Three episodes in, I remain fairly impressed with The L.A. Complex, a new show about a group of young Canadians (actually, I’m not sure if they’re all supposed to be Canadian) in Los Angeles, most of them living at the Lux, all trying to make it big. Which as I write it, sounds a little lame. But it works because the scripts are fairly smart and engaging, not sugar-coating the gargantuan tasks these people face in trying to become, or stay, successful.
It’s a bit of a soap, with the cast intersecting and hooking up in various combinations. That makes it kinds of sexy and fun. There is a fair bit of humour as well, as the aspiring actors, dancers, or comedians do not always lead lives of dignity. But there’s a real core of sadness underlying it, too, because these people’s lives are kind of miserable.
Abby Vargas is a young, pretty Canadian who can sing, and possibly can even act. But six months after moving to L.A., her biggest role is as dead hooker, in body bag. She is broke. She lived in her car until it broke down; now she’s crashing with Nick (more on him later) and having to take the bus everywhere.
Connor Lake looks as though he, at least, has it made. He’s been cast in a lead role in a big medical drama, and has moved out of The Lux for more luxurious digs. But he’s having trouble keeping up with all the lines, and the producers are insisting he see an acting coach. He’s trying to anesthetize with sex, drugs, and most recently, self-mutilation.
Raquel Westbrook used to be big. Everyone remembers her from that cult show 12 years ago, which had the terrible time slot and so was cancelled after one season. She knows everyone, but at this point, she’s reduced to trying out for dead hooker roles, and losing those to younger actresses. (Because 32 is so old!) It’s making her a little edgy, and she’s drinking too much. All her hopes are now pinned on a great script she read by a couple of unknowns.
Nick Wagner works at a coffee shop by day to pay the bills, and tries his act out at comedy clubs by night. So far, he’s bombing, both professionally and personally. He’s the guy every girl wants “as a friend”, and he’s low on funds. I was thinking that of all characters, he’s the one who really should pack it in, but last episode he finally hit on a comedy groove, based on mocking himself.
Tariq Muhammad expected to make music during his internship at a record company, but mostly he’s been running errands and washing cars. That is, until he secretly sent Usher some “beats” that proved he had talent. He’s now assigned to work with tough rap star Kaldrick King, and things are going well—they’ve really hit it off. If only they weren’t both in the closet, and wanting to stay there…
Alicia Lowe is a dancer who works hard at her craft. But so far it’s close but no cigar at signing up for a tour. To pay the bills, she works as an exotic dancer. (This means she has fewer money troubles than most of the cast.) Her latest gambit is to make a sex tape with a former movie star, in the hopes of gaining fame, Paris Hilton-style. Previews of the next episode indicate that’s not going to work out so well.
So that’s our merry crew. If you’re at all intrigued, you can catch up with all episodes online, and new episodes play Tuesdays at 9:00 (hey, that’s now–I love my PVR) on Much Music.