'Twisted' Review: 'The Fest And The Furious'
Ever wonder what a random blogger thinks about your favorite show? Well, wonder no more. During the slow summer months, I'll tune into random shows and write about them. This continues with ABC Family's Twisted, a series most notable for the ABC Family's intense narrator during the promos ("FRIENDSHIPS WILL BE TESTED!").
I don't care that Denise Richard's character threw the important necklace into the water. I don't care that Danny's the pariah of the town, that he divides not only the town but the family of the police chief, or that he cuts a banana using a comically large knife. I tuned in for the Fall Fest. Mayor Rollins correctly stated the importance of the fest for the town and for the state of New York. I would not have tuned in without the fall fest setting. Twisted's concept seems similar to Pretty Little Liars, but it's also a YA version of Rectify. Sundance's Rectify focused on a man freed from death row who returns to his home town where the townspeople are not convinced he's innocent. Rectify is haunting, meditative, melancholic, spiritual, whereas Twisted is, uh, not.
The mystery and tension of Twisted isn't gripping. Of course, I haven't watched the previous four episodes of the series. Twisted mixes in a few teen dramas from past years. The teaser resembles early Veronica Mars when Lily Kane would show up to haunt Veronica while also revealing possibly helpful clues about who murdered her. Fall fest reminded me of pretty much any early WB teen drama. Dawson's Creek had some kind of fest every season; Everwood's second episode had the Fall Thaw. Twisted's relationship drama between teenage characters resembles pretty much any relationship drama between teenage characters. This series is sort of comforting and nostalgic. I watched "The Fest and the Furious" because I wanted to be taken back to a simpler time in my TV watching, to those days when I thought teenage dramas were life's answer.
Festivals in any TV series, particularly early in the series, are smart to do because the important characters come together. For small town dramas like Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Hart of Dixie, etc., early festival episodes help define the town's identity. The identity of the town in Dawson's Creek, Everwood, and Hart of Dixie is immensely important. When Dr. Brown talks to his deceased wife in the middle of the fall thaw, it has an affect on not only the town's personal perception of him but his professional, as he works as the town's doctor, competing with Dr. Abbott for business. Twisted's Fall Festival further defines the town's relationship with Danny, the suspected murderer of Regina. Since the mayor refers to the fest as the most important event for the town, the police chief character feels more pressure to tie Danny to the crime, to do his job, as the rest of the town looks down on him for gathering basically nothing incriminating after weeks of investigation.
Danny's presence at the fall fest affects the police chief, the townspeople, and even parents. Drama leads to more drama as characters are confronted about Danny or confront Danny. The rebellious Jo agrees to help the mathletes sell pies, but her mathlete friend is upset to see Danny helping out because he likes Jo. Jo likes Danny, though. Danny likes Laci, and Laci likes Danny; however, Laci feels guilty hooking up with Danny because of her dead friend (I think). A bearded nut pushes Danny into the pie table, ruining the pie sale, which forces the police chief's hand. The police chief can't gather incriminating evidence, which bites him in the behind when he and his wife discuss Jo's time at the fall fest formal. Personal shortcoming, prejudices, feelings for other people, physical displays of affection, and so on, are brought out by the fall fest. It's great for it's what should happen at a fictional small town fest in a teenage drama. I couldn't be happier with all the nonsense that unfolded because of the fall fest.
Maddie Hasson and Avon Jogia have natural chemistry. Their scenes together were the hightlights of the episode. They were natural. Maddie Hasson has that angsty teenage look nailed (probably because she is a teenager). The suspicion against Danny seems flimsy, but I've not seen more than this episode. I read random message boards and recaps in prep to write about the series. A poster on TWoP wrote a long post regarding Danny as a sociopath. This episode had a scene in which Denise Richards finds out what the signs of a sociopath are, and I didn't see the connection between what Richards heard and what we saw from Danny. He tries to obey Jo's father's request to not attend the dance and he also leaves the fall fest early. Of course, please recall my apathy towards the mystery and suspension so vital to the series.
Twisted executed the other elements really well. It's not terribly hard to drop in on an episode and follow the story, as well as the characters personal arcs. I went into the episode hoping for nonsense teenage drama and that's what I got.