Underemployed is a new MTV drama about a group of 20-somethings who are a year past graduating college and finding out that the world isn’t as open to them as they expected. This is really representative of the generation who are taught from a young age that they could be whatever they wanted to be.
Instead of following their dreams, one of them is working at a donuts store, one is a stripper-for-hire, one is an unpaid intern, one is a volunteer environmentalist, and one is pregnant. Not really the best and brightest. Still, by the end of the episode the unpaid intern now has a decently paid position at a marketing company, and the environmentalist has sold his sold for a $35k job with his father. But money is money, and it leaves almost half of the cast being quite well employed.
At times the writing can be a bit awkward, in particular with Sofia’s voiceovers. Sofia, the writer, is the main character of the show but she’s a bit too awkward and shy to pull it off very well. Sofia plays a character more accustomed to being to the side, with a few lines here and there used for humour. She does alright when she’s not within the group, but once the other main characters become part of the scene she fades into the background and her awkward nature is emphasized.
Each character has some story arc established in the pilot, Sofia finds that her sexuality is not so straight, intern Daphne has an admirer in her boss, Raviva and Lou have a child, and Miles the wannabe model… Well, he wants to be a model. These could turn into interesting story lines, but they’re approached in such a casual way that the gravity of the situations aren’t at all felt by the audience either. An unemployed 20-something having a kid? Aww, that’s cool because look at how well everyone else is taking it! No biggie!
To be fair, I do prefer this over the other extreme of having them all super dark and emotional and whatnot. No one enjoys watching a group of 20-somethings mope around about how tough they have it.
The show relies on the friendship between all of them, but their chemistry as a group isn’t the best. The actors haven’t settled into having that natural relationship that makes it seem like they’ve known each other for years.
Underemployed is watchable, certainly, but it doesn’t have the charm that shows such as Girls or Sex and the City had. If you’re into shows like this then you can certainly check it out, but it won’t have the same compelling story and characters that you’re used to.