Quarterlife Episodes

2008, TV Show

Quarterlife Episode: "Quarterlife"

Season 1, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: Dylan's video blog reveals secrets among her friends, including Lisa's fears and Jed's feelings for Debra. Elsewhere, a coworker steals Dylan's idea, and Jed and Danny shoot a commercial.
Original Air Date: Feb 26, 2008

"Pilot" Season 1, Episode 1

Well, as one who's been watching the series, as I mentioned in the first post on this blog, in the webisode format, the most surprising thing to me about the longer form version of the pilot is that instead of giving scenes more space, if anything the transitions are just as abrupt and the pace is actually quicker, and I'd suggest more satisfying, than as seen in five to ten minute dollops. The plot is pretty straightforward: the series begins as a study of six post-collegiate young people who are trying to find their way in the world, in terms of business, artistic and related forms of achievement, and personal relationships. Three women, Dylan (Bitsie Tulloch, who had a recurring role in that other web drama, Lonelygirl15), Debra (Michelle Lombardo), and Lisa (Maite Schwartz), share a large apartment in Chicago; Dylan and Debra have been friends since before high school. Across the way, in the same apartment complex, Debra's boyfriend Danny (David Walton) lives in a smaller apartment with his film-school classmate and now would-be pro partner Jed (Scott Foster); their somewhat geekier tech/assistant, Andy (Kevin Christy), lives in a basement room in the same building which doubles as their editing suite. Jed is hung up on Debra, who is having a few doubts about Danny, even as he is having doubts about her, while Dylan has a serious crush on Jed (and Andy might only be joking about his lust for Dylan). So far, a younger-pitched Friends crossed with No Exit. Lisa, perhaps the most conventionally attractive of the three roommates, apparently takes on a string of casual lovers, including her abusive acting teacher; she makes her living as a bartender. Debra, having trouble completely leaving the nest, is unhappily employed in her father's office; Dylan is no more content with her position as an Editorial Associate at a fashion magazine, where her vapid immediate superior (a deft Barrett Swatek) mocks, then steals, Dylan's suggestion of an earthy-crunchy insert in the magazine to diversify its appeal. Dylan manages to utterly embarrass herself while trying to stick up for herself and claim the credit at a staff meeting of the magazine, but decides, as she describes her feelings in the video blog that is the glue for the episode and initially for the series, that if she doesn't challenge herself and stand up for herself, she'll never change (she avoids use of the word "mature," which might be advised on her part). In the course of her blogging, on the Beta version of an online community called quarterlife, she also gives rather blunt opinions of her friends' lives and interests, which doesn't endear her to any of them, at least initially; Lisa, the first to call her on it, argues with her and leaves Dylan in tears. Meanwhile, the young men get themselves an offer to shoot a car dealership commercial, which raises tensions between Jed and Danny, both over matters of esthetics vs. customer satisfaction, and also because Danny is clearly interested in dallying with Carly (Bree Turner), one of the dealership's salespeople, while Jed gets what he hopes aren't completely mixed signals from the cheated-on Debra. By episode's end, Lisa and Dylan have made up, having had a slightly drunken (on Dylan's part) discussion of why they admire each other, and Danny and Jed have realized their mutual dependence, and Lisa gives a command performance of karaoke, something she'd been too shy to do previously. The rest of the core cast listen appreciatively while exchanging meaningful glances. Producer/creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick served in the same or nearly the same function for, among other work, the hit tv series thirtysomething, the one-season cult tv series My So-Called Life, the sadly overlooked and similarly shortlived Relativity, and Once and Again, my choice for the best dramatic serial US television has yet produced. With quarterlife, this is first time in that progression that the new series isn't better than the last one, and I suspect two aspects that they seem to be working on in the webisodes contribute to that: the first is the limited amount of time the short format allows for introducing plot elements and letting them develope (everything has to be punchy in the small bites, not necessarily a bad thing, but even in the NBC version of the pilot, we're not yet actually standing on the rug before it's being pulled out from under us--we don't feel the sense of betrayal the other characters have as a result of Dylan's blogging as fully as we might with more time to establish the relationships, for example. The other is that this is also their first series since thirtysomething to not almost immediately deal at length with intergenerational relationships; My So-Called Life was almost forced to, as the the partners have noted in interviews and elsewhere, since the younger cast members could only work so many hours per week and no more, so the focus of the series was expanded to include their parents and others. This approach toward how they interacted with fully-imagined and sympathetic characters was a model that was explored even more fruitfully in the next two series. If Life was "teensomething," then Relativity was "twentysomething" and Once and Again was "fortysomething," but each was also a panoramic view of the protagonists' family lives and other interactions... quarterlife in comparison in its early webisodes, and in the television pilot, is focused solely on its early/mid-twenties characters, and no one who can't be described thus is fleshed out. (Happily, in later webisodes, this begins to change a bit.) So, while quarterlife is filled with young adults who sometimes seem to act more like young teens, it's still an interesting, and at times fascinating, experiment in "multi-platform" drama...the dialog, so far, is stronger than the dramatic incident, and the characters are at their most believable when teasing one another. And on the quarterlife site, you can even find at least one quite funny and not completely affectionate viewers' parody video. All the webisodes, of course, are there, as well...as I suspect the NBC versions will be available on NBC's site, perhaps even without the NBC bug in the corner (theirs aren't the most distracting or obnoxious, but they are among the most insistent and constant). The regular slot for quarterlife on NBC will Sundays at 9p, ET...across from such cable favorites as The Wire and The L Word, and "Philly's own" Cold Case, albeit the last is in strike-driven repeats. With Breaking Bad and the retitled Masterpiece on as well in late Sunday primetime, we're fortunate to be able to catch most or all of these at will via recording or same-day/week repeats or the web. For more on quarterlife, please see our Online Video Guide. show less
Well, as one who's been watching the series, as I mentioned in the first post on this blog, in the webisode format, the most surprising thing to me about the longer form version of the pilot is that instead of giving scenes more space, if anything the transitions are just as abrupt and the pace is actually quicker, and I'd suggest more satisfying, than as seen in five to ten minute dollops. The plot is pretty straightforward: the series begins as a study of six post-collegiate young people who are trying to find their way in the world, in terms of business, artistic and related forms of achievement, and personal relationships. Three women, Dylan (Bitsie Tulloch, who had a recurring role in that other web drama, Lonelygirl15), Debra (Michelle Lombardo), and Lisa (Maite Schwartz), share a large apartment in Chicago; Dylan and Debra have been friends since before high school. Across the way, in the same apartment complex, Debra's boyfriend Danny (David Walton) lives in a smaller ap... read more

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Premiered: February 26, 2008, on NBC
Rating: None
User Rating: (22 ratings)
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Premise: Six creative twentysomethings attempt to build careers, relationships and friendships. Originally airing on the Internet, the series is anchored by one character's video blog, which reveals secrets among her friends.

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