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Might Be a Quarterlife Crisis

February 26, 2008
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Tonight is the premiere of Quarterlife the new, highly-anticipated, digital video shorts that launched as a wildly successful Internet show a little over 6 months ago. NBC picked up the series developed by Marshal Herskovitz and Erik Zwick, the guys behind similarly successful life-angsty My So-Called Life. The buzz over this next project of theirs is huge.

Through digital snippet scenes shot home-video style a series of characters (paid actors – this is not reality tv) settle into their ’20s in various cities and scenarios. The plot centers on magazine editor and writer Dylan Krieger sending her friends into fits when they discover that she keeps an edgy video blog about them on a website called “quarterlife.” The show is supposed to depict our stage – the “journey stage” as The New York Times so famously termed it, in all its confusing, no-savings account, sexually promiscuous glory. But “supposed to” is the operative term.

I haven’t seen Quarterlife since it blew up on the Internet a few months ago. Part of me is annoyed that someone else came up with the idea first. The other part is afraid it will drive me further toward the brink of giving up and moving to suburbia. Full disclosure – I want to like it. I want someone to have correctly captured the relatable pieces of what we talk about over brunch and IM and vodka sodas. I want to see that it is, in fact, all the same out there. Also, there’s nothing on Tuesday nights ever. Sadly though I fear it, like so many attempts before, will come close but no cigar .

I will watch tonight and encourage you to do the same, but I’ve decided that if I see one of the following things I’ll abandon it immediately and return to my regularly scheduled programming of DVRd Oprah and On-Demand Flight of the Concords:

  • A cast comprised of entirely good-looking people: This, while lovely to watch, is not realistic. The supposed quarter-life experience of a set of perfect looking people has significant differences to that of normal-looking people. I don’t want to get into those differences because it will make me look very shallow. We all know what they are.
  • Scenarios where people meet in any of the following places: a grocery store, public transportation, an elevator, their apartment building. This does not happen.
  • An entire set of storylines in which no characters are at all helped by their parents: This is not based in reality.
  • An entire set of storylines in which no characters get a job simply because they know someone: Ditto.
  • An apartment in which a dining room table with six-eight chairs and anything else can fit comfortably.
  • People cooking legitimate meals
  • The following line: “I think I’m having a quarterlife crisis.”

Feel free to add your own dealbreakers. Full review of the first episode tomorrow.


  1. I feel the same way as you, I want to like this show and I want it to be representative of our generation. My hopes aren’t high, though. Here’s my possible dealbreaker:

    Apparently, the show focuses on “artsy, creative types.” Creative people are great, but I’ve found that in real life, artsy creative “types” are often pretentious, annoying douchebags. Also, like your point about a potentially beautiful cast, there just aren’t that many of them but they seem to be disproportionately represented in the media.

    If the show is mostly populated with poor graduate students, some people living at home with their parents to get by, part-timers with no health benefits, cubicle monkeys, and the like, then maybe it will come close to being representative. Then again, it might be depressing as hell…

  2. I love the deal breaker list! (Reminds me of the first time I met you!) However, I must argue with the deal breaker regarding the scenarios where people meet. I firmly believe that the best connections are always made in the most random of ways. I won’t bore you with a complete list, but here are a few examples:
    – Aunt and Uncle – married 25 years, he was her waiter at a restaurant one night.
    – College friend Jon – married the girl who he asked out while she was bagging his groceries one day.
    – Roommate Eva – asked out by randy random on bus who was actually a nice, cute, decent guy.

    By all means, keep your own personal deal breakers about the show, but I just wanted to put in my two cents. I will definitely check this show out now to see whether it passes your deal breaker test!

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