It was all about shattered dreams on tonight’s premiere of the CW’s LA Complex, a soapy Canadian import about a crew of Hollywood wannabes trying to make it big—or just enough to pay rent in their Melrose Place-like apartment building.
Frazzled actress Abby (Cassie Steele) botches an audition for a musical TV role by puking all over the piano and the casting director. As the director puts it, “When there’s vomit on the piano, it’s time to stop the audition.” I’m choosing to forgive her for injecting my primetime TV with bodily fluids because it was out of her control. (However, I’m not forgiving her for denim cutoffs with visible pockets. Why is this a trend?) To dull the pain of a breakup with her long-distance boyfriend she sleeps with Aussie actor Conner (Jonathan Patrick Moore) sans-protection. That leads to a frantic trip to get Plan B before her audition. Unfortunately, taking Plan B right before your audition for a major role might just cause you to blow chunks.
The shattered dreams just keep on coming. Connor might be an up-and-coming star on a Grey’s Anatomy-like medical drama but it quickly becomes clear that he was hired solely based on looks. It also becomes clear that he is going to have work on his acting chops if he wants to keep his job. Then there’s Nick (Joe Dinicol), a dorky would-be comedian who’s actually funny off stage but only throws out ludicrous duds during his standup routine. Aspiring musician Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson) spends most of his day running errands for his record-label mogul boss and good-natured Alicia (Chelan Simmons) who moonlights as a stripper when she’s not at dance auditions. Rounding out the group is Raquel (Jewel Staite), a sarcastic actress struggling to get back her 15 minutes of fame back and instead gets dropped by her agency.
I look at LA Complex and see all the makings of a guilty pleasure: absurdly good-looking people doing very unglamorous things, an interconnected main group, and a ton of corny misguided romance. Yet for all of its melodramatic flaws, LA Complex gets a few things right. For one, the characters don’t fit perfectly into the usual stereotypes we run into on a series about hopefuls in Tinseltown. While we’ve seen the handsome actor who rests on his looks before, Conner’s character is interesting because he seems genuinely unaware that his talent isn’t up to par and the other characters hold him accountable for it. Nick embarrasses himself as a failing comedian but not for the usual reasons of trying too hard or being long-winded. That dodging of the perfect typecast paired with funny-on-purpose dialogue keeps it light and refreshing. Sure, it’s far from must-see TV but I’m powerless against the lure of a new cheesy guilty pleasure.
What are your thoughts PopWatchers? Were you as amused as I was?