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'Chasing Life' recap: Struggle for a byline

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Help Wanted” | Aired June 17, 2014

Are all aspiring female journalists the same person? Because it sure feels that way after watching the first two episodes of ABC Family’s newest show, Chasing Life. Save for the few ethical mistakes and the job promotion landed in less than 24 hours on the pilot episode, April Carver (Italia Ricci) is pretty much like any other 20-something. 

There have been books and blogs to support the phenomenon that’s recently boomed with millennials — the quarter-life crisis — but there was no TV show that nailed it until Chasing Life. Wouldn’t you have a quarter-life crisis too if you were the support system for your family (which is still grieving the father’s death), desperately working toward that byline, starting a new relationship with a coworker, and just diagnosed with leukemia? Yeah, I have to take a breath just after writing all of that. Now imagine living it. 

The episode picks up at the cemetery, right where it left off last week, when April meets a girl who’s visiting her dad’s grave after April tells her she’s there to visit her own dad too. Uh-oh! Nothing more dramatic than a dead man’s secret love child surfacing — at his grave nonetheless. After April creeps out the girl enough to make her run, like a true journalist with her smartphone on hand, she snaps a photo of the stranger’s license plate. We later find out her name is Natalie Ortiz (Jessica Meraz). There’s no additional information, but April has got a sticky note with the name on her desktop, so no worries, she’ll get on it eventually. She’s curious about the very real possibility that Natalie is her sister, though she doesn’t seem to be in any rush to figure it out  odd for a reporter. Although it’s understandable, considering there are a few other stories taking priority in her life.

Sometimes you get the story where you least expect to find it — that’s one of the key lessons a journalism professor taught me. April learns this the hard way after exasperating herself trying to outrun Raquel, her new senior editor, who proved to be catty after her support spiel. The real story on candidate Bruce Hendrie won’t be found in an interview with him; it’s in the son, Leo Hendrie, who appears to have an edgier background than his preppy public image gave off. Sure April’s boss, Lawrence, warned her that Leo isn’t a story they’re allowed to touch, but by now we know she plays by her own rules, and “no” isn’t a word she’s fond of. 

April is so set on her rules that she feels annoyed by the timing of her cancer and the lack of control. She wishes she could schedule it in between her flourishing career as a journalist and a budding romantic relationship with Dominic (Richard Brancatisano) that requires secret elevator make-out sessions.

She does finally let someone know about her cancer: her best friend, who becomes neurotic about learning all things cancer, proving she isn’t as capable of handling it as April thought. Luckily, by the end of the episode, she’s throwing out cancer jokes that put April at ease. She’s obviously still not ready to accept the severity of leukemia, especially as it inconveniences her life at the present moment  so Gen Y of her. 

“I don’t want to compromise the life I have while I fight this,” were April’s words as she begged her Uncle George for his help. That’s exactly what will make the rest of the season worth watching. April isn’t out to be a victim of her illness; it’s just another part of life she’s prepared to school. And all the while, we’ll watch her get the story. 

Chasing Life, rated TV-14, airs Tuesdays at 9/8 C on ABC Family.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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