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Watching "Quarterlife"

By Christopher Schonberger

So, does anyone actually watch this Web series “Quarterlife”? Apparently somebody must because it got picked up by NBC, but I wonder if it’s actually “quarterlifers” like us tuning in, or teeny-boppers trying to be more “grown up.” I have tried watching some of the webisodes on the super-hip MySpace page, but beyond recognizing the general “setup” as vaguely similar to my own (e.g., living with roommates, struggling to get noticed professionally), I can’t say I relate at all to the characters. I am especially put off by Dylan Krieger, whose video blog serves as the shows epicenter and the lens through which the other characters are explored. Just a few reasons: She unironically says things like, “We blog to exist.” Her MySpace profile features provocative statements such as, “I hate ‘thanks for the add’ myspace wall posts. Say something more interesting!” And she’s sad in an annoying, self-pitying, “I’m a victim of my own emotional intelligence” sort of way.

For those who haven’t even heard of “Quarterlife” before (seems shocking considering it’s “what everyone’s talking about”), here’s a little background: It was created by Ed Zwick (Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) and Marshall Herskovitz, who were the masterminds behind My So-Called Life. They are ages 55 and 56, respectively. According to the Wikipedia page, “The show is about six twenty-something artists, coming of age in the digital generation.” As noted before, their lives are documented through Dylan’s vlog. In one episode, Dylan complains that she does not get to write enough at Attitude, the magazine where she is an assistant editor. This “woe is me” soliloquy is followed by her pitching a new section in the magazine that deals with issues relating to young women, features no ad space, and is printed on recycled paper. What a dreamer!

Herskovitz has written an impressively self-involved and bombastic essay on the conception and development of the show, in which he suggests that “Quarterlife” is a radical step in Web entertainment. In these “revolutionary” times, however, the move from the Web to network TV seems like a step backwards, though I must say it’s quite a fortuitous coincidence that even though the webisodes are 8 minutes long, they were conceived of within six one-hour long story arcs.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone has been watching “Quarterlife.” Is it really this annoying, or am I just being a huge hater? NBC will premiere the show on Tuesday, February 26, and then it will air on Sundays thereafter. Stay tuned, I’m definitely gonna live-blog it!

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