Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Brothers

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

It was on the WB. It ran a whopping one season. It was modern-day but referenced 40 years in the future. There were parallel storylines. It was kinda a teen drama as much as it was a political drama. It's biggest fault: the major plot surprise is revealed at the end of the PILOT episode.

I'm talking about Jack & Bobby, a 60-minute show about two teenagers, high school, maturity, and life. Jack was 16 at the start of the show, and Bobby is 13-14. The actions of the boys was pretty interesting, weed shows up in the pilot (and with it, brotherhood), vandalism (and guilt) in the third, religion and faith (and ignorance) in the fourth, cheating (and more guilt) in the sixth. Even suicide shows up before the second half of the season (but don't worry, pregnancy and abortion wait until Episode 19). They grow up with their mother, a stoner college professor, in Missouri. Their father was from South America, and left before Bobby was born (but ended up in a Texas jail for murder). In the futuristic flash-forwards, we learn of an African-American President, a female President, and a second Hollywood actor becoming President.

The hook of the hype was that "one of the boys would grow up to be President," and that seemed cool enough... I thought I could get into a show where I was always judging the boys' actions, guessing which would make a better leader, etc. Except that in the VERY FIRST episode, it is revealed that Jack dies "too soon." Later in the season we find out that he died in a freaking convenience store robbery, BORING. Bobby (who goes by "Robert" in his adult life) becomes a politician because his brother was headed down that path. He makes one of his brother's friends a member of his cabinet, and marries one of his brother's exes.

The first episode I saw (in the original run, mind you) was Episode 14: "Into the Woods." I had been trying to catch it all along, but the airtimes just weren't working out for me. In that episode, Bobby blackmails his mother into letting him go on an overnight hunting trip, and Jack walks in on his mother having sex in the middle of the day (with her TA, but that's an entire sidestory of its own). The hunting trip was quite interesting, actually. This episode, along with all of the others, is available online on the WB website.

It ran against Desperate Housewives, and then The West Wing. It started with a meager audience of 4.6 million. Marketing advertisers weren't fans. It just wasn't meant to be, I guess.

Was anyone else a fan? Anyone glad to see it go?

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