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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Commentary with a Co-Ed reviews "10 Things I Hate About You"

by Ashley Gouveia

When I first heard the ABC Family network was going to be airing a television adaptation of the movie “10 Things I Hate About You,” I was understandably weary. My thoughts on it were probably the same as many fans of the film, which was how could it ever measure up to the movie?

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie…why? I have seen it more than a dozen times. It’s one of those movies that you grab off your DVD shelf whenever you want to watch a good old-fashioned chick flick. I like to think of it as my generation’s “Pretty in Pink.” What’s not to love? There’s cheesy teenage angst, laugh-out-loud moments and Heath Ledger in one of his first major roles. So on Tuesday night, I decided to give the TV version a shot and see how it would compare to the movie. Was I instantly hooked? Or did it become more of a wait and see game?

I knew it was going to be near impossible to sit through this show without noticing the changes that the show runners made. For one, the two sisters, Kat and Bianca, are new in town and are just starting Padua High School. Their mother didn’t walk out on them but died in some way that has yet to be revealed. Kat, originally played by Julia Stiles, still has the brooding misunderstood vibe to her. Glad to see that hasn’t changed. Her younger sister Bianca is still a naive social climber, but I found this version to be a little too perky. However, it was great to see the same actor from the film play their father.

We got to see a glimpse of the character Patrick Verona, originally played by Heath Ledger, in the first five minutes. This version’s Patrick, played by Ethan Peck, certainly has the mysterious thing down. All the staring could be considered creepy, like what Kat thinks at first, but we all know that he isn’t the scary guy everybody at Padua thinks he is. I do think that Ethan Peck is a little too Abercrombie and Fitch to ever be considered terrifying. Heath Ledger had a certain look that made you believe that he could have been one of the offbeat kids in high school.

The most important element of this show is how good the chemistry between Kat and Patrick plays onscreen. It’s a bit early to tell, but I think all the actors need time to adjust to these roles. The character of Cameron is way too nerdy for my taste. I don’t remember him being that much of a pushover. Plus, Joey Donner is supposed to the epitome of a self absorbed womanizer, but he just seems to be a dim surfer dude who lets his bossy girlfriend Chastity push him around. I was surprised to see how they made the role of Chastity more of a lead, where as in the film she has a minor role. I guess they need a “villain” of sorts for the girls to be at odds with.

All in all, it was a mediocre pilot. I’ll continue to watch and see where these characters go. I’m eager to see more Patrick and Kat scenes, and maybe Cameron will grow a backbone in the meantime. The show will almost win me over if Ethan Peck’s Patrick breaks out into his version of “Can’t Take my Eyes off of You.”

Did you watch? What was your take on this remake? Sound off in the comments.

Commentary with a Co-Ed is a weekly column at Tube Talk new every Friday.


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