Found this little gem of a show while looking for a site that streams Buffy. It’s the TV series based on the 1999 movie 10 Things I Hate About You. At first I wasn’t interested in watching it at all because TV shows based on movies are usually bad (I’m looking at you Clueless), but there are times that they’re better than the movie they were based on (I’m talking about Buffy, again). So, when I read that at least one critic called this “the best thing ABC Family’s ever come up with”, I figured it was worth a try. And true enough, I wasn’t disappointed. Well, not very much.
1. Cast - Though I’m not crazy about the people who play Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona, that’s probably just because I mean, hello? Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. How are you going to top that?! I’m pretty happy about the other leads, Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) and Cameron (Nicholas Braun). For those of you who aren’t as into teen movies as I am, the girl who plays Bianca is the “mean girl” Tess from Disney’s Camp Rock.
Let me take this time to segue about Camp Rock for a bit. See, in that movie, although Tess was supposed to be the “mean girl”, I liked her better than Demi Lovato’s character Mitchie. Because Mitchie lies to everyone and embarrasses her mom just to be popular, while Tess just wants her mom’s attention. So really, I couldn’t feel sympathetic to Mitchie when everybody hated her. And I don’t like her friend Caitlin either, I mean one minute she’s supportive of Mitchie, the next she’s attacking her. Talk about two-faced.
As for the guy who plays Cameron, I saw Nicholas Braun first in Sky High, as the “sidekick” who glows. And he’s absolutely funny. I’m not crazy about his having dark hair here, because I think his blond hair in Sky High contributed to the laughs, but anyway, he’s still funny, and although I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt to death, Nicholas’ different take on Cameron’s character here is a good kind of different.
2. Character Changes – They kept the main characters’ names and some characteristics, but they changed a lot of it, and I think it’s for the better. I mean, I’m not saying the movie needed to be improved, but definitely, because it’s now a TV series, then some changes had to be made. The biggest change is that instead of Cameron being the new guy in school, Kat and Bianca are the newbies, so everybody’s just getting to know them, and find out about their crazy dad’s rules. And although Joey Donner is still a conceited model who’s quite dumb, he’s now also a pretty nice guy and not mean like in the movie. And Mandela is still Kat’s friend, but not as much of a Shakespeare nut, which is OK, because it might’ve limited her character if they stuck too much to Shakespeare. I’m not too crazy about the Chastity character, though. I know she’s supposed to be the b*tch, but I’m still not convinced that there are actual people in high school who can have that much influence over the entire student body, no matter how rich and “popular” they are.
3. Funny Dialogue – Since it was the 90′s when I was a kid and I’m not American, I don’t get all the pop culture references they make (e.g. about viral YouTube videos, I mean, who cares, really? I don’t think I’ve ever watched a “viral” YouTube video before.) but they still have lines that make me laugh. I’ll make a post of the funny quotes I noted later.
4. Similarities to the Movie – It’s not a complete repeat of the movie, for one thing, Cameron doesn’t make a deal with Joey to pay Patrick to take out Kat, but I like the bits and pieces of the story that they included, like when Kat and Patrick walk out of school to spend the rest of the day at the beach, it’s like when they skipped detention to play Paintball in the movie. And when Cameron goes to a party to see Bianca, and he finds out she was interested in Joey all along. It’s cute to still have those parallels.
5. High School Events Episode – I don’t know why but I never get tired of them even when they’re present in practically all the shows set in high school. The Talent Show Episode. The Dance Episode. The Cafeteria Food Episode. The Student Council Election Episode. It’s too bad this series only lasted for one season or we could’ve seen the Baby Egg Episode and maybe a Prom Episode, too.
6. How it mocks pop culture, specifically reality shows – It’s just good to know that not everyone takes things so seriously. I mean, the reality show for models is called “The Biggest Poser”. That’s just too funny. And how about Dawn having watched “all a hundred and twenty-seven episodes of Intervention” and saying that it always ends with the person crying and admitting that he/she has a problem.
7. Nobody is too stupid – I mean sure, Bianca may not know who Kim Jung Il is but at least she doesn’t mistake garbage bins for mailboxes like Jessica Wakefield in the Sweet Valley High TV Series. This is one of my pet peeves in TV shows–when they have too stupid characters as plot devices or maybe for cheap laughs (e.g. Joey from FRIENDS). I mean, it’s OK to use stupidity for some jokes, but when it gets overused, it’s just annoying. Lucky none of the characters here are like that.
8. Character Backgrounds – I know, the movie of course didn’t have time to flesh out all the characters and tell their histories and things like that, so it’s kind of cool that because this is a TV show, which is more than an hour and a half long if you put all the episodes together, then there’s more time to show who the characters are, what they like, and where they come from.
OK, I can’t think of any more. I know that’s just 8, and I could’ve changed the title to “8 Things I Like About This Show” but it wouldn’t be the same. Maybe if I think of two more in the future I’ll just add them here. Anyway, just wanted to post this to share my happy discovery. If you decide to check it out, I hope you like it, too.