On this week's episode of Twisted,
Danny DeAngst strikes once again as his father's body is recovered in a place he didn't kill him. Oh, and he inherits $10 million and complains. #murdererproblems.
The worst thing for a teen soap is to become boring. Soap operas thrive on the added drama of contrived circumstances, mysterious outsiders, campy characters and plenty of plot twists and red herrings. It's why Twisted's contemporary Pretty Little Liars, the reining teen soap of the last few years, has lasted this long: it has fully embraced the campy, soapy goodness. Say what you will about PLL, but its crazy never became incredibly boring.
But Twisted's DNA is not all teen soap crazy shenanigans. In fact, if we want to realize its DNA, we need to point at other ABC Family shows. It feels much more like Switched at Birth, Greek and Pretty Little Liars. But boring.
Each of these shows have their strengths in character, dialogue and plot (in my opinion), but they manage to make it interesting. Twisted is almost there on all of these fronts, but I find myself bored when I watch. I am not engaged, just amused.
In its DNA, Twisted has a strong trio of characters, occasionally some very sharp dialogue and at one point an interesting plot. It's not there yet, though. The characters they focus on are burdened by secrets, so much so that their character development is slow (with the exception of Jo, perhaps). The dialogue can be clever and sly, but painfully realistic and authentic for the teenagers. And the plotting in the first half of the season was never ambitious but walked the line of intriguing and better. At best, the show is stumbling right now.
A lot of this boredom is due to repetition in Danny's angst right now.
Running in Circles
"A normal life was never an option, not for me," Danny says in one way or another every episode (that's verbatim in this episode, though). Every episode is about Danny DeAngst. Even when he's making out with Lacey competing for best hair, there is angst! It feels like the show is running in circles about Danny's guilt about accidentally killing his father (if that is what truly happened). It's not going anywhere. (Thank god for Lacey finally calling him on the angst. But it looks like it will continue into next week.)
Example A: when Danny and Jo learn that Vikram's body was found, the joke's on them, of course, because the body is not there. Someone has moved the body and faked Vikram's death in a car accident. Their main concerns are about the conspiracy. Who moved the body? Do they want to help Danny? Or do the body movers have an ulterior motive such as blackmail?
Example B: Vikram's life insurance policy changed to make Danny the sole beneficiary in a trust where Karen is the guardian. Instead of bouncing off the walls at having won $10 million, Danny sulks. Sure, the kids in school treat him differently and the townspeople hit him up for money, but was it really necessary to buy a $10,000 painting worth much less than that?
Example C: at the charity event, Danny shares his suspicions that Karen was behind the conspiracy to cover up Vikram's real death. And then he later confronts her! That's a good cliffhanger wasted by Danny's bad mood.
Sure, this is something to be stuck on -- Danny killed his dad. But it's not exactly riveting to watch a broody teenager bemoan about killing his awful father in self-defense. I'm totally over this angst. If Danny was a stronger character, maybe I wouldn't be so hung up on his DeAngst.
What is interesting is putting Danny and Karen at odds together over this, because they work better as antagonists than anything else. I like watching them against each other, even if TV rules have told me that I should want them to mend their differences.
Karen is pleased to learn of her husband's demise and we can practically see the dollar signs in her eyes over Vikram's life insurance policy. Even when it isn't in her name, Danny approves her to spend it on whatever. But Danny is uncomfortable with this and calls her on being too happy. Karen's responsible for covering up Danny's mess and what this means for the future is an exciting development.
A Mandated Event That Brings All The Cast Together
This week, the event is one that Rico's new lady friend, Andy, has strong-armed Danny into buying seats for all of the cast, basically. I've never heard of the Children's Burn Foundation, but okay. Random charity yields an event to gather the whole cast. Even Charlie is invited!
Here, we see Rico and his new girlfriend hitting it off very well. Andy is like Jo, but supersized and magnified, a future valedictorian and good person but also one interested in Rico. They have some cute "I like you" scenes, but it's still a bit of a snooze fest. I'm happy Rico is happy.
Elsewhere, Charlie continues stalking Jo. I say stalk because Charlie has no other purpose right now other than keeping secrets and hitting on Danny's girlfriends. He makes me uncomfortable.
Tess confesses to Karen and Jo about knowing Vikram is alive. I'm not sure how Tess thought this would be a good idea, but she is Tess. If they decided to kill Tess off the show, or having her run out on her family, I would be pretty okay with that.
Later, Tess admits to her husband that before Jo, she had another baby after Kyle broke up with her. A one-night stand and nine months later, Tess puts the baby up for adoption, a baby girl she's never seen. If that child ends up being Regina Crane, I will throw my remote through the TV.
-- Lacey warns Danny of the dangers of being a rich kid in high school. Everyone will want to become BFFs with Danny Desai. I suppose that's true. But the reason the whole school knows? Facebook. Another unauthentic moment for this show. Young people use Facebook less and less
-- I can't think of someone worse to be an auctioneer than Tess. She has absolutely no energy. Maybe the actress has a cold or Tess has no soul.
-- Danny displays his wealth by buying a painting that's way overpriced. Rich people problems, amirite?
So what did you think of this week's Twisted? Are you getting bored by the show? Do you wish it could amp up the storytelling a little more? Did it almost do this with Danny confronting his mother? Sound off below.
Twisted airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC Family.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family)