Did anyone else catch the “sneak peek” pilot of Twisted when it aired a few weeks ago? I did. I am excited for this series.
Personally, I do not usually think of ABC Family as a channel that I am likely inclined to watch. When they air marathons of the Harry Potter films, I watch—because owning the films and having watched them to death does not mean that I can’t watch them again. In fact, I must watch them again. “After all this time?” “Always.”
But, anyway, to me, ABC Family was the network that becomes a No Man’s Land of Endless Christmas Specials And Mandatory Cheer for a few months out of the year. But that’s not really accurate anymore. (I mean, yeah, it’s hell on Earth during the winter, but just avoid it, then).
A couple of years ago, The Nine Lives Of Chloe King aired (a teen supernatural drama). I watched and enjoyed the pilot but did not keep up with the series (but I keep meaning to watch it). Anyway, it was a good pilot, and I was definitely surprised that some of the show’s female protagonist’s actions were “edgier” than I expected from ABCF. Honestly, to me, it was still the channel that had aired Seventh Heaven, so just about everything surprised me.
My point is, however, that the Twisted pilot was absolutely delightful. And they will, of course, re-air it when the show actually premieres. Without spoiling the details of the pilot (or sharing my speculations about the series), let me tell you why I think that you should watch this. (And if you don’t mind spoiled details of the pilot or if you are looking for a write-up of the pilot after you have seen it, read this review)
The plot is that a preteen boy killed his aunt (or, at least, that’s what everyone, including the viewers, are lead to believe, but we didn’t see it) and never told anyone why. The first two people to find out were his two childhood best friends (whose older selves are played by the lovely and talented Maddie Hasson and Kylie Bunbury). This turns their lives upside down. The boy goes to juvie and his two friends never really recover (they both cope in their own ways, but their lives are obviously never the same).
It stars Avan The-Most-Beautiful-Man-In-The-World Jogia (okay, Avan Tudor Jogia is his “official” name, whatever). You may have seen him on Caprica, or in the Nickelodean TV movie Spectacular! He’s probably best known for playing Beck Oliver on Victorious, a show which everyone totally watched for the plot. Or you may have just seen his pictures on blogs of beautiful men.
I suppose that it depends upon how you use the internet.
The show features Grey Damon, who appeared on both The Nine Lives Of Chloe King and as the temporary romantic interest of Faye on The Secret Circle (which was canceled after only one season and I love the The CW but they shall rue the day). It features Denise Richards as Avan Jogia’s character’s mother, who is, socially, a big fish in a small town but whose life is no longer what it once was.
Also, Kathy Najimy is a part of the recurring cast—she is the high school psychology teacher. Not only do I have a major soft spot for psychology teachers (Dr. Anna Peck taught AP Psych at my high school and she and the course were magnificent), but I absolutely adore Kathy Najimy. And not only because of Hocus Pocus. But yes, mostly because of Hocus Pocus. And while she gives a not-terribly-accurate definition* of a sociopath in the pilot, she seems like a character to watch (but they all do).
My favorite character from the pilot was definitely Regina Crane (Karynn Moore), who is beautiful, funny, and has the best lines. It is so easy to identify with her.
But this is not one of those shows where only one or two characters carry the entire episode or series. Danny and Jo (Jo being one of the young ladies who were childhood best friends with Danny) have some adorable dialogue, too. This being just one example.
This brings me to what some of you may be wondering—why am I telling you this? On Zelda Lily, specifically? Because I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse female characters. Specifically, Regina. She’s a bit of a slut—and if you’ve read anything that I’ve written, you should know that that is a compliment. She has a sex drive and she is not ashamed of it. When she gets her sights set on a guy, she’s ready to aim. She is not portrayed as “bad” for this. Quite correctly, the show portrays this as a part of her character and her personality.
Then there’s Jo (Maddie Hasson), arguably the most main of the three main characters. She is not what I would call “sexually adventurous.” Or socially outgoing (which needn’t mean much—some of the most delightful slatterns whom I know, myself included, are total introverts). She does a body shot off of a guy (a hot, douchey one) at someone’s suggestion and, when the guy starts to be pushy with her, instead of slut-shaming Jo for doing what, honestly, is normal and fairly tame for a party, another character comes to her defense. Jo does not have to “apologize for her behavior” or for “leading the guy on.” It’s very clear that that guy is an asshole and that Jo did nothing wrong.
Party Tip: while a couple of several years whom I know arguably started their relationship with body-shots at a party, doing a body-shot off of someone does not mean that you are down for doing other things with that person. Letting someone do a body-shot off of you is also not an invitation to either of you for further contact. Don’t be rapey. Not even a little bit.
These are important ideas for teen viewers (this is a teen murder drama, after all) to see on television, because messages in real life tend to be terrible. The series will premiere on June 11th of this year (following the finale of Pretty Little Liars, which I have not watched but which I have heard that I should). I’m not saying that everyone on this show is a role model (in fact, it’s more likely that no one on the show is a perfect role model), but it’s little things that writers put in when they didn’t have to.
So, watch Twisted. Watch it for the murder mystery. Watch it for the teen drama. Watch it for the beautiful guys and lovely ladies. Watch it for Kathy Najimy who is just a treasure.
*The definitions of psychopaths and sociopaths vary, but most reasonable sources define psychopaths as devoid of empathy but typically perfectly normal people who may account for as much of one-percent of the human population. A psychopath can’t feel genuine empathy (I’m no psychopath, but I cannot feel empathy for adult men as a result of PTSD, so I can partially relate), but that does not mean that he or she will feel an impulse to harm anyone. A sociopath is better defined as someone who has a history of disregarding the rights of others. I don’t mean people who are opposed to marriage equality. I mean people who see other living beings purely as resources or means to an end (so, about a third of all soap opera characters). These are the people who marry and then kill their husbands for the insurance money multiple times throughout their lives—simply because they want the money, rather than out of a dispute with the husband or a pressing financial need. A sociopath is someone who might kill a neighbor’s dog or cat over a perceived slight. That said, they didn’t really do anything wrong in delivering the definition of “sociopath” in the pilot. I’m just really nit-picky.