What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this blog-focused show from the creators of thirtysomething and My So-Called Life features some very iffy Internet-user behavior -- including videotaping people without their knowledge and posting the images online. Originally conceived as a TV series, the show was then reworked for the Web -- only to be picked up for broadcast after all. It has more substance than some other shows that got their start online -- as well as plenty of sexual innuendo (various references to sexual acts, audible orgasm sounds, etc.) and some strong language ("bitch," "crap"). It also overtly promotes the Toyota Yaris and is at the center of a significant online ad campaign on MySpace.
What's the story?
QUARTERLIFE chronicles the lives of a group of creative twentysomethings, as told by aspiring writer Dylan Krieger (Bitsie Tulloch). Dylan is unfulfilled by both her job and her social life. So she creates Quarterlife.com, a multimedia blog she uses to talk candidly about her life -- as well as everyone else in it. That includes her roommates -- high school friend Debra (Michelle Lombardo) and Lisa (Maite Schwartz), an aspiring actress whose life seems to be spiraling out of control -- and friends Danny (David Walton), Jed (Scott Foster), and Andy (Kevin Christy), former film students who are trying their hand at commercial advertising.
Is it any good?
Each episode (9 minutes online; longer in the repurposed TV version) combines humor and drama as the members of the bright-but-rather-self-absorbed group deal with friendships, endure the angst of romance, and struggle to hold on to their creativity while balancing the expectations of the professional world. But as Dylan's blog becomes more popular, these private events become very public, often leading to some very embarrassing and compromising moments. As a result, Dylan finds herself risking both her relationships and her career while she tries to satisfy her own artistic spirit.
Quarterlife was initially conceived as a TV series by Emmy Award winners Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (best known for the popular series thirtysomething and My So-Called Life). The fact that it continues their tradition of good writing, solid characters, and multiple plotlines may be why network execs decided to broadcast it after all, once it found success online. But while the show has some substance, it's also got the kind of content generally associated with corporate-sponsored online shows -- most notably, prominent placement of brand-name products (in this case, Toyota Yaris hybrid vehicles). There's also plenty of sexual innuendo (including references to various sexual acts and audible orgasm sounds) and some strong language (including words like "crap" and "bitch"). So while the show is entertaining, it's not your best bet for tweens or and younger teens.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why TV producers would turn to the Internet to distribute their shows. Are there advantages to repurposing a TV series for Web-only viewing? Disadvantages? On the flip side, what do you think would prompt networks to repurpose online shows for TV broadcast? Families can also discuss blog-related behavior. Is blogging really a creative activity? Is it ethical to film people and post the recordings online without their consent? What about writing about them? Does that violate their right to privacy? This is a great opportunity to reiterate the importance of Internet safety.