Thursday, October 4, 2012

Interview with TV writer Liz Tigelaar, creator of "Life Unexpected" - Part 10: Controversial LUX storylines

Part 1 - Breaking in as an assistant
Part 2 - First Staff Writer Job on "American Dreams"
Part 3 - How Do I Get an Agent?
Part 4 - Selling a Pilot
Part 5 - Personal Themes in Writing
Part 6 - Genesis of "Life Unexpected"
Part 7 - First-Time Showrunner
Part 8 - Developing the second year of LUX
Part 9 - Dealing with network notes

Regular readers of this blog will know that I've watched many a teen drama in my day.  They'll probably also remember that there are certain tropes of those shows that drive me nuts.  And one that really, really gets under my skin when it turns up is when one of the teen characters has an illicit affair with one of their teachers.  Considering how repugnant such an act is in the real world, it always disturbs me when television aimed at teen viewers romanticizes such an act.

I didn't mince words when I discussed my feelings about Life Unexpected's foray into that territory.  But it's important to remember that that post was written mid-season.  Liz Tigelaar hadn't shown all of her cards yet.  We somewhat explain this in the interview, but I want to make sure that everyone's clear on the context.  After several episodes of exploring Lux's attraction to her teacher, the storyline veers into exploring the abuse Lux suffered in one of her foster homes.

Without getting too deep into the plot complications, I'll just explain that at one point, Lux is being pressured to take the stand against her former foster father.  If she doesn't, her friend could end up facing assault charges.  Lux resists for a while, but when she does eventually testify, she drops a bombshell on the courtroom.  Her foster father (whom her friend is accused of assualting) sexually abused Lux when she was in his care.  The result is one of Britt Robertson's best-acted scenes in the series.

There's also a wonderfully nuanced reaction from the actor playing the teacher, as he silently realizes that Lux's attraction to him is very likely the result of what was done to her.  He realizes how wrong this affair is before she does. To my recollection, I've never seen the student/teacher affair plot handled that way, with the romantic fantasy suddenly ripped away to expose the sordid, horrifying reasons why this kind of thing happens in real life.

In this segment, Liz talks about arriving at that plot.

Part 11 - LUX lives on
Part 12 - Network overall deal, working on Once Upon a Time and Revenge
Part 13 - The Bitter Questions

No comments:

Post a Comment