I was not prepared for the suck of this hardness. I spent today watching all four seasons(ha!) of the IFC web series “Young American Bodies.” This whole show is like a poorly acted “Friends.” It was shot by someone who’s never seen anything on film besides “the Office.” It was written by someone who has no idea how real people interact or think, and directed by a shitty writer. I can hear stage directions as if the screen was screaming at me. KISS HIS NECK BECAUSE YOU NEED HIS ATTENTION. IGNORE HER BECAUSE IT WILL HELP THE PLOT.

For example, in the first season finale, the girls have all managed to fall in love with the main character.

Did I mention he’s the writer?

Okay so technically they haven’t all fallen for him… but they’re all doing exactly what he would want from them. One is his roommate/wingman-lady. She tried to set him up with one of the most attractive people to grace the screen, and he blows it because he has a huge crush on his friend. His good friend knows that he has a huge crush on her, and so does everyone else. They bludgeon you over the head with this fact. “You can’t just tell the audience how you’re feeling… that makes me feel Angry!”

He exhibits this huge crush by staring at her at work. It’s actually kind of brilliant. What better way to show someone’s feelings by making them out to be a stalker.

The third is fresh out of a relationship that consisted of really hot sex(at least by comparison) and really contrived fighting. So… they’re all talking about how great he is, and his friend is trying to get the girl who is fresh out of a relationship to not psych herself out and go for it with the writer.

I mean, director. Yeah, he’s that too.

Actually, I’m not so sure that’s what she’s trying to do. She’s through hooking him up with attractive girls, because they fought about it when he fucked it up the last time… so she’s just grilling this other girl, maybe so she can get him back for ditching the last friend she set him up with. I don’t know exactly what she’s doing, but she’s making this whole story about him. Which makes sense, since he’s the male lead, writer, director, and producer at this point in the show.

So, what happens? The hipster slutty girl(Girl A) is playing truth and dare with wingman-lady(Girl B) and the fresh out of break up girl who kissed said writer/director/male lead(Girl C). Basically, we have slutty girl, monogamous friend girl, and pretty innocent girl. Well, this being truth and dare(something all 20 somethings do routinely during a season finale), the innocent girl confesses to everyone about the (stupidly awkward) kiss. I forgot to mention, the male lead is a huge gossipslut and already told wingman-lady about the kiss, which is why she wanted to verify it in truth and dare.

Look, it’s confusing and complicated, but there’s absolutely nothing behind ANY of it. Girl A knows the doofus likes her. She has for a long time and she couldn’t care less. She’s been flirting with other guys the whole time, right in front of him, and then puts up with his pithy “I’m going to talk about your sex life choices” shenanigans. She’s a nutcase. Girl B is roommate of doofus and looking out for his cock rather than her friends, or something. Why, I can’t say. I have no fucking clue. Girl C is… well… genuinely complex. She just went through a breakup from a long term relationship where she was neglected emotionally… she doesn’t want the doofus right away, but she isn’t ruling it out once she’s had some time. She doesn’t act terribly well but she’s also way more attractive than anyone else on the show, so when she stumbles out a line, at least you have something to look at while it happens. NOW NERVOUSLY LAUGH, BECAUSE IT WILL LOOK BETTER ON CAMERA THAN IF YOU JUST SAY THE NEXT LINE THAT MAKES NO SENSE WITHOUT CHOKING ON THE LAUGHTER.

I’m getting off track because this thing is as meaningless as a ball of lint that’s been sitting in your bathtub strainer for a week. It came from somewhere, and it’s hairy as fuck, but looking at it actually makes you enjoy life less.

Girl C tells girl B, on a dare, to flash her doofus roommate. This I get. It will diffuse the situation and doofus will get a very huge reminder (she’s got nice tits) that there are other fish in the sea. Nevermind that girl B has a long term boyfriend. I’m sure the writer didn’t care about that because…

Girl B says no, Girl A should do it. I can only assume she says this because she wants doofus to get with girl he’s been hung up on, forgetting entirely that he has this delicate awkward thing with girl C that just happened… I honestly don’t know or care if it’s because of the crush on girl A or the kiss with girl C. Girl A isn’t fucking anyone at that second(for a change)… and that’s the last moment where anything relating to a plot happens in the whole show.

Sans motivation – and to the overwhelming bewilderment/despair(i can only guess because the acting is so wooden it’s actually a structure fire in disguise) of the other two girls, Girl A elects to go show her boobs to Mr. “I play scrabble by myself.” (WTF?)



Why does girl A do this? There is no explanation. She knows he’s always liked her and she literally could have walked into his room at ANY point in time. There’s nothing to make her do it now except that her roommate kissed and she thinks likes him, so she’s going to steal him from the roommate because the roommate isn’t going for him. But if that’s the subtext, what’s the motivation? She doesn’t hate her roommate and actually sees her as a source of inspiration and solace. She’s not threatened by her and she has no reason to harbor any ill feelings. So if it’s not about girl C, it has to be about girl B or doofus. Well, she’s not doing it because girl B said so. She’s a caricature of a slut, not a robot. And like I said, she could have had doofus whenever, so it’s not about him. It has to be option one, that she’s trying to steal him from girl C, or at least burn down that house. But again, there’s no motivation for this action… girl C’s never wronged her- only supported her and been a positive influence. It’s not spite, so malice is literally the only option left… and she’s just not malicious. At all. She’s a little lost, but not malicious.

Did I mention how dumb and boring the sex scene looks?

Just like that, love triangle dissolved, feelings hurt but not expressed, and extremely plot-heavy supposedly-important sex is shown on screen in an emotionless mash of potato-y flesh. That was really what this guy was so bent up over? I’ve seen more sexual urgency – more careful physical intimacy – in a jersey shore chest bump.

This is the end of the plot as we know it.

The only pathetic(as in, the viewer actually cares what happens to her) character, girl C, decides the best action to take is to disappear completely from the show.

That’s right. No more redheaded sexy “I guess I like you and you’re an amazing guy to me where you’re an ass to everyone else” plot development, just an unexplained disappearance. I’m going to guess she’s pissed at her roommate so she leaves the apartment and group of friends entirely… but again, why? Obviously, having some slutty hipster go fuck the guy you like but aren’t ready for could cause some problems, but the show doesn’t even give us those problems or their resolutions. We see her once more when she shows up at the coffee shop to say hi. No real reason for that appearance either, but at least she’s pretty.

Also, the girl who he had such a huge crush on? He couldn’t care less for in the next season. They’re still friends but there’s zero sexual tension. I guess the sex was as bad as it looked at the end of the first(second?) season. CAMERA PAN LEFT, FIND ANOTHER PLOT LINE.

The next three(two? I dunno.) seasons are basically a bunch of hookups. No real motivation or reasoning behind any of the plot lines… they’re really more like plot skidmarks. So let’s see… the boyfriend that was so disinterested in the pretty girl? It turns out he’s gay.

That makes sense… but we don’t get any real character development. He who was once the disinterested boyfriend is now the Pretty Gay Boy. I think the only reason he came back is so that the show wouldn’t be so heteronormative. Also, the only monogamous girl starts kissin up on some female coworkers. Messy, sure… interesting? Potentially. Instead, where the plot could go somewhere, it’s shot out of the sky by the lackluster acting and direction. HOLD FOR DRAMA!

Now that the main character/director/writer has lost some weight and shaved his face, he’s getting all kinds of hot action like… wait… he’s dating an old chick? Okay. Sure. But why is she always giggling? And how come he who used to be so awkward and spazzy in front of every girl in the show when they were about to do it in the last season suddenly the smoothest guy in the world now that his sex interest is a noticeably older woman? I don’t get it.

Meanwhile the most promiscuous girl in the show is doing what she does best: having unbelievable(no, really, it doesn’t look like anyone in the room is enjoying it… i don’t believe it) sex with random guys we aren’t supposed to care about. And don’t. All the sex scenes are candid, as advertised, but I wouldn’t call them tasteful. I also wouldn’t call them pornographic, except for the fact that I just don’t care about 80% of the characters in them.

Then there’s the imposition of an alt-porn website that the friends start up mid-series. It’s not even a necessary plot vehicle. All it really does is promote the stereotype of the sexless computer nerd web designer. Literally EVERYONE else in this fucking thing is having sex… but nope, not the web designer. Even though he’s a better actor and even more attractive than most of the other characters… no sex for nerds. Hipsters have ugly sex left and right, talented pleasant people have computers and stare blankly at images of sexy models.

Oh, and then there’s some dude that’s into yoga and colonics. You know, why not. We’re never told who knows him or why he’s suddenly in the picture. He cheats on girl C who was cheating on him, but while she was cheating on him when he was her roommate, he cheats on her while she’s slutting up London, a half a world away. So she won’t take him back, and he goes walking into Lake Michigan in all of his clothes. Wait, are you fucking serious? You want me to feel bad about this? HE CHEATED ON HER. SHE CHEATED ON HIM. I hope they both drown… in their fake feelings. Seriously, not breaking up would be a worse fate than whatever he’s hoping for. I guess he’s just crying because the girl that he cheated with is chunkier than the guy she cheated with but… really? This is not a big deal. Certainly not enough of a big deal to warrant a big crying in the sea sequence.

I just don’t understand what’s happening and why. Besides, you know, naked bodies tenderly kissing and thrusting into eachother.

I’m not saying this show is porn… it’s just that it’s everything but.

Granted, they do some parallelism with narrative form and try to make it sufficiently ‘filmy…’ but what’s going on other than sex between a bunch of whiney, uninteresting friends? Nothing that comes through in the story. It looks like it was fun to make, but the writer ran out of any remotely interesting or witty dialogue halfway through the first season. I honestly think he made it because he wanted to make porn while still having credibility/appeal with art school chicks. He likely wrote most of it out of some silly personal folly that he didn’t have the mind to say in real life to her face. Next time, don’t make a show about it just tell her she’s a slut and save us the motivational void that is this show.

In a scene where he’s directing some altporn model, she asks what her motivation is, and he tells her to pull her underwear down and lean on her other arm. I would think this was funny but I think it was actually the only actual piece of reality their cameras actually captured. What an abortion.

“Young American Bodies:” Chicago’s Mindless Hipsters Get Laid on IFC.



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