Caroline the Future Librarian

Caroline Davis | LIBR 265-10 | SJSU | Wrenn-Estes

10 Things I Hate About You

Title: 10 Things I Hate About You (TV show)
Channel: ABC Family
Date: July 2009

Plot Summary: Based on the popular 1999 film of the same title, which in turn is inspired by Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, this TV series follows the exploits of sisters Kat and Bianca as they navigate their separate ways through Padua High School.  Bianca, wanting to take advantage of being the new girl in town, does her best to make a great first impression on the most popular girl in school, Chastity Church, the head cheerleader.  Kat, on the other hand, would rather stand out than blend in, and isn’t afraid of alienating others with her strong opinions.  She makes friends with vandal/artist Mandella, and inadvertently catches the eye of Patrick Verona, the resident bad boy.  An awkward schoolmate named Cameron instantly develops a crush on Bianca, but sees his chances of getting to date her slipping away as she inches her way up the popularity ladder.  In any case, Bianca is not allowed to date until Kat does – can they find a way around this rule?

Critical Evaluation: As a fan of the film myself, I didn’t have high expectations for this series when I started watching it shortly after it premiered.  I was surprised to see how they were taking the show in a different direction from the film – rather than trying to stay too faithful to the original, which would have fallen flat, the comedy gave new life to the story and reimagined the characters and setting.

I think the strength of the show is in the casting, particularly the characters of Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona.  Patrick is played by Ethan Peck, grandson of the actor Gregory Peck, who holds his own in the character originally portrayed by Heath Ledger.  The star of the series, in my opinion, is Lindsey Shaw as Kat, the “shrew” character, who Shaw portrays with warmth and humor.  There aren’t enough portrayals of teen feminists, at least not in a positive light, so Kat’s character alone makes the show worth watching.  Sadly, it was recently announced that the show has been canceled.

Annotation: Based on the film of the same title, 10 Things I Hate About You is about sisters Kat and Bianca, making their way at a new high school.  Kat prizes her intellect and individuality, while Bianca will do anything to achieve popularity.

About the Creator: Carter Covington was born in 1973 and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1995, where he earned his degree in foreign affairs and Spanish, Covington taught English in Mexico and worked in advertising.  He went on to study entertainment business at UCLA’s business school, graduating in 2001.

Working on ABC Family projects, Covington occasionally collaborated with Gil Junger, director of the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, of which Covington is a huge fan.  He had discussions with Junger about reimagining the movie as a television series, which lead to the creation of the show.  Covington currently lives in Los Angeles.

Genre: Comedy, Relationships

Curriculum Ties: Possibly could be connected to the Shakespeare play, but that’s a stretch.

Discussion Ideas:
1) Is Bianca right for wanting to be liked or is Kat right for wanting to stay true to herself?  Can they both be right?
2) How does the TV show compare to the film?  Or to The Taming of the Shrew?

Interest Age: 12 and older.

Challenge Issues: alcohol references, sexual content

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the TV show and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the TV show from teens who watch it.

Selection: This was a series I actually started watching when it premiered, and I never watch teen programming.  Although it’s not perfect, I really enjoyed it and think it would fit well in a library collection.

Extras:

Official show website.

10 Things I Hate About You on IMDB.com

May 15, 2010 Posted by | TV Shows | , | Leave a comment

Glee

Title: Glee
Channel: Fox
Date: May 2009

Plot Summary: Will Shuester is a Spanish teacher at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, his former high school, where he was a popular member of the Glee Club and dated the head cheerleader, who is now his wife.  When the opportunity arises to head the Glee Club, which has faded into obscurity, Will leaps at the chance to try and restore it to the glory days.  The school principal, and even Will’s wife, don’t understand why he would ask for such an undertaking, and even “Mr. Shu” is discouraged by the lack of student interest in the club.  But with a determined group of talented misfits, and the support of guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, the Glee Club – now called “New Directions” – begins to see greater attendance and even attracts the popular kids to join.  Now they’re on track to compete at Nationals – as long as they can survive the sabotage attempts of head cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester.

Critical Evaluation: There’s so much to love about Glee.  Likeable characters, great music, complicated teen relationships – it’s like High School Musical meets Freaks and Geeks.  The show is not afraid to tackle difficult issues like teen pregnancy and coming out as gay to friends and family.  The musical comedy show has some genuinely funny moments – especially the zinging one-liners from Jane Lynch’s character, Sue Sylvester.  That said, it seems to me that there is something a little off that keeps the show from really shining.  For me, it requires a huge suspension of disbelief to accept that the Glee kids can launch right into a brand new song and have their parts and choreography memorized right off the bat.  Not that I need to see hours of rehearsal, but their overly polished performances (on the first run through) are distracting.  There are some incredible singers in the group, so it’s unfortunate that they use obvious Autotune in the songs.  These might be minor quibbles, but they really detract from the show in my opinion.  It really is an amazingly popular show (the cast will be heading on tour soon), and they recently launched a nationwide audition process using MySpace to cast an unknown in a future episode.  Calling all Gleeks!

Annotation: High school Spanish teacher Will Shuester leaps at the opportunity to direct the Glee Club, hoping to restore it to the glory days from when he was a member.  Can they make it to Nationals?

About the Creator: Ian Brennan came up with the idea for Glee, which he originally envisioned (and wrote a script for) as a film.  In high school, Brennan was a member of the show choir at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  The musical director, John Marquette, was his inspiration for the character Will Shuester.  Brennan, who aspired to be an actor, studied theater at Loyola University in Chicago, graduating in 2000 and starting an acting career in Chicago and New York.

In 2005, a choir director at Prospect High was accused of inappropriate behavior with a student (mimicked in the pilot episode of Glee), which inspired Brennan to write the original script as a film.  There was little interest in the project for years, until the writers and producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk read the script and suggested that it be rewritten as a television series – which was picked up by Fox within 15 hours of being received.  Brennan, Murphy and Falchuk are credited as the show’s creators and write all of the show’s episodes.

Genre: Musical, Comedy

Curriculum Ties: Music, Theater

Discussion Ideas:
1) What is Will’s motivation for reviving the Glee Club?  Is he trying to relive his adolescence?
2) Contrast Will’s relationship with his wife, Terri, and the guidance counselor, Emma.
3) The characters Rachel and Quinn are often compared.  In what ways are they alike and different?

Interest Age: 12 and older

Challenge Issues: sexual content, drug and alcohol use

Challenge Defense Ideas:

• Become familiar with the TV show and its content.

• Refer to the collection development policy of the library, if none, see here to develop one right away.

• Refer to reviews available for viewing on Amazon.com.

• Try to get reviews of the TV show from teens who watch it.

Selection: I chose to review Glee because it is a popular current show about high school students.  Also, I have a weakness for musical theater.

Extras:

Official Website

Glee on IMDB.com

Glee on Hulu

May 9, 2010 Posted by | TV Shows | , | 1 Comment