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Grab your surfboard. A high tide has hit the North Shore, bringing brand new facial expressions and cleavage bearing dresses to Brooke Burns. Our latest guilty pleasure emerged from the awkward confines of its pilot episode and adopted a more banter-centric format to decent effect. Borrowing heavily from The OC in terms of tone, dialogue, music, and Amanda Righetti, the North Shore firmed up its badinage a little as it took baby steps away from the melodrama graveyard. The show assaulted us with about half a dozen storylines ranging from the intriguing (welcome to the North Shore, Tessa) to the inconsequential (Gabriel, stop hanging out with the Jew-fro kid). At the end of the day, I’m thinking this show might be a keeper, and here are four reasons why:
It looks like Frankie might like MJ, but MJ sort of likes Jason, but since he loves Nicole (who loves her fiance), MJ has set her eyes on Chris, or at least she did until Detroit Tessa showed up and told her not to. But it turns out that Tessa might like Jason too, which could piss off Nicole and MJ. Oh, and a psycho guy loves Tessa, but she keeps him at bay by shoving broken bottles in his face. So that leaves us with some sort of love buckyball. The only people left out of this mess are Vincent and Gabriel. Eh, whatever. As long as everyone keeps walking in on each other and there’s a lot of “Wait, it’s not what it looks like”, I’ll be happy.
As improbable as it may seem, turns out that MJ, Frankie, and Jason all live together. Normally, I’d think this inverted Three’s Company scenario would result in romantic chaos, especially if Tessa or Chris visit, but I’m willing to bet this is a mellow, High Times household. Don’t think these guys are the ganja type? Well maybe you should pay more attention to Frankie who laughs at any stupid joke, wears dreads, and spends all his free time eating ice cream. Plus the fact that prior to last week he never knew about Nicole despite her artifacts cluttering up the entire house suggests this stoner’s been toking up way too much.
Last week, Brooke Burns introduced America to her uniquely wooden acting style, which featured a droopy lip as the cornerstone of her emotional display. Tonight’s episode featured more range from Brooke with grins and smiles popping up with occasional ease, and I’m sure she’ll loosen up in future installments. But I sort of like our Pinnochio girl and her vacant stares. She adds the element of awkwardness that trailblazer Mischa Barton proved was essential to any nighttime soap’s success.
It hasn’t happened yet, but someone is going to drown at the resort one of these days, and I can’t wait. Gabriel has proven to be one of the more inattentive lifeguards since B.J. Cummings graced the sands of Son Of The Beach. When he’s not embroiled with the dramas of various 15 year olds, he’s chilling at the bar with Frankie. Yeah, I know we see him from time to time in the lifeguard chair (usually he lurks there in the background of MJ’s closeups), but I still have yet to believe he has any life-saving abilities. I gleefully look forward to the day when he has to save some girl from a riptide, or better yet, a shark. Maybe it will be Nicole, and maybe she’ll fall in love with her savior, bringing Gabriel into the love polygon at long last.
Also deserving to be brought into the love tetrahedron is next week’s guest star and TVgasm favorite Jenny Alden. Playing a crazy rich girl guest (are there any other types?), Jenny will hopefully follow in Amanda Righetti’s footsteps and inject this budding soap with a nice dose of energy. Until then, we can only hope the writers pare down the subplots, increase the silly banter, and throw dramatic curveballs at Brooke Burns.