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TV review: October Road

With a shallow plot and mediocre acting, October Road is a disappointment. Airing after Grey’s Anatomy, the show consists of aimless scenes and sappy characters with bad dialogue. Still, while all the other shows are on hiatus, the clichéd soap opera is a decent enough way to spend a Thursday night.

The show centers around Nick Garrett (One Tree Hill’s Bryan Greenberg), who returns home after a 10-year absence having published a best-selling novel that betrayed all his hometown friends by portraying them as lazy, blue-collar people who he bested by leaving home.

Nick leaves the glamour of the Big Apple to teach a one-day seminar at the local college. There, he faces everyone he wrote about, and people, obviously, are less than happy to see him. And that includes former best friend Eddie (7th Heaven’s George Stults), whose confrontation with Nick was supposed to be serious and intense, seemed almost comical. Not only is it funny to watch a 30-some-year-old-man, whose acting is comparable to a hopeful middle school student, miserably fail at attempting to act mad, but his lines “You seem to have forgotten which side of October Road you belong on, well I’m going to remind you how we roll here in The Ridge,” are also bad enough to make you wince. Other unhappy townspeople include Hannah (That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon), the girlfriend he left behind, who has a 10-year-old son, Sam (Slade Pearce), who, because of the suspicious timeline, Nick suspects is his and decides to stay. Surprise, surprise. And even more unbelievable: no one in the small town seems to know who the father is.

Even worse, October Road is just too random to believe: Sam makes references to books like Of Mice and Men in daily conversation, the college dean gives Nick a job after he throws rocks at her window in the middle of the night, and Nick’s friend, Physical Phil (Jay Paulson), whose weird name is never explained, hasn’t stepped outside his house since 9/11.

Though the music is pretty good, the show’s plot is, at times, laughably bad. October Road is like high school happening to a bunch of 30-year-olds. Girls gossip with each other about their dates, guys are too shy to ask their crushes out, and people use each other to make other people jealous. Scenes jump randomly from character to character, and there was even a band reunion moment in which Nick busts out his air guitar. When did adults suddenly have so much time on their hands?

Besides having a frustratingly predictable plot, even the promos are more exciting than the show. But the quirky characters make October Road a sufficient substitute. Though not a total waste of time, there are certainly better things to do than watch people say cringing lines like "The past is like a pimple on prom night."