On this week's Chasing Life,
April meets a carrot juice vendor who claims his juice treats cancer symptoms. Brenna remains the worst.
ABC Family's Chasing Life feels like two different shows, sometimes. It feels like the April show, which I enjoy watching, and the April's family show, which I, uh, do not. April getting diagnosed with cancer put her life in jeopardy. I care if she can make this thing with Dominic work, do well at the paper, and if she'll live. I'm much more interested in her scenes with her friends, co-workers and love interests than whatever's happening with her family.
I almost wonder if Chasing Life would have been a better show if it had April independent from her family, living in a crappy apartment with 4 roommates who became her family, working on paying off student loans and building her career, got diagnosed with cancer, and then told her family. But since that dream is no reality, I will have to wait and see how ABC Family's Chasing Life plays out.
The April Show
April is getting hot and heavy with Dominic about to stay at his place for the night when that rotten thing happens to all us girls: we start bleeding intensely. I joke (and vow to never make a menstruation joke again) because April doesn't get her period. She just starts bleeding from her gums, which is a scary way reminder: she has cancer. Thus April bolts from Dominic's.
The next day, April meets with Beth at the Diesel Cafe for some boring girl chat about guys and sex and whatever. Beth, with her improbable Aussie accent, is actually a fun character. I'm too busy watching the extra with the shovel behind April for this scene to hear dialogue, but regardless I am entertained.
On her way to work, things get uncomfortable for April when she enters an elevator to find Bruce and Leo Hendry and staff. Scott Michael Foster (he plays Leo) is kind of a big deal for me, so I just want to see more scenes with him, even if it's this random one in an elevator.
At work, April volunteers to write a piece for a senior staff writer about a farmer whose carrot juice can treat cancer symptoms. The carrot vendor is splendid because he's Lost alum Sam Anderson (he played Bernard)! And I'm one of the few people who still has positive feelings about Lost!
Anyway, this carrot vendor is April's guru on all things cancer. Sure, the carrot juice may not work, but it's worked for him and its how he helps other people. A support group is very helpful for cancer patients. He also dispenses this great nugget of truth: "You never truly live until you know you are going to die." April then buys 4 containers. If this show was a little bit cynical, Carrot Dude would just be a great salesman. But it isn't and I appreciate that Carrot Dude, just like Chasing Life, is fully sincere.
April, at work again typing up the piece, learns in a very clunky way (seriously, writers: what was that?) that Dominic sleeps around a bunch. April cross-references his social media profile -- which says a lot about April and a lot about twentysomethings -- to conclude he does date. A lot. It also says a lot about her when she gets really competitive with this new piece of information. She comes over, pushes for sex, but Dominic isn't into it. And he definitely isn't into being judged for his past either.
April is frustrated with her life and attack's Beth's life plans as she still works at the Diesel Cafe. So Beth drops a bomb and quits because Beth is baller and doesn't do regrets.
April returns to meet her cancer guru only to find the poor man died. RIP Carrot Dude/Bernard from Lost. This time, April shows up at Dominic's place only this time sad instead of aggressive. So he sleeps with her and the two are happy. Because... April is truly living her life now that she knows she is going to possibly die. The Carrot Dude's words live on!
So this should be the end of the episode, right? Wrong! April fulfills another one of Cancer Dude's suggestions by going to a cancer support group where she runs into... Leo Hendry?
Did not see that coming.
The Carver Show
Brenna catches mom Sarah messing around with Ben (her date in the pilot
) on the couch. Traumatizing. Sarah wants the family to meet Ben and loves how stable he is, despite a recent divorce. We then see Sarah at work as a therapist, talk to a woman who is sure to be Ben's separated soon-to-be ex-wife. This is a storyline from something and it didn't work there either.
See, Sarah, devoid of anything important to do since she still doesn't know her daughter has cancer, deals with knowing too much and being bound by patient-confidentiality. Information about the guy she's dating. So she sort of drives him away, sort of doesn't.
Brenna's job at the tattoo parlor gets her closer with hipster hottie Kieran. I like the laid-back energy he brings; he seems like a real person instead of a charismatic actor, you know? Brenna invites Kieran to dinner where she makes things uncomfortable for everyone by trying to rebel. An intervention is necessary for Brenna and I'd like to start the conversation. Brenna: stop being a brat and stop trying to rebel without a cause. You are not James Dean or Natalie Wood or that other guy. Just don't. Kieran sees through Brenna and leaves dramatically. Grandma tells Brenna to let her mom be happy. Brenna begs for another chance with Kieran. The two make out. And it's another end to The Carver Show.
Except this is getting old. Fast. Three episodes in a row now has Brenna being a little brat just because. This is the centerpiece of The Carver Show drama, yet it isn't really working. The family is off in their own world, oblivious to April's stakes and to any of the main character's drama. While the family doesn't know, they've been stuck with some really bad plot. Sarah's new patient is her beau's ex? Really? The family needs to learn super soon that April has cancer so that they can be integrated into the show more. Besides, I can't put up with Brenna the Brat much longer.
-"How do you forgive cancer?" Oh, this phrase really stuck with me. The show is getting to a place where its figuring out how to talk about April's suppressed and complex feelings.
-Although Brenna is pretty much the worst right now, I look forward to her learning her sister is sick. I wonder if she'll spiral downwards or step up and be a decent person.
-Pretty bummed Leo has cancer/knows someone who has cancer as well for my inextinguishable love for Scott Michael Foster on Greek.
That's it for this episode recap of Chasing Life, "Blood Cancer Sex Carrots." What did you think? Do you see the schism in the show? Are you as impatient as I am and want the truth to come out? Are you into Dominic and April? Sound off below.
Chasing Life airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC Family.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)