Previously on Underemployed Season 1 Episode 11 "The Message", Sophia releases her book; Daphne must choose between Todd and Miles; a label wants to record Raviva's song; Lou applies to grad school.
On this week's Episode title "The Heart", Miles decides to pursue modeling abroad and invites Daphne; Lou wants to win Raviva back; Sophia craves her parents' approval.
Underemployed follows a group a five friends -- Sophia, Daphne, Lou, Raviva and Miles -- all filled with lofty goals, romantic dreams and hopefulness for complete world domination on their road to adulthood. But what happens when things don't go exactly according to plan? "Underemployed" picks up one year after their college graduation when reality has set in and the group struggles, often comically, to stay optimistic through the major life changes young twentysomethings know all too well, including dead-end jobs, terrible bosses and romantic mistakes. This group of old friends becomes a new family as they go through all the highs and lows in their newfound adult lives and prove together that if life is about living, none of them are underemployed.
The most important thing you need to understand about 'UnderEmployed' is that it is essentially a "teen" genre show. Given the seriousness of the title & age of the characters, many will likely expect the dark/cynical realism of HBO's "Girls" & "Hung". Instead, a better comparison would be shows like 'Pretty Little Liars', 'Jane By Design', or 'Vampire Diaries'.
If you have watched and enjoyed those teen shows, you will have noticed that most have rough starts. That is usually because the writers struggle with just how "obvious" to make things for a younger audience. The characters are introduced as annoying caricatures…they are either too perky, too morose, or too evil. The stories seem to be going nowhere interesting…there is no compelling arc that makes you excited for the next episode. This was a problem for all the teen shows I previously mentioned...and it is definitely a problem with the first three episodes of 'UnderEmployed'.
Thankfully (like a lot of successfully executed teen shows) 'UnderEmployed' finds itself by the fourth episode. As of this review, episodes 4/5/6/7 have aired. The characters have become comfortable in their own skin, so you begin to admire them as real human-beings. The dialogue has become more subtle & clever, which increases the emotional punch & LOL! factor of the scenes. Most importantly, you notice that each character MATTERS as an individual…despite their friendship, each is on a unique and compelling journey with no guarantee of success. All this leaves you wanting MORE after each episode.
One additional note about "characters"...'Vampire Diaries' viewers will know that the secret of the shows success is that the supporting characters are treated with as much care & respect as the main characters. They don't merely exist as "challenges" to the main characters…they have humanity of their own. I have noticed a similar thing with 'UnderEmployed'. From the fourth episode onwards, Lou & Daphne's bosses get "shades of grey"...and this makes the workplace scenes way more funny & interesting. More importantly, we are introduced to the compelling supporting characters of Jamel & Bekah. They are such unique & developed individuals, you will come to think of them as main cast members.
One note of praise about the acting & writing in recent episodes...there are a series of beautiful scenes between the new character Jamel & a regular character in the series (name withheld to avoid spoilers). The writers could have easily bombarded those scenes with snappy dialogue and raw physicality…but instead, they allowed the actors to employ silence & express awkwardness. As a result, we get scenes of great emotional poignancy & incredible tension. I hope 'UnderEmployed' continues to take creative risks like this.