September 25, 2004

Jack & Bobby

Pilot season. We're way behind already, thanks a young boy's currently messed up sleep schedule. But we can catch up, thanks to TiVO. So we watched the Jack & Bobby pilot tonight. The conceit, if you don't know, is that we're watching two present-day teenage boys, brothers, go about their lives but we know (through talking head-style interview footage from the future) that one of them will grow up to be president someday. Thankfully, we find out which one by the end of the episode, otherwise the entire series would be one long tease. And I think, too, it wouldn't be able to say what it wants to say about the stresses and factors that shape a person.

The implication in this concept is that this was a very good president and a great human being (which doesn't follow from the mere fact of the presidency, just look at the man now warming the seat). In the show, the boy is not yet great and I like that. In a sense, if you strip away the grandeur of the setup, what you have is a standard coming of age story, someone growing into himself. I like that too.

My only caveat so far is that it's very hard to show high school problems in a non-cliche way. We've seen it all too many times, lived it ourselves. The geeks vs. the cool kids. The bullies. The teases. Being called into the principal's office. Yeah, yeah, yawn. But what else is there? That's what it's about when you're a teenager. And there's a lot to like in this portrayal. Christine Lahti's mom character is a powerful, intelligent woman who learns by the end of the pilot that she has to let her sons grow up with a little more breathing room. This is not cliche. This is interesting. And the lead actors are good, particularly the younger boy.

We've got a season pass for now. I'll be curious to see if the theme can sustain itself.

Posted by Tamar at September 25, 2004 11:50 PM