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‘Underemployed’ proves underwhelming

Dylan Dobson, 4Play Editor
November 14, 2012
Filed under 4Play

Following the failure of predecessors “Skins” and “The Hard Times of RJ Berger,” MTV presents “Underemployed.” It is MTV’s hope that its attention deficit viewers will overlook its similarities to the two aforementioned series, and find humor in the way the show addresses the overstated and obvious problems young Americans face today.

The show follows a group of recent college graduates as they attempt to navigate adulthood and survive the real world, which MTV previously explored in its aptly named series “The Real World.”

The pilot episode opens with the characters’ drunken musings in a “Breakfast Club”-styled intro that forces exposition and character development into the ears of its viewers like a funnel transferring poison into the ear of a sleeping King Hamlet.

The main characters in “Underemployed” are little more than flat archetypes of modern youth. There’s Lou and Reviva, the interracial couple expecting a baby while attempting to pay student loans. There’s Daphne, the career obsessed would-be advertising agent. There’s Miles, the girl with big dreams of becoming a model.

The only character that really stands out is Michelle Ang’s Sophia, who is a cross between Sarah Jessica Parker’s character from “Sex in the City,” and the women of “Two Broke Girls.”

Sophia struggles throughout the series to cope with the late budding of her sexuality as well as the surmounting bills that college has left her. While her constant narration of events along with her need for acceptance from her friends would suggest a career path in writing, she finds herself stuck as wage-slave to a chain donut store. She also maintains the only interesting and well-developed relationship in the series, including the one between main characters Lou and Reviva.

While Ang does a good job trying to impersonate the trifecta of sexy, intelligent and charming exuded by actress Lucy Liu, the show’s scripts do her few favors. In one episode Sophia is found questioning her sexuality, blurting aloud, “Will I ever know a penis?” This example, is but a drop in the bucket of face-palm-inducing dialogue that “Underemployed” uses to describe the conflicts of its characters.

Some may argue that the goal of “Underemployed” isn’t to produce thought provoking — or even subjectively good — television, but instead to revel in its terrible quality a la “The Room.”

However, there’s one distinct difference between the two. While “The Room” is fun and at times funny, in how horrible it is, “Underemployed” is not. The series is a comedy and as such is trying to get audiences to laugh — a goal at which it fails miserably.

MTV would probably do best to drop out of the ring of scripted serialized programming, and instead stick to it’s trashy scripted reality shows.

“Underemployed” offers little to no substance in each of its excruciating hour-long episodes, and covers no new ground for television or the network. I, along with most of its viewer base, would probably prefer to watch endless reruns of “Date My Mom” and “Room Raiders” rather than suffer through trash such as this.