Someone recommended this show to my girlfriend. We both hate it, but she is committed to watching all of it, to give an honest critique back to her friend. And thus, so am I.
8 episodes in, and here is my take.
If you're 16, and are just beginning to watch and enjoy high school melodramas / teen movies and such, this is for you!
For everyone else, save yourself the time and embarrassment of even knowing that this show exists and go watch 'American Beauty' again, or 'Freaks and Geeks', or 'Six Feet Under', or 'My So Called Life'.
This show is trying so hard to be '13 Reasons Why', and failing miserably on all counts. Yes, I know, '13 Reasons Why' came afterwards, but the similarities are uncanny. ...Formulaic moody voice-over protagonist examining laughably cliché and shallow life-lessons at the start of each episode with an ongoing 'dark' mystery that I have literally no interest in discovering 'who the killer is'... ...This is, quite literally, the g-rated version of '13 Reason Why'. The baby brother that should have been aborted long ago.
I'm hate watching this show just to laugh at how bad the writing is, and how over-the-top the actors are in reading the lines. I genuinely feel sorry for all of the cast involved, since they are all stunningly gorgeous, late 20-somethings, for what is supposed to be a high school drama.
A lot of investment has gone into the production values, episode direction and 'Glee'-like songs, but that doesn't make up for the horribly predictable 1 bit characters.
I guess, since this is based on a terribly banal comic strip, that I'm supposed to look the other way, and expect it to just be a skin- deep romp. Like watching the movie-version of 'Battleship', knowing, and accepting, that there isn't any real substance underlying the content of what the show is originally based off of.
It's a shame really. I feel like this could have been something, had there been just ever so slightly a bit more comedy and charm worked into the characters. The only saving grace is Betty's gay best friend, who provides a strikingly blunt and hilarious perspective at times, and is seemingly always down to rave. He is a teen version of 'Elijah' from 'Girls'.
Contrast him, with the main character Archie. ... Archie is the most hatable character, despite always having the smoothest things to say to work him out of the most terribly awkward situations. He never lies to anyone, but it's laughable how everyone fawns over his presence and excuses his poor decisions.
For instance, one minor plot spoiler here... I find it really hard to watch and empathize with a high school football captain jock, who friend zones his smoking hot best friend while in the process of having a scandalous affair with his music teacher. Oh, and when his love triangle explodes, everyone gives him a pass with even his father basically patting him on the back and saying 'it's not your fault'. Really? It's not? Are you sure? Something feels terribly off about the entire ordeal.
A. He's dating a teacher. While this has been done before in other shows, 'Boston Public' comes to mind... ...Here it feel very... very... wrong and superficial. In one episode he acknowledges that he's just having fun with her and celebrating the present with little regard to what repercussions their relationship may have on his family/friends/her career. In the next, he's demanding commitment, and then parting ways with her while gifting her a cello string.
I guess, we're supposed to roll our eyes and accept it. But there's something very cringe-worthy in doing that, as it is with so many other aspects of this show (such as, watching cheerleaders twerk to a hiphop remixed song of 'sugar sugar').
There's a very no-good, terrible vibe, underlying this entire show, Laughing off very real subjects with terrible dialogue, predictable plot twists, and glitzy dance numbers.
...And now I've written too much about a show that isn't worth my spit. If you are absolutely desperate to watch a CW high school melodrama, ditch this and go watch Reaper.