Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Nine Lives of Chloe King YA Paranormal With A Terrible Moral Compass

The Nine Lives of Chloe King if anything is unoriginal. At its best, it's a shoddy knockoff of a series that died called "Birds of Prey" which followed the escapades of the Huntress (Batman's daughter) and tanked after a few episodes. At it's worst, it has a terrible moral compass and is disturbing on many layers. In brief, the pilot episode had the subtle messages:

1) It's okay to lie about your age where sex and getting into a bar are concerned.

2) If you commit criminally negligent manslaughter, then it's okay as long as you didn't know that what you did could kill someone. WTF??! More on this below.

Now, I don't watch many ABC Family shows but I gave this a try because the premiere was last week (I missed it), however, you can download the premiere for free on iTunes (which I did).

First off, the lead-up promotions to this show were absolutely insane if you got in on it early (which I didn't). You could play this game where they sent you an Egyptian box in the mail that included a "Nine Lives of Chloe King" free iPad 2 that had an Egyptian hieroglyph on the back plus a bunch of cards and clues that you followed on that iPad. Then the winner got some grand prize (I assume it's to go to one of the live tapings of the show). I would rather have had the iPad 2 to be honest.

Anyway...impressions from the show.

1) Everyone is skinny and the setting is very rich (urban San Francisco). In case you don't know...you gotta be making some bucks to be able to live the city life of San Fran and send your kids to high school there. No $50,000 a year State government job is going to cut it...try making at least four times that. However, it's the kind of rich that you see on Beverly Hills 90210...less subtle and ostentatious but if you know your designers and you know how much hairdos, shoes, cars, morning coffees with biscotti, and tech costs...then you can add up the cost of this lifestyle for parents and kids alike. It's really no wonder that the main character is white...just sayin'. However, it's also a huge lie. Very few people can actually live this kind of lifestyle yet young women grow up with expectations of just this. So I guess if you want your daughters to grow up with entitlement on their minds then this is definitely another show you should add to the list of brainwashing that gets pumped to today's youth.

2) Everyone is beautiful. Main character is blond with blue eyes with token Asian friend (who is probably good at math) and dark-haired (tag along BFF). There are no "real" people...ever. "Real" meaning people who have weight problems, maybe who have eyes that are too far apart, or too close together, are losing hair, or who work real jobs (the adults in the show gotta have lots of free time to send covert messages, keep tabs on people, or to be available for kids whenever they need to "talk".) Food when consumed is only in the swanky sushi parlors. There's no fried chicken and hamburgers.

All you needed was a blog to get this sent to you.
3) Once again everyone that is "Sixteen" is obviously older because to me they look twenty. That's just how Hollywood goes about these things...If you're twenty, you can fool sheeple into thinking that you're sixteen (but not really). I've never been fooled by it but I guess some people are which I don't understand. For example: Glee cast members look almost thirty to me but whatever...they're supposed to be teenagers.

4) Favorite Quotes: "I just wish I could get kissed..." Keep in mind the main character is a blond bombshell. This is the same as an obese man saying, "I just wish I could eat a frickin' doughnut!" Also it does play into the fact that her kiss is deadly to mere humans thereby sealing her into loneliness unless she is to mate with another of the Mai.

Mom says to Chloe, "Your father wasn't a big fan of questions"...this just goes along with the cliche "Men are not good at communication." Whatever...this is cliche.

5) Cliche Lies: Some dude to Chloe at a nightclub, "Don't get me wrong...but you look kinda young." Answer from Chloe, "Oh, I'm eighteen..." (awkward smile).  MESSAGE to young women: lie about your age to men so you can get attention and maybe some sex. If you don't like the sex, you can call it rape and have the perv arrested.

6) Everyone has super white, perfect teeth.  Even the street bum.

7) The villain in the pilot is a black man. That isn't enough though...he has a scar on his left cheek from where she clawed him with her cat nails (different than press-on nails). Additionally, a bum tried to rape her (the one with perfect teeth) after she wouldn't give him some money. MESSAGE: Black men are evil and men without jobs are rapists.

8) The high school jock is blond with blue eyes and could be an amateur bodybuilder easy...maybe professional. Plus there is no acne at all on any of the supposed "teens". Super clear complexions. You find out later that he's one of the special "Mai" that are this super race which maybe goes to explain his incredibly "rockin" body but again...whatever. More Hollywood crap.

9) Lots of Apple plugs because "Apple" is the tech brand that is popular amongst young rich kids.

10) She discovers her powers in the same wide-eyed goofy way that Tobey Maguire did in the original Spiderman. In fact, she seems a lot like a female spiderman but I guess being part cat makes you super strong and agile, she has tons of energy, and superhuman hearing.

11) Every conversation between Chloe and her BFF (when no one else is around) is about boys, kissing, and potential coupling. There was lots of squealing and "OMG...did he kiss you? ... Yeah I think he did!!!" stuff. There was also reinforcement from the BFF that she needs to see the guy she kissed with his shirt off first before making a choice (reinforcing that the dude had better have six-pac abs or is unworthy of 'boyfriend' status).

12) Real parents are gone (she's adopted). If that weren't enough, her adopted dad was a dead-beat dad. Dad left over ten years ago leaving mother to come up with all the money to afford a San Francisco lifestyle (remember when I said it was expensive to live there? Look San Fran up sometime and you'll see).
Checkout this cast of...ermmm...regular teenagers.

13) Every shot of San Francisco includes the Trans America Pyramid. I'm just waiting for the first chase scene on cars because San Fran has hills and there is always some chase seen with cars bouncing on hills.

14) She's part of some strange race where if she kisses someone she kills mortal men. So her touch is poisonous/deadly to guys. This "forced loneliness" opens the series to much angst of course and forced romance as she can't have guys or kills them (we've seen this before a lot). Lana Lang became poisonous to Clark Kent (Superman) in Smallville. In Tahereh Mafi's upcoming "Shatter Me" her heroine kills with a touch. In Marvel comics, the X-Men called "Rogue" kills people if she holds onto them too long. That's how she got all of Miss Marvel's powers.

I have issues with this curse, primarily, in how it's being handled by the show. She murdered an innocent guy that she met at a nightclub after lying to him about her age and kissing him outside. Yes...he went home and died on the floor of his apartment. At the end, she cries about it and the other Mai say, "It's okay...you didn't know that this would happen." I think that this is bullshit.

Criminally negligent manslaughter in the United States is a crime and it doesn't matter if the woman involved is sixteen, rich, white, lives in San Francisco and enjoys sushi and shops at boutiques, and is the member of some ancient race of perfect white people that served Egyptian Pharaohs. If she doesn't turn herself in, I'm seriously going to be pissed at this show because it sends a terrible message to kids. "Oh I just hit some guy and killed him with my truck on a dark road because I was talking on my cell phone and telling my BFF about how handsome this new boy is that I met." (looks around to make sure no one was watching)...then hits the gas and drives off.  I'm going to watch this show for a few more episodes but if this issue is dropped, I'm going to send a terrible letter to the producers of this show. I'm tired of crap like this being shoveled down our throats.

15) The CW's successful formula of pairing Pop music with the show. I can't complain about this as I like Pop music. It's smart to do this, actually.


  1. I have this show sitting on my DVR. I haven't decided if I want to watch it because like you, I don't watch much ABC Family original programming. My gag reflex isn't that great...

    I really enjoyed this breakdown though. Thanks for sharing!

  2. The idea is interesting to say the least, but OMG yes, you nailed it. LOL! I guess we get to watch her die 8 more times. How disturbing.

  3. Wow. This sounds terrible! But I too would have loved that iPad.

  4. My brother is a dutiful parent and has channel locks on his TV so he can restrict the kids viewing. When he told me this a few weeks ago I asked him what channels he allowed and he said mostly things like Disney, Nickelodeon, and ABC Family. When he mentioned ABC Family I started laughing and since my niece was in the room I asked her if she watched any shows on that channel. Her response was something like, "Only my favorite show - Secret Life of the American Teenager". I about fell out of my chair and later let my brother know it's basically about 2 things - teenagers and sex. He was surprised that a channel that used the "Family" tag would air something like that. I let him know the whole lineup was pretty much targeted at 16-18 year old girls.

    The end result is my 8 year old niece now is calling me "Mean Uncle Kevin" as ABC Family has now been put on the restricted list and my brother is wondering how I know so much about ABC Family's lineup. (I swear I only watched Greek!)

  5. Oh, very nice rant. I agree with you on MANY MANY fronts--all this stuff annoys me (even more so in books, as I know the shallowness of Hollywood). It's funny, because I am currently watching through Buffy on Netflicks, and a lot of these complaints could be made THERE, but I adore the ways I can say 'yeah but this negates it'--I mean Sunnydale is pretty darned white, but at least Buffy's friends are awkward and nerdy (I LOVE Willow) and when they face the issue of PEOPLE killing (against the rules and the few times it has happened, dealt with as a huge tragedy--even when the people were sorely asking for it)

    I love your analysis, though.

  6. I have no problem with ABC Family but I do think that viewers need to be educated about it. If I had kids...I would tell them why shows are terrible so that the message that the show is sending is noted and perfectly clear. However, once that was out in the open...it would be their choice as to whether they wanted to watch it or not.

    My issue is that other people haven't picked up on the messages that I get. In other words...is our viewing public so desensitized to manslaughter that glossing over it with lipstick and some "oops!" moments makes this acceptable and thereby frees our kids of any responsibility regarding the death of another human being?

  7. Don't you think the kissing thing is more akin to maybe giving someone peanuts if they have an (unknown) peanut allergy, than the driving-while-phoning analogy?

    Although even then, she should probably report it, so I guess you're right.

    I like your takedown of this show; it suits my mood this week, as I've been rampaging against hack writers and poorly-done entertainment that keeps getting made. Nicely done.

  8. I've always hated the fact that Hollywood tries to put 23 year old people as high school kids. I think your list has convinced me that there is no way I'm watching this show.

  9. I will admit the idea intrigued me a little bit, but after your analysis I'm doubting its even worth checking out. Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  10. Please say they don't call it San Fran in the show. No one who lives there, or near it, calls it that. It's SF, San Francisco or The City. And no way could this show ever get permission to film a "car chase" on location. Getting streets closed to film that sort of thing would cause pandemic of traffic in a city with a migraine in traffic problems already.

    I'm totally with you though about the teeth on tv these days. There's white and then there's "I get my teeth bleached at the dentist". It's not healthy looking!

    I have no intention of watching this to be honest. I've got a stack of books I'd rather enjoy.

  11. LOL. You're a big fan, then? This reminds me of 'The Bold and the Beautiful' Everyone in that showed looked skinny and 'commercially perfect,' as well.

  12. I remember back in the 90s the Family Channel was some kind of pseudoChristian channel but then Fox bought it and then ABC and now it's pretty much just a basic cable the CW.

    I watched a couple episodes of "Birds of Prey" when it debuted. It seemed like "Charlie's Angels" meets "Dark Angel" which was meh.

    You are right though about how everyone on TV looks. As a TV producer on "The Simpsons" said when Moe auditioned, "I want TV ugly, not ugly ugly!" I really hate those teen movies where the girl is completely undateable because she has dark hair and glasses. Or like when I watched that "Easy A" movie it was like, "Why can't this chick find a date? Because she has red hair?" Sure, why not. That's how it works in Hollywood. Don't make no sense.

  13. That was funny, I mean homeless having perfect teeth. I never thought about that. In my culture we give a dollar to a homeless as a way of thanks when we arrive home safe after a long journey. I guess we are too busy wondering why they have to live that way.

    I still have to tag people. I will get around to doing that shortly.

  14. ...geez, I'm starting to think the last great family show left is


  15. Love your thoughts on the show - I haven't seen it or heard of it, but...yeah, not sure I want to now :P

  16. Hmm... can't really say what I thought. I'd need to see it for myself. Still, it sounds like a pretty air-headed story from the way you described it.


  17. I strongly dislike the ABC Family channel - "A New Kind of Family." Ugh - thanks for the breakdown, another show I won't miss not seeing.

  18. Ha! I SO wanna frame this post and put it under my pillow... for some reason. :D

    I am so happy you said all those things because now I don't have to. I think I made it until episode 11, and realized that it can only go downhill from there.. if that's even possible.

    I can't find a decent series on TV nowadays, what the hell!