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<i>10 Things I Hate About You</i>: A Review of an Adaptation of an Adaptation

Having seen the movie version of this show almost ten years ago, I'm not exactly sure why this TV show exists. I guess somebody at ABC Family thought that the premise of two diametrically opposed sisters, one a rebel feminist and one a popular wannabe, was good enough to milk for at least one season? I'm not sure what will happen once the concluding events of the original movie (and The Taming of the Shrew before it) come to pass, i.e. the feminist sister finally dating a boy, thereby making it okay for her little sis to date, but they seem to be providing a number of other sub-plots to fill the time. And I suppose they could always have the older sister date, then stop dating, and the wacky dad can make the younger sis stop dating until big sis is up and running again, thereby stretching out the drama. Seems far-fetched, but this is a sitcom, after all.

Although, for a sitcom, it sure feels like a movie. Larry Miller is actually reprising his role as the father here, and while he certainly brings a level of classiness to the proceedings, the show itself is shot and edited beautifully, so that it could actually have been a big-screen sequel, or at least a remake. Lindsey Shaw, who plays the rebel Kat (played on screen by the awful Julia Stiles), is awesomely stubborn and tough, and makes me wish I'd watched Aliens in America. Her younger sister Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) is a little less developed, but considering that she's the shallow one, there may not need to be a lot there -- unless, of course they're actually going to try to hook her up with the nerd who has a crush on her. Because, while Joseph Gordon Levitt was a nice catch as new kid Cameron in the movie, here Cameron is not the new kid, he's just an outcast nerd, and Bianca would have to look deep, deep inside him (and herself) to see anything worth sacrificing her social status for. No, she's probably going to end up hooking up with the wannabe male model boyfriend of head cheerleader Chastity, whether that leads to her elevation or decline. Chastity is played with drama-queen energy by Dana Davis, who reminded me of a shorter Gabrielle Union before I even found out that Union played Chastity in the movie. She's okay, but nothing we haven't seen in Mean Girls, Bring It On and Clueless a thousand times before. Oh, and Jolene Purdy is in it as a goth graffiti artist named Mandella, who acts as Kat's muscle. She's pretty awesome, too.

The Heath Ledger replacement, Ethan Peck, plays Patrick Verona as a leather-jacket-wearing motorcyclist, and so far doesn't seem to possess charm so much as smoldering good looks and a really, really surprisingly deep voice. Mandella may have heard something about him having tasted the flesh of the living, which is weird, because aside from wearing a tinted motorcycle helmet like Stephen Dorff does in Blade, there's nothing very vampiric about him. He looks like he goes to the beach. So when Kat catches him sitting nearby smoldering at her, she stands up and stares at him until he goes away. That's how awesome Kat is, and how lame Verona is. (She also awesomely pulls the fender off of Chastity's Mini Cooper with her Volvo.) And yet, when she confronts him about his repeat smoldering at a party, he tells her he finds her interesting, and she gets all speechless. OMG! Will they go out? Again, not sure how nerdy Cameron (and his nerdy David Krumholtz-replacement buddy) will factor into this, since they initially bribed Verona to pursue Kat so they could pursue Bianca, but maybe Bianca will push them together so she can date Mr. Male Model Quarterback? Or maybe they'll ignore all of that plot altogether? Might as well.

There were some plot points that stuck in my craw, such as Kat blatantly crashing into Chastity's car, and only getting off with the light punishment from her father of having to sit in a wheelchair around the house, to see how bad the accident could have been. (Except, as she points out to him, it wasn't an accident, which means she has severe road rage issues, and should see a professional, or take the bus.) Also, when Kat scores the yearbook photographer gig, apparently solely to save her sister's cheerleading tryout from being torpedoed by her foe Chastity, she blackmails Chastity with bad photos. So why does she sit back and accept it when Chastity makes Bianca the frickin' penguin mascot? I would have gone back to her and said, "Not good enough, skank!" But maybe that's just me. I am clearly not the show's target audience, although I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Not Another Teen Movie, or Can't Hardly Wait. But that doesn't mean I want to watch a movie like that every week. We'll see.

Did you see it? OMG, what did you think of it?

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