I have to share my latest obsession: MTV's new series, Taking the Stage, which follows several students of the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati . Up until now I have been turned off by the "scripted reality" genre, a la The Hills. It's all so manufactured and insulting. And this is no less manufactured. But the difference to me is that these kids have real talent, things happen in their lives as opposed to an hour of TV dedicated the glorifying of stupidity and undeservedly glamorous fake careers.There's drama, make no mistake. These are teenagers to begin with, but very talented teenagers in a performing arts school? Let's just say that "humble" isn't an adjective I'd apply to most of the kids. All those egos make for an continually explosive environment. Still, when I saw the promo for this I knew I couldn't resist. A real-life(ish) show just brimming with the potential for a lunchroom dance-off --which, by the way was totally delivered on in the first episode --is something I need to be a part of. Bless DVR, because I can skip directly to these good parts if I so choose.
It's only one episode in, but so far my favorite character is Shaakira. She doesn't get much camera time, but I'm hoping her story line fills out as the season progresses. I forsee many a cringe-worthy moment, but I intend to keep watching.
I know, do I even read books anymore? I assure you that I do. Right now I'm juggling Watchmen and a succession of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels-- I never would have picked these up normally, not my style of reading (I've never been big on the vampire genre or even serial mysteries) but I loved the HBO series on which they were based and, like a good nerd, I can't let it go without reading the book. So far I'm finding them quite wonderful, like a sexy, funny Twilight for grown-ups with a real heroine. I also barreled through an ARC of Elizabeth Scott's moody and engaging Love You Hate You Miss You. It's a tad heavier than Bloom or Perfect You, but nowhere near as devastating as Living Dead Girl. I'd definitely recommend this one. I love the way she nails the complexities of family life. Great cover, too, though I can't decide if the model is supposed to represent Amy or Julia.
Anyway, it's the first day of Spring. It's a particularly welcome development here in New England, but no matter where you live, it's still something to celebrate.
Written material copyright 2009 Dawn A. Emerman