it makes for compelling television. And, hey, the number given was an actual Los Angeles number! Someone call it, please!
I didn't view the other storylines this week as favorably. Let's start with firecracker Beth, who I wish would take a Xanax before going on auditions and filmings with her brother. Let me put it this way: Beth is powered up at 11 most of the time. She needs to dial it back to about an 8.
It's not as though I don't understand her frustrations. I'd be questioning the show's tactics as well if they tried to put a plastic bag on my brother's head. But why can't Beth ask nicely? Why must she rant and scream? It's just so destructive to everything her and Simon are setting out to do! And I really don't blame Simon for slamming the door in Beth's face.
Nick and Sabrina barely registered on my radar this week as their back and forth feud over this writer's room job seemed to continue endlessly. When is this decision being made? I like them working together and competing, but how long can the show keep this up? Pick one and let's live with the consequences. Meanwhile, these two do a nice job of humiliating each other. All the herpes cracks were enjoyable. I just want more for these two.
Connor and Jennifer also had a mediocre storyline this week. I was surprised to see Jennifer has a husband, but now that Connor and him get along, what are they going to do with him? Will he be the cause of Jennifer and Connor's break up? Aren't they contractually obligated to one another? I'm curious, but skeptical.
And finally, the overcomplicated threesome finally splits back into its natural state. I want Abby to be a bit smarter than she's being right now. Laura and Brandon have been together for years and Abby just expect Brandon to choose her after knowing her for what, a few weeks? It's completely unrealistic, and by the end of the episode, Abby's repeated line, "Well, at least no one got hurt, right?" annoyed me. But this is Abby. She is impulsive. She doesn't see the big picture. And she puts her emotions first.
And as such, she gets deservedly thrown in a pool. And I'm sure she'll be tossed out of Saying Grace in due time as well. I'd love for her to do something intelligent and get the brother/sister duo fired instead, but it doesn't look like that seems like a viable option. In order for me to stay invested in Abby, I'd like her to get a little bit more clever. Writers, take note.
We're about halfway through the season now, fans. Keep watching, I can only assume it gets better!