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" Corpsicle "
— Kathleen Quinlan, Event Horizon

MRQE Top Critic

The East

The East emerges as an exciting piece of filmmaking from the independent scene’s hott —Matt Anderson (review...)

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Warning: This is not life as we know it. This is life as jocks and sorority girls wish it could be. The Life As We Know It television series is rarely a pleasure to watch, and unless you are a die-hard fan of the show, I’d say stay away from this DVD set.

Death to the Pigs

This band of tenth graders look older than I do
This band of tenth graders look older than I do

This is the story about three high school sophomores: Dino, Ben and Jonathan, and how they deal with all of life’s little problems: school, relationships, divorced parents, sex; it’s all here! Dino is the “leader” of the gang and, despite being named after the Flinstone’s pet dinosaur, is a real ladies man. In the pilot episode, he proclaims, “I could have any girl I want!!!” — that’s the kind of protagonist we have to deal with for thirteen episodes. Ben on the other hand, hasn’t got much action, but is determined to get laid by the end of the school year. Jonathan is the more kind, humane of the three, and the other two make fun of and humiliate him a lot.

So how do the episodes play out? In the first one, Dino sees his mother and his hockey coach having an affair, and instead of confronting her in a civil way, he sulks around and breaks up with his girlfriend. Ben has a big crush on his English teacher, and we quickly learn she has a crush on him as well. Despite the fact that he is only 16 years old, they start secretly dating. Jonathan starts going out with a chubby girl, which gives the other two guys endless material to ridicule him with.

This is all just in the pilot, mind you. The rest of the series isn’t nearly as unrealistic, crazy or interesting, but there are a few entertaining moments throughout. Ben tries to break up with the teacher later in the series and she starts failing the girl he wants to date, while also making his life a living hell by sleeping with his older brother. Dino can’t get an erection so he steals Jonathan’s dad’s Viagra, and takes a whole bunch of them... right before wrestling class.

Paranoid Android

This show had a lot of potential, but too many things brought it down. First, was the casting. Besides the fact that the acting is atrocious across the board, this band of tenth graders look older than I do. A common style the series boasted was when a highly dramatic or emotional sequence was happening, the world around a character would freeze and they would speak their feelings on the situation. Not only is this concept corny, but is executed very poorly on the part of the actors and writers.

And the writers were obviously running out of material as the season went along. To get themselves out of traps they had written themselves into, they developed a very simple formula, at around the time of the fourth episode: Something drastic happens to a character; instead of acting rationally, the character lies to other characters; the worst happens to the character for lying; a lesson is learned. This happens over, and over, and over again until even the most determined viewer loses interest.

DVD Extras

I can only see the extras being enjoyable if you enjoyed the show. The feature that fans will be most thrilled about is the extra two final unseen episodes. To me, the season was best off without them, but they are harmless and if you enjoyed the bizarre antics of this unrealistic series, you’ll love them.

There’s the Life as We BLOW it gag reel, which does indeed blow. You watch as the silly actors fall off things and giggle at each other. They also make faces into the camera, and laugh in hysterics when the script demands one of them to say “penalize.”

The deleted scenes portion made no sense to me because they are all lumped together, so we don’t know which scenes go with which episode, and their significance is ultimately pointless.

The audio commentaries are done by the executive producers, the writers, and a director. Having five people do an audio commentary isn’t such a great idea. The conversations are all over the place and don’t have much to do with what is actually going on on the screen.

Picture and Sound

Both are good, as television series go. No problems.

Overall

As for the actual show, if you like watching Abercrombie-wearing jocks treat women like sex-objects while creating unrealistic high school drama, this is for you. The DVD features will satisfy anyone who is a fan of the show, especially the two un-aired episodes, but if you weren’t head-over-heels for this series, I’d say wait for re-runs.

  • andy charalambous: Firstly I'd like to protest against the writer of the article reviewing the television series, 'life as we know it' on his point that he wrote a clear objection to the series being shown as treating women like sex objects. I argue that this is not the case, as the three male characters clearly show later in the series that sex is not all that matters, i.e when Dino falls for Jackie all over again later on in the series.
    I would also like to point out that you say the series was unrealistic. With all the high-school teenage dramas inhabiting the television screens today, I ask would you want them all to be realistic? I say that television needs something different, even if that something different is of the same genre as many other teenage dramas. The show being unrealistic is what draws their fans towards it, as things that teenage boys actually think about is portrayed in the series, i.e the affair between Ben and Miss Young.
    I therefore close my argument. Not because the hope of a retraction, but because of the not-so-profound review of which the series was given, which I think was unjust.If you have any comments feel free to email me.
    Yours faithfully,
    Andrew Charalambous. Aged 15. December 7, 2006 reply
  • aVariousSire: Little Andy,
    At first, I was going to disgrace you for trying to devend this slop of a show, but your revealed age answers all the questions for why someone in their right mind would actually find this show even remotely enlightening.
    Have fun with this sort of shit while you can, and may your dreams be merry and bright. Twit December 25, 2006 reply
  • (anonymous): Perhaps not my age, but the forsight to see what the television series gives us. A different, slightly more 'out there' interpretation of teenage life, which does make it differ from the many others that are on t.v. This makes the show far less boring, and again, different from the rest you see.
    The fact that you call me a twit 'aVariousSire' makes you very unopen minded for that you are judging me purely of what i think of a t.v. series. This really shows a lack of true intelligence on your behalf, and openmindedness on mine as i can take into account people's negative views towards the show.

    Andy.
    January 3, 2007 reply
  • aVariousSire: I can honestly say that I probably don't watch nearly as much television as you do, so I'm not clever enough to debate you about how this show is compared to other crap that is out there, but none of your pseudo-intellectual comments can hide the fact that this show is trash, and I'm not talking about John Waters trash, I'm talking like Paris Hilton trash. It's filthy.
    If you want to engulf yourself in it and protest reviews who expose its faults, I'm not sure if that's totally "openmindedness" of you... January 5, 2007 reply
  • Jess: I disagree with this FOOL'S argument. This show is awesome as! It's the only show I dare to watch on T.V! How old is this guy anyway? 50? It's a teen show dude, so leave us alone, pervert. Thanks!

    Jess. January 14, 2007 reply
  • Samantha: I didn't watch much of the show, but I did read the book, Doing It, which the show was based on.

    The first thing I'd like to know is not what age aVariousSire is, but why the hell you care to debate about this tv show if you don't even like it? Why did you google the tv show in your spare time to write about it when you didn't even like it? Seems to me like you just want to have a nice internet fight and that's cool, whatever's your perogative, but this poor fifteen year-old Andrew kid, really feels a connection to the show. Now no offense but the acting isn't the best, but it gives you a sense of "wow, that could be me; I could be the class Cool Kid" or "Damn, bad things happen to the hottie too?!"

    I think that if you liked the show, definitely get the book; the last name of the author is Burgess, I think. Anyway, Andy, write like yourself. I'm just going to imagine that your daily conversations aren't like this. You've got to write in a way that is your style and still sounds quasi-intellectual (p.s. throwing things like "quasi" in helps the intellectualism bit, works every time) March 25, 2007 reply
  • mathias: release season 2 January 15, 2009 reply