The Telefile
<I>Life Unexpected</I>: And Everyone Lives Happily Ever After… Just As Expected

Oh, this show. It started out with such promise and just devolved into this terrible mess of a predictable soapy series that was finally put out of its misery last night. Because of the abbreviated season and the rushed finale, a lot of convoluted storylines that were previously being dragged out got wrapped up rather quickly for the sole purpose of giving every character a cloyingly sweet happy ending by the close. This was not the Life Unexpected I signed up for when I watched the charming and heartbreaking pilot a year and a half ago.

The first of the final two hours was mostly a regular episode, in which Baze found out that Anya from Buffy had had an affair with his father for a number of years. So that was nice and awkward. But the lion's share of the episode was devoted to Lux's inappropriate relationship with her teacher, which finally came to a head when he decided to fess up to Math, and when Sam decided to spill the beans. Instead of having him arrested or whatnot, Cate and Baze just advised him to split town and never talk to Lux again, which he readily agreed to. Much more pleasant than being labeled a pedophile, as that would surely have put a damper on his teaching career. Anyway, after dealing with these two and their whole "I love you but shouldn't be with you" banter, I was glad to see him head off, though the whole thing just seemed far too easy and neatly wrapped up. Baze didn't even get a good punch in when he found out. I'm hoping for much bigger theatrics when (and if) Aria and Ezra's relationship on Pretty Little Liars finally gets widely exposed.

The second hour was when things really got rushed, with lots of drama about Cate losing her baby and not being able to have more children and the like. And worrying about if Ryan would still love her. And then freaking out because she also had to come up with a concept for the radio show because they had fired the super annoying person. Naturally, this turned into Ryan telling Cate that he loves her no matter what and convincing the powers that be that she should do the radio show with him, even though the execs insist that married couples are dull and boring. And then we went to the doctor's office, where they told Cate that basically her womb is an unfriendly place (some may argue that her entire body is an unfriendly place). She then spotted Ryan's ex (who he had hooked up with while they were on a Ross/Rachel style break), who - wait for it -- was sporting a huge baby bump. Meanwhile, on the Baze front, he nearly called his father out in public for being a total asshole, but decided not to because his mother was there. And he also nearly had sex with Anya from Buffy again, but decided that he can't look at her anymore because she used to have sex with his dad. Understandable all around.

But the crux of the hour was everyone dealing with Lux and basically telling her that it gets better after high school, when she'll be a grown up and can sleep with twentysomethings without it being a felony. Your teacher/boyfriend left town because your parents were going to report him to the cops? It gets better. Your sexually abusive foster father might be roaming around town? It gets better. Your best and only friend is in juvie because she hit your foster father with a shovel? It gets better. High school generally sucks, but particularly when you are overcoming a learning disability? It gets better. Your mother, who abandoned you as an infant, is suddenly overprotective and annoying because she has nothing else in her life? It gets better. Your father is kind of a screw up who makes you live in a room made of shower curtains? It gets better. It was almost like a million after-school specials rolled into one convenient hour.

And then the show jumped two years into the future, where everything was miraculously better. For everyone. Even Math. We see them all at Lux's graduation, where though she nearly got kicked out of this school on numerous occasions, she apparently finished as valedictorian. Or she at least seems to be giving the big valedictory speech, unless maybe this was a school where people just chose who they wanted to talk? But who would chose the girl with only two friends? Anyway, during her utterly predictable speech about overcoming obstacles and finding love -- that mostly made me want to gag -- we see that Tasha is freed from juvie, that Ryan and Cate's old producer is with child (and it is seemingly Math's), that Ryan has reunited with his ex and they have a cute little kid who looks really nothing like either of them, that Lux made an age-appropriate dating choice for a change and that Baze and Cate are together. Yeah. I'm sure there are some folks out there who are delighted about that lingering little kiss between Lux's parents, but frankly, it just seemed too easy. Guess that's what happens when you have to tag on an ending at the last minute.

For me, the only good part of the entire two hours was when Lux got her license. The guys were cleaning up the bar (which Baze bought outright from his dad) and joked that she wasn't wearing her stupid hat in the picture so they didn't recognize her. I was glad they finally addressed her love of ridiculous hats, since it had bothered me throughout the show's lifespan. The rest, I couldn't have cared less about. I wasn't at all choked up and emotional during Lux's speech and I didn't feel heartbroken that Cate lost Ryan to a girl who wasn't a total shrew the majority of the time. I suppose they did what they could, but I'd have rather had something surprising -- after all, this is a show that has the word "unexpected" in the title. Something a little off-the-beaten track that didn't feel like it was in a made-for-TV movie would have been far more fitting. At least I never, ever, ever have to hear that awful theme song again. Now that's a happy ending.

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